Appeal against Carrie Lam on the Granting of Fellowship

November 2018

Professor Jane Clarke BA PGCE MSc PhD FMedSci FRS
President of Wolfson College, Cambridge
Wolfson College,
Barton Road,
United Kingdom

RE: Appeal against Carrie Lam on the Granting of Fellowship

Dear Professor Clarke,

The undersigned are writing to express grave concern about the College’s decision of granting Carrie Yuet-ngor Lam Cheng honorary fellowship in 2017 upon her accession to the position of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong. [1] Lam has on sundry occasions abused her position, as Chief Secretary until 2017 and Chief Executive since 2017, to threaten the democracy, freedom of academic expression, and of speech, of Hong Kong and its people. Her conducts amount to transgressions of the much-cherished principles of the College and of the University, namely, the pursuit of democracy, freedom of academic expression, and of speech. There are ample reasons for Wolfson College, Cambridge to revaluate the decision of conferring fellowship upon her, which, we, the undersigned, herein demand.

The administrative led by Lam has, in her maladministration, removed from post and obstructed the promotions of several academics with pro-democracy views, including professors Chin Wan-kan, Johannes Chan, Benny Tai, and Cheng Chung-tai. [2] In 2018, Benny Tai, a public law academic, who initiated the well-known 2014 Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, attended an academic forum in Taiwan wherein he hypothesised the future possibility of Hong Kong independence should China become a democracy. His remark was publicly damned by Lam by a statement issued by the Hong Kong Government. [3,4] These conducts are tantamount to improper suppression of freedom of academic expression and of speech by means of administrative power.

In the same year, Lam’s administration has declared partisans considered (by them) as advocating for independence or self-determination ineligible to be candidates for elections of the legislature (for the list of candidates disqualified, see Appendix A). [5] Several legislators already elected are outed by the mere virtue of their political views (for the list of candidates outed, see Appendix B ). [6] Subsequently, the government publicly condemned the holding of an event by Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) featuring Andy Chan, the President of Hong Kong National Party, a pro-independence party. [7] Thereafter, the government denied the work visa renewal of Victor Mallet, a Financial Times journalist as well as the Chair of FCC, who held the relevant event. [8] Such conducts are self-evidently threatening the democracy and freedom of speech of Hong Kong.

The incidents aforementioned are simply a tip of an iceberg. We believe that Wolfson College, Cambridge does not, and indeed, should not, endorse such conducts. Conferring honorary fellowship upon Lam was a misstep to be corrected. The College’s reputation and principles must be guarded. Wolfsonians shall be ashamed for being associated with such a fellow. We, the undersigned, as such demand the College to reassess the decision of the granting of fellowship to Lam.

Sincerely yours,

Current Affairs Discussion Group, Cambridge
Democracy for Hong Kong
The Bridgian
The Hong Kong University Students’ Union


[1] The Wolfson Review, No.41 (2016-2017), p.105.
[2] Kevin Carrico, Hong Kong Watch, “Academic Freedom in Hong Kong Since 2015: Between Two Systems,” January 2018, 1, 3–6.
[3] “Response by HKSAR Government to Media Enquiries”, 30th March 2018, The Government of HKSAR Press Release.
[4] 2018 Annual Report, Congressional-Executive Commission of China, Chapter VI.
[5] Kimmy Chung, Tony Chan, “Political Storm in Hong Kong as Activist Agnes Chow Banned from By-Election over Party’s Call for ‘Self-Determination’”, South China Morning Post, 27th January, 2018
[6] Benjamin Hass, “Hong Kong pro-democracy legislators disqualified from parliament”, The Guardian, 14th 2017.
[7] Austin Ramzy, “Hong Kong May Ban Political Party That Seeks Independence From China”, New York Times, 17th July 2018.
[8] Jeffie Lam, Tony Cheung, Sum Lok-kei, “Backlash as Hong Kong Denies VISA Renewal for Financial Times Journalist Victor Mallet”, 5th October 2018, South China Morning Post.

附表一 | Appendix A
List of Candidates Declared Ineligible due to Political Opinion
Edward Leung Tin-kei
Andy Chan Ho-tin
Yeung Ke-cheong
Nakade Hitsujiko (Chung Ming-lun)
Alice Lai Yee-man
Agnes Chow Ting
James Chan Kwok-keung
Ventus Lau Wing-hong
Lau Siu-lai

附表二 | Appendix B
List of Legislators Already Elected but Disqualified by the Government
Leung Kwok-hung
Lau Siu-lai
Nathan Law Kwun-chung
Edward Yiu Chung-yim
Yau Wai-ching
Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang