Education minister under scrutiny

THE former deputy of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office (港澳辦), now a key Beijing (北京) adviser, says the SAR’s education minister should be subject to the central government’s scrutiny at all times.

Speaking in a Beijing forum that was discussing Hong Kong youth issues, Chen Zuo’er (陳佐洱) said the SAR’s youth lacked national identity.

“Why was there chaos in the Hong Kong education sector during the illegal Occupy Central (佔領中環)?” Chen asked. “Is it because there is disconnection between the education beliefs of related bureaus and implementation of the China constitution, 'one country, two systems' and the Basic Law (《基本法》)?”

However, education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen (葉建源) accused Chen of disrespecting or even distorting the Basic Law, since education policies are an internal matter and Beijing should not intervene.

University of Hong Kong (香港大學) principal law lecturer Eric Cheung Tat-ming (張達明) posted on his Facebook page: “According to the Basic Law article 136, the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on its own, formulate policies on the development and improvement of education, including policies regarding the educational system and its administration.”

Cheung said Chen’s suggestion was an obvious violation of the Basic Law since the education policy falls within the scope of “high degree of autonomy” promised to Hong Kong.

(The Standard, 9 January 2015)