Subject: education, school bullying, harmonious school, student well-being

  • Since 2004, EDB has launched the "Co-creating a Harmonious School" resource packages, encouraging school-based measures to combat bullying upon provision of additional resources. Yet there are concerns that school management and teachers accord a lower priority to the bullying issue, amidst the examination-oriented culture in the local education system.5Legend symbol denoting 林芷楓(2018) and黃家樑(2019). Moreover, in the absence of mandatory reporting and mechanism of oversight by the third-party, there is a view that schools tend to downplay such bullying incidents to minimize the adverse implications on school reputation.6Legend symbol denoting MWYO (2019) and香港01(2019).

Handling of school bullying in Hong Kong

Regulatory measures of school bullying in Taiwan

  • Proposed anti-bullying law in Taiwan: While reporting and investigation of bullying is a mandatory obligation for schools in Taiwan, the bullying action itself is not yet a criminal offence in Taiwan. Over the years, some segments in Taiwanese society have urged enactment of dedicated anti-bullying laws to strengthen enforcement.25Legend symbol denoting 立法院(2015 and 2017). But this met with opposition, as criminal liability seems to be too harsh for teenagers making mistakes in the early stages of their lives. The Taiwanese government says it keeps an open mind on such proposals at this juncture.
  • Policy effectiveness: Implementation of the mandatory notification and investigation of all suspected cases seems to have effectively prevented school bullying in Taiwan, with the number of confirmed bullying incidents slumping by 70% during 2011-2016, from 554 cases to 168 cases.26Legend symbol denoting 國家教育研究院(2019)。 In global ranking, only 11% of Taiwanese students reported being bullied at least a few times a month, just about half of the average figure of 19% in OECD and amongst the lowest of all places included in comparison.

Prepared by Sunny LAM
Research Office
Information Services Division
Legislative Council Secretariat
6 September 2019


1.While bullying practices are not restricted to the school environment, the focus of this issue is the occurrence of bullying amongst students in school.

2.In the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted in 2015, Hong Kong ranked the top in terms of percentage of students being bullied (32%), much higher than that in Singapore (25%) and China (23%). See Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2017).

3.As illustrated in several local surveys, there were 34%-38% of local students at different ages being bullied during 2018-2019. Bullying incidents were also covered by media occasionally, for instance, a student from a secondary school in Ma On Shan was reported being pinned down on ground and assaulted by his peers in January 2019. See明報(2019), 香港01(2018) and South China Morning Post (2019).

4.A Member proposed in November 2016 "school bullying" as an item for discussion at the Legislative Council Panel on Education, while three other Members issued a joint letter on 28 January 2019 requesting the Panel to discuss the same issue.

5.林芷楓(2018) and黃家樑(2019).

6.MWYO (2019) and香港01(2019).

7.Taiwan took the second bottom position amongst the 54 places included in the ranking exercise, next to the Netherlands. This piece selects Taiwan for study, because it is predominantly a Chinese society and its policy is deemed to have more policy relevance for Hong Kong.

8.In Hong Kong, bullying is defined as those malicious and repetitive acts that are harmful to others under a state of imbalance of power. See Education Bureau (2019a) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2017).

9.United Nations (2018).

10.The reported GD cases included bullying in primary and secondary schools from public sector only, while the cases that involved students with SEN increased from 20 to 48 during the same period. According to a study commissioned by the Equal Opportunities Commission in 2012, 26% of students with SEN are often bullied by their classmates, which is significantly higher than that of regular students (18%). See Education Bureau (2019b) and the Hong Kong Institute of Education (2012).

11.黃家樑(2019) and MWYO (2019).

12.For example, the secondary school in endnote (2) described the case as "playing that went too far". Some considered that this illustrated the ambiguous interpretation of bullying by schools.

13.ITS Education Asia (2018) and明周文化(2018).

14.The module covers content of 48 hours, including intervention approaches, background understanding, crisis management procedures, preventive measures and consultation skills for school bullying, cyber-bullying and homophobic bullying.

15.Besides, the EDB also organized 14 workshops during the first six months in 2018-2019 school year, helping about 1 000 teachers to enhance their capability of preventing and handling bullying acts in schools.

16.Agent of Change Foundation (2018) and Hong Kong Playground Association (2016).


18.The handling of bullying cases is not restricted to GD teachers only. According to the survey conducted by Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers in June 2019, over 80% of teachers had handled school bullying cases over the past six months. See 香港教育工作者聯會(2019) and珠海新聞(2019).


20.A school principal from a junior high school in Taoyuan City was accused for disregarding bullying cases in December 2010, while a student from a junior high school in Hsinchu City was attacked by several senior high school students in March 2011, with the related video being widely shared online. See林官蓓(2012) and Taipei Times (2011).

21.教育部(2012 and 2018).


23.If the complainant is not satisfied with the result, he or she may file an appeal within 20 days of receipt of investigation report. The Committee would reconsider the justifications provided and notify the complainant the appeal result within 30 days.

24.Common measures to respond to the bullying include demerit points, expulsion from school, juvenile protective measures and criminal sanctions depending on the nature and seriousness of the incident. For those teachers who bullied and caused severe physical or mental injury to students, they would be dismissed upon vetting and approval of the Teacher Evaluation Committee from school.

25.立法院(2015 and 2017).



Hong Kong

1.Agent of Change Foundation. (2018) One in three students are bullied: survey.

2.Education Bureau. (2019a) Handling and Prevention of Bullying in Schools.

3.Education Bureau. (2019b) Replies to initial written questions raised by Finance Committee Members in examining the Estimates of Expenditure 2019-20.

4.Hong Kong Playground Association. (2016) 72% of Adolescent have been Cyberbullied; Only 20% of victim would seek help from other.

5.ITS Education Asia. (2018) The Hidden Problem of Bullying In Hong Kong.

6.MWYO. (2019) Making a Case for an Anti-Bullying Law in Hong Kong.

7.South China Morning Post. (2019) Another video of suspected bullying at Hong Kong school emerges - the third case in a week.

8.The Hong Kong Institute of Education. (2012) Study on Equal Learning Opportunities for Students with Disabilities under the Integrated Education System.



11.香港教育工作者聯會:《逾8成教師曾處理校園欺凌個案 教聯會促當局加強反欺凌措施》,2019年。



14.《校園競爭文化 催生學子欺凌風氣》,《香港01》,2017年11月26日。


16.《調查:近四成受訪小學生曾遭欺凌 約5%有自殺念頭》,《明報》,2019年4月28日。

17.《調查:逾半數學童過去6個月負面情緒偏高 每3人就有1名受欺凌》,《香港01》,2018年5月23日。


18.Taipei Times. (2011) Ma calls for nationwide effort to address bullying.


20.立法院:《霸凌進化中 防制軟趴趴 催生專法迫在眉睫!》,2017年。








27.Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2017) PISA 2015 Results (Volume III): Students' Well-Being.

28.United Nations. (2018) Protecting children from bullying.

Essentials are compiled for Members and Committees of the Legislative Council. They are not legal or other professional advice and shall not be relied on as such. Essentials are subject to copyright owned by The Legislative Council Commission (The Commission). The Commission permits accurate reproduction of Essentials for non-commercial use in a manner not adversely affecting the Legislative Council, provided that acknowledgement is made stating the Research Office of the Legislative Council Secretariat as the source and one copy of the reproduction is sent to the Legislative Council Library. The paper number of this issue of Essentials is ISE09/18-19.