Drawn into the Mire – Statement from Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions on Opposition to the Legislation of National Anthem Law in Hong Kong


On 11th January 2019, Hong Kong’s government has gazetted the National Anthem Bill to criminalise insults against National Anthem. The draft will then be tabled at the Legislative Council for first reading and second reading on January 23. In point of fact, It can be expected that National Anthem Law will be used as a mean of political prosecution due to the ambiguity of words used in the draft. Before the gazette was issued, the government actually carried on regardless as they only held two special meetings of Panel on Constitutional Affairs in a symbolic manner, pretending as if they have already consulted the general public. Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions solemnly oppose any form of legislation of National Anthem Law in Hong Kong.

Given the ambiguous words in the bill as well as a harsh penalty, National Anthem Law may eventually become a tool for political suppression as the government can penalise citizen by wilfully interpreting their intention, such as disqualifying Legislative Councillor, arresting dissidents and suppressing the freedom of speech, expression and creation. According to Clause 7 in the bill, a person is prohibited from publicly and intentionally insulting the national anthem in any way. A person who intentionally publishes (a) the altered lyrics or score of the national anthem, or the national anthem be played and sung in a distorted or disrespectful way, with intent to insult the national anthem will be liable to a maximum fine of $50000 and imprisonment for 3 years. Words with vague concepts such as “insulting’, “distorted” and “disrespected” were used, yet there is not any clear standard to define them. Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions oppose any regime that uses criminal law as a mean to regulate citizens’ subjective ideas. We also oppose any abstract concepts including National Symbols, national dignity, national identity and even political ideology, that should be examined, discussed and criticised, be placed above human rights. Additionally, in accordance with “Principle 7: Protected Expression” of The Johannesburg Principles, the peaceful exercise of the right to freedom of expression, for instance, derivative work, insult or criticism towards the nation, the state or its symbols, the government, its agencies, or public officials, shall never be considered a threat to national security or subjected to any restrictions or penalties. Therefore, even if someone makes a speech or act on the national anthem, the national flag or the national emblem which may be offensive to the regime, if such speech or act does not constitute immediate violence, people’s freedom of expression should be guaranteed.

In this regard, Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions solemnly request the Hong Kong Government to withdraw the Bill immediately. We warn that any regime should not attempt to regulate the freedom of expression, expression and creation of the public through severe laws and penalties.

The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
The Student Union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
Joint Student Union of Caritas Institute of Higher Education and Caritas Bianchi College of Careers
The Provisional Executive Committee of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Students’ Union
Hong Kong Federation of Students
The Provisional Executive Committee of City University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students’ Union
Student Union of Chu Hai College of Higher Education

16th January 2019

Change Now or Never: Joint Appeal to the Chancellor, the Court and the Council for Amendments to the Statutes of the University of Hong Kong


It has been most horrendous that former Chancellor Leung Chun-ying perversely appointed Arthur Li as the Chairman of the University of Hong Kong Council against the public’s will; that the current Chancellor Carrie Lam now continues her wrongdoing and reappoints Arthur Li is not only a grave misdeed but also an utter dismay for all members in HKU.

Only with a reformed system can the institutional autonomy of the University be upheld.

The excessive power of Chancellor is undoubtedly a great threat to our institutional autonomy, particularly the authority to appoint 7 members in the HKU Council, who are not students or employees of HKU. From former Governors of Hong Kong to the Chief Executives after the handover of sovereignty, it has been reiterated that the Chancellor of HKU has always been just a ceremonial role. Both British-Hong Kong government and Hong Kong SAR government mentioned several times that the Chancellor in all tertiary institutions is just a titular head with only ceremonial duties. Currently, amidst the 24 Council members, the Chancellor has the power to appoint 7 members who are not students or employees of HKU, including the Council Chairman. Former Chancellor Leung Chun-ying willfully abused such power which in result led to a more severe situation of cronyism. Indeed, of many top universities around the world, such as the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and the University College London, there are also external members in the composition of their highest governance structures. Yet, such selection and appointment of external members are all decided by the University. The practice of granting the sole power to Chancellor to appoint external members as Council members is hardly convincing, as it has never been adopted by any other international institutions. Worse still, there is no authorisation from HKU members. We solemnly remonstrate against the unreasonable decision made by Carrie Lam, the current Chancellor.

The Working Party looked into the recommendations in a report submitted to the Council by a Review Panel on University Governance in 2016 recommended that the Chancellorship shall be honorary and the HKU Council shall be authorised for the appointment of the 7 members who are neither students nor employees of the University, including the Council Chairman. However, the Working Party was excused that ‘amending legislation… is time-consuming and uncertain in result’, thus an incompetent Advisory Committee on Council Chairmanship was introduced. Yet, the reappointment of Arthur Li revealed the lack of transparency of both the Committee and the appointment process of the Council Chairman as a whole. In fact, delegating the authority of appointing external members of HKU Council does not require any legislative amendment while the Working Party misinterpreted it. The amendment of the Statutes of the University of Hong Kong could be raised to the Chancellor through HKU Court once the HKU Council proposed.

As the threat is hanging over us, we should stand up for refining the University of Hong Kong Ordinance and its statutes. In addition, it is pressing to safeguard the institutional autonomy, so that the University could be brought towards the genuine co-governance by students and staff.
We cordially invite all students, alumni, teachers and staff members of, and organisations within the University to join this petition to the Chancellor, the Court and the Council:

That the Chancellorship restores its time-honoured status as a titular office;
That the procedure to appoint Council members not being students or employees of the University in Statue XVIII of the University of Hong Kong be reviewed and amended; that the appointment of the Council Chairman be vested in the Council as recommended by the Review Panel on University Governance; and that it be ensured all stakeholders can participate in the appointment process;
Against the Chancellor’s perverse reappointing Arthur Li as the Council Chairman.

The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
Academic Staff Association of The University of Hong Kong
HKU Alumni Concern Group

Hong Kong University Employees Union
Architectural Society, HKUSU
Architectural Conservation Association, AS, HKUSU
Arts Association, HKUSU
French Society, AA, HKUSU
German Association, AA, HKUSU
Korean Society, AA, HKUSU
Society of Comparative Literature, AA, HKUSU
Business and Economics Association, HKUSU
Dental Society, HKUSU
Education Society, HKUSU
Engineering Society, HKUSU
Law Association, HKUSU
Medical Society, HKUSU
Science Society, HKUSU
Social Sciences Society, HKUSU
Geographical, Geological and Archaeological Society, SSS, HKUSU
Hornell Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
Lady Ho Tung Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
Lee Chi Hung Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
Lee Hysan Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
Lee Shau Kee Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
Morrison Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
R. C. Lee Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
Ricci Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
Simon K. Y. Lee Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
St. John’s College Students’ Association, HKUSU
Starr Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
Suen Chi Sun Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
Swire Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
University Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU
Wei Lun Hall Students’ Association, HKUSU

1st January 2019

On 2nd November 1994, Lam Woon-kwong, the then Secretary for Education and Manpower the Legislative Council articulated that “The Governor will remain the titular head of the institution by assuming the new Chancellor” during the Legislative Council’s examination on the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong (Amendment) Bill 1994, the Hong Kong Baptist College (Amendment) Bill 1994, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic (Amendment) Bill 1994. [1]

On 16th June 1999, the Chief Executive-in-Council approved the acquisition of university title and status of Lingnan College. In the respective press release, it is mentioned that the Chief Executive would continue to be the Chancellor as “titular head”, and that “The Chief Executive earlier considered relinquishing his role as titular head of all tertiary institutions in order to relieve himself of the heavy ceremonial duties. After careful reconsideration of various views, he has decided to continue his chancellorship in all tertiary institutions so as to maintain the traditional links with these institutions and to show support for the tertiary education sector.”[2]

On 14th May 2007, the Legislative Council convened a meeting of Panel on Education. In the document provided by the Education and Manpower Bureau (which Arthur Li was the Secretary for Education and Manpower Bureau at that time), it was stated that, “On the role of the CE as Chancellor of our tertiary institutions, traditionally, the CE (and the former Governors) is the titular head of our tertiary institutions, the purpose of which is to maintain the linkages between the Administration and the institutions and to demonstrate the Government’s support for the higher education sector. The main duties of the Chancellor are to confer degrees and other honorary awards as recommended by the institutions. Such powers are specified under the governing ordinances of the institutions.” [3]

[1] Official Record of Proceedings of the Hong Kong Legislative Council (2nd November 1994),

[2] HKSAR Government Press Release (16 June 1999),

[3] Working Paper of Legislative Council Panel on Education (14th May 2007),





(一) 打壓學生自治:根據《香港樹仁大學學生會會章》(下稱《會章》),幹事會出缺時,評議會可委任臨時行政小組處理幹事會一切事務,直至新幹事會成立為止。



(二) 「幹事會」只是學生會運作及決策機關之一:正如校方於12月7日的來信所言,校方將文康大樓H204室租予「學生會」,而非僅僅是「幹事會」。一直以來,學生會「幹事會」、「編輯委員會」及「評議會」亦共同使用H204室作為官方會址,對外參與交流合作、對內服務本會會員。校方因幹事會出缺,扼殺其他機關使用場地的權利,理由並不充分。

(三) 收回民主牆,收窄言論空間:民主牆是學生發表意見的平台,鼓勵師生就校園及社會事務互相交流,展現一所大學應有的風範。如今校方以「幹事會出缺」之行政理由收回民主牆,變相收窄言論空間,我們不敢苟同。



(一) 尊重學生自治。承認本會《會章》有關幹事會出缺之安排及本會週年大選結果,保障本會場地、資源不受影響,令本會民選評議員得以服務樹仁同學。

(二) 保障言論空間。承認學生會管理民主牆之權利,停止一切施壓及清拆行動。




Tit for Tat – Statement from the Hong Kong University Students’ Union on the re-appointment of Arthur Li Kwok Cheung as the HKU Council Chairman


The Government gazetted the re-appointment of Arthur Li Kwok Cheung as the Council Chairman of the University of Hong Kong yesterday, 15 December 2018. The Hong Kong University Students’ Union is disgruntled about the re-appointment. In 2015, 5000 HKU students demanded, through the general polling of the Union, that the HKU Council Chairmanship must be held by a candidate welcomed by staff and students in HKU and objected Li’s appointment to any positions in the University’s governance framework. As the Chancellor, Carrie Lam has done the exact opposite by reappointing Li as HKU Council Chairman. This outrageous appointment once again revealed the absurdity of the Chief Executive-cum-Chancellor practice in the University of Hong Kong Ordinance.

Li’s hostility towards the student community as well as his ridiculous statements have laid a shade on the University. His appointment as Council Chairman three years ago was likewise controversial, which has led to the student rally outside the Council. Other than evading students’ interrogation, he accused them slanderously. Li arraigned the protesting students as “drug addicts” and accused the then-President of the Students’ Union, Billy Fung, of “having problems in his character”. The Council Chairman, together with the University’s senior management, shoulder the responsibility of representing the University. Nevertheless, Li placed the University’s reputation on the line. Li has never fulfilled his duty as Council Chairman, as he tolerated the delay in the Review on University Governance. Under Li’s chairmanship, the HKU Council meeting has been convened outside the University for the first time in a futile attempt to escape from the public’s scrutiny. In fact, Li’s rashness and incompetence have been beyond words.

The Council Chairman must be responsible to all HKU students and staff. Nevertheless, the Advisory Committee on Council Chairmanship was nothing more than a confederacy, excluding opinions and engagements of students. First, the Council rejected inclusion of a student representative in the Advisory Committee and, the Committee then refused to attend an open forum and face students. Though the Advisory Committee welcomed written input from students, the Committee was de facto a pretentious party working behind closed doors. The opinion and effort of students elicited no response. Establishing the Advisory Committee was only a style and no substance. Neither the Committee needs to be responsible for HKU students and staff or the Council, nor is it in position in stopping the Chancellor in abusing her power. After all, the reform on university governance has made no progress. Co-governance by students and staff has always been the esprit de corps of HKU, yet the University has always been complacent and ceased to make progress in both the appointment of University officials and even the reform of university governance.

The Union will pay our utmost effort, without hesitation nor stumbles, in the coming time, to bring our university towards the co-governance by students and staff. Follow-up actions will come one after another. The Union hereby demands the University to face students’ concerns and demands squarely, and review the appointment procedures of Council Chairman as well as the Chief Executive-cum-Chancellor practice. We highly anticipate the University to bear the brunt and respond to all students’ concerns.

The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
15 December 2018

The Growing Roots of Despotism Invading the Heart of Democracy- Statement from the Hong Kong University Students’ Union on Hon Eddie Chu Hoi-dick Being Disqualified from Running in the Rural Representative Election


Lawmaker Hon Eddie Chu Hoi-dick was disqualified under section 24 of the Rural Representative Election Ordinance by returning officer Enoch Yuen Ka-lok, on 2 December 2018, on the ground that Chu implicitly confirmed “that he supports that independence could be an option for Hong Kong people, in the pretext of exercising the alleged right to advocate independence in a peaceful manner.” The Union sternly condemns the government for depriving people’s fundamental right to stand for election since Hong Kong Legislative Council Election 2016.

Section 24 of the Rural Representative Election Ordinance states that a person is validly nominated with “the nomination form includes or is accompanied by a declaration, signed by the person, to the effect that the person will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.” The Union reaffirms, according to the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”, Hong Kong citizens enjoy the right to be elected. Whether the candidate upholds the Basic Law should not be considered as a criterion for determining his or her candidacy. Basic Law is a constitution designed to regulate the government and public authority, instead of restricting rights of citizens. As the essence of the spirit of constitutions, citizens have the absolute right to go against and criticise the constitution. They can even call for amendments to the constitution. The government claims that they have to uphold the Basic Law. That being said, they empower the Returning Officer to pre-screen the dissidents, depriving candidates’ right to be elected, as guaranteed by Article 26 of the Basic Law.

Through election, citizens can vote for an authorised representative to voice out their opinion including their political stance in different structures. Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive, mentioned earlier that the government supported the decision of the Returning Officer and considered the Returning Officer as prudently exercising his powers and fulfilling his duties as stated in the law. Yet, Returning officer’s authority should only be limited to dealing with administrative procedures such as confirming candidates’ basic information. It is absolutely wrong for a Returning Officer to deny one’s eligibility for election based on his or her political stance. Worse still, what is more absurd is that, as stipulated in the Election Ordinance, candidates are required to sign on a confirmation form to state clearly that he/she upholds the Basic Law and pledges allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Union believes that the right to be elected for Hong Kong permanent residents must be protected and respected, Public servants should never be allowed to unscrupulously deprive such right. Screening based on candidates’ political stance is definitely an insult to the will of voters. Elections have unfortunately been reduced as the means for the government to get the pro-government camp placed in the Legislative Council. Consequently, the elected candidates have become “rubber stamps”.

The Hong Kong government has been unscrupulously oppressing opposing views. From Edward Leung and Chan Ho Tin in 2016 Hong Kong Legislative Council election to Chow Ting and Lau Siu Lai in 2018 Legislative Council By-election, there have been more and more candidates being disqualified due to their political stance. Such political screening has been more raging, affecting the Rural Representative Election. In the near future, the political screening could probably extend to different elections, including district council elections and Election Committee Subsector Elections, etc. Even worse, voters’ political view may be reviewed in order to achieve a comprehensive mind control. The Union once again opposes the government arbitrarily depriving Hong Kong people of their basic human rights. It is shameful that the government made such an indecent move to please the Communist Party.
We shall not normalise the usurpation of the right to be elected but to continuously stand up for the injustice in Hong Kong.

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

Kites Rise Higher Against Wind – Statement by the Hong Kong University Students’ Union on The Infringement of Freedom of Expression in Hong Kong


Australian Chinese political artist, Badiucho, originally planned to hold an exhibition “Gongle” in Wong Chuk Hang on November 3. In the exhibition, 19 works which are related to political issues such as umbrella movement and the Causeway Bay bookstore incident would be exhibited. Initially, considering the personal safety of Badiucho, the organiser did not arrange for him to come to Hong Kong. Yet, the day before the event, Badiucho claimed that he still received threats from the Chinese government. Eventually, the organiser had no choice but to cancel the exhibition. The Chinese regime has been using different means to suppress freedom of expression. In addition to imprisoning and abusing dissidents in the country, the regime has even carried off Chinese dissidents in foreign countries. It shows that the authoritarian regime is wilfully committing wicked actions, ignoring the law and human rights. The Hong Kong University Students’ Union pledges to oppose all kinds of wilful means to arbitrarily suppress the freedom of expression and hereby condemn the Chinese regime for obliterating the opposition and suppressing the freedom of expression of artists.

In addition, the Chinese writer Ma Jian, who was exiled overseas due to the June 4th incident, was invited to attend two talks at the Hong Kong International Literary Festival to introduce his newly published work “China Dream” as well as to discuss his satirical portrait of China. The two talks were originally held in “Tai Kwun”, which is managed by Jockey Club CPS Limited. On November 7, “Tai Kwun” suddenly announced the cancellation of two talks as “they don’t wish Tai Kwun to become a platform for any individuals to promote his or her political interests.” Such political censorship undoubtedly stifles the voices of dissidents and the freedom of expression of literary authors, hinders the development of Hong Kong literature, and ironically protects and promotes the political interests of the Chinese Communist Party. “Tai Kwun” claims to provide a platform for a “continually expanding cultural discourse in Hong Kong”, yet they unreasonably prohibited a literary writer from telling the development of literature. Later, Timothy Calnin, Direction of Tai Kwun, announced that the talks will be held as scheduled, considering that Ma Jian did not use “Tai Kwun” as a platform to promote personal political interests. The Hong Kong University Students’ Union emphasises that freedom of speech of writers shall be protected for any type of work, no matter if it is related to politics. The Hong Kong University Students’ Union hereby condemns the explanation and obstruction of Jockey Club CPS Limited. We simultaneously appeal that any organisation shall not draw back from fear, and they shall think twice about the negative impacts brought to Hong Kong when they try to please the Chinese Communist Party.

People are born equal. Freedom of expression is a basic right and it is in no way to be arbitrarily infringed. Pointing out the problems of the government is beneficial for social development. The Hong Kong University Students’ Union solemnly urges people to insist on voicing out for justice despite the violent suppression of the regime.

The Hong Kong University Students’ Union

12th November 2018

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may”- The Joint Statement by The Hong Kong University Students’ Union and Academic Staff Association of The University of Hong Kong in the Interim Provostship


Currently, the media reported the controversy towards the status of Professor K.H. Tam’s Interim Provostship. The selection of the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University has been halted for over two years. During this period, Tam claims himself as “Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor” instead of “Interim Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor”. The Hong Kong University Students’ Union (“HKUSU”) and Academic Staff Association of The University of Hong Kong (“HKUASA”) express our utmost concerns.

It is unusual that Professor Tam has been the Interim Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for over three years. For recent instance, Professor Terry Au, the Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic Staffing and Resources), had taken her interim role for four months only. It was reported that Professor Peter William Mathieson, the then Chairman of the Selection Committee of Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, expressed that the selection process should be resumed by the new President and Vice-Chancellor. However, the Council of the University has not discussed this matter since August 2016. Few days ago, media reported that the recruitment of this post was removed by the Human Resource Section from their website. The university spokesperson replied that, if there is no suitable candidate in the process of searching and selecting, the program will be suspended and then restarted. Yet, the authority has not provided a concrete timetable till now.

The title of Professor Tam is “Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor” in different official documents, including but not limited to the official emails and his website biography. Yet, according to the issued emails, the title of Professor Tam was “Acting President and Vice-Chancellor” from February to July, when Tam was taking the acting role, which is a fair practice. Both the interim provostship and the acting presidentship are transitional, but obviously, there is a different way of handling his title. HKUSU and HKUASA hereby ask for an explanation from Professor Tam.

In accordance with the Statute of the University of Hong Kong, an international selection of the Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University has to be conducted. It is a full-time post as well. Recently, student representatives of the Selection Committee have left the University, and no meetings have been convened since Professor Mathieson left his role. Thus, it is a doubt that whether the Committee could continue to be functioning. HKUSU and HKUASA hereby urge the University to dissolve the current Selection Committee and resume the selection process immediately after the new appointment of the Council members in January 2019.

The Hong Kong University Students’ Union Academic Staff Association of The University of Hong Kong

5 November 2018

Our Strength To Go Through Hell Lies In Our Tenacity – Statement of the Hong Kong University Students’ Union on the Election Result of the Advisory Committee on Council Chairmanship


In the 2016 Review on University Governance, the Council agreed on suggestions made by the working group on the Review concerning the procedures of the Chancellor appointing the Chairman and members of the Council. In the suggestions, the working group suggested that instead of allowing the Chief Executive to directly appoint the Chairman of the Council, an “Advisory Committee on Council Chairmanship” (hereinafter referred to as the Advisory Committee) should be established to provide recommendations on suitable candidates to be the HKU Council Chairman to the Chief Executive for appointment. The Advisory Committee consists of four members: Pro Vice-Chancellor Sir David Li Kwok-po; President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Xiang Zhang; Treasurer of the University Ms Margaret Leung-Ko May-yee and a present Council member being elected by other Council members. On 11 October, the Council announced the result of the election of which Professor Rosie Young was elected as the last member of the Advisory Committee. The Union hereby congratulates Professor Young being elected as a member of the Advisory Committee thus hope that the Advisory Committee can recommend a suitable candidate for the Council chairman accepted by all HKU students and staff. We are also deeply disappointed for our student representative not being able to enter the Advisory Committee.

Ever since Professor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung was appointed as the Council chairman by former Chief Executive Mr Leung Chun Ying, there have been constant disputes occurring within the Council. There have been reports that the Council booked venues outside campus for meeting purposes diverting funds earmarked for other purposes. Also, nonsense reasons had been made just to ban an undergraduate representative to attend a council meeting. Moreover, the bribing dispute caused by the postgraduate representative in the council was even settled without a proper resolution. Being the Council chairman, Professor Li should bear the full responsibility for all these disputes. Professor Li was even involved in several disputes for his words. Before he was even appointed as the Council chairman, he was exposed by former Vice-President Professor Cheng Kai-ming of encouraging people not to donate to the University. After he was appointed, he slandered students by describing students participating in the Council meeting containment as “taking drugs”. Professor Li’s words not only discountenanced the University, being the Council chairman, he did not even show basic respect to students. The Union believes that being the most important executive body of the University, the Council chairman should be responsible to all HKU students and staffs for his acts both internally and externally. Therefore, the Council chairman should be someone accepted by all HKU members. Nevertheless, there is no student nor staff representative in the Advisory Committee, provided the fact that the Advisory Committee should consider all voices regardless of being in the committee or not. In this instance, the Union has the following demands:

1) The Advisory Committee should consult all HKU students publicly about the recommendation of candidate of the Council chairman and consider students’ comments thoroughly.
2) Professor Arthur Li is not a suitable candidate to be the Council chairman, nor suitable for any posts in the structure of University Governance.

Under the present structure of the Advisory Committee, it is obvious that students’ and staff’s voices will not be considered thoroughly nor protected. After all, the Advisory Committee can only recommend to the Chief Executive on the selection of the Council chairman. The Chief Executive still possesses the power to appoint the Council chairman. In other words, the Chief Executive can still make the Council a mere figurehead and not being able to handle University affairs independently. Therefore, the Union would like to propose the following visions towards future reform of University Governance:

1) Student and staff representatives shall be ex-officio members of the Advisory Committee (or committees related to the appointment of the Council chairman).
2) Council members appointed by the Chief Executive (including the chairman) shall be appointed by the Council itself instead.
3) The proportion of HKU members in the Council shall be more than half of all council members.
4) The Chief Executive shall not be the Chancellor.

Co-governance by students and staff is the ultimate goal of university governance. Still, there is a long and winding road to achieve this goal. Especially when institutional autonomy and academic freedom of the University is currently under huge suppression, reforms must be carried out towards the University Ordinance to save the University. The Union hopes that the Reform of University Governance will not be what it used to be, but really leading the University to co-governance by students and staff both systematically and realistically.

The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
14 October 2018

Men’s Soul and Blood Are Not Eggshells for Tyrants to Break – Statement by Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions on the Government’s Denial of Victor Mallet’s Visa Renewal Application


A few days ago, the Hong Kong Government refused to renew work visa for Mr Victor Mallet, Vice-Chairman of The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong and editor of the Financial Times, without a reasonable explanation. Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions strongly condemn the Hong Kong government for unreasonably suppressing press freedom.

In mid-August, The Foreign Correspondents’ Club invited the Mr Chan Ho Tin, Convenor of Hong Kong National Party, to attend a luncheon and gave a speech. Undoubtedly, the luncheon did not violate the law and was protected by Article 27 of the Basic Law as well as “The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”. Yet, The government, the pro-establishment camp, and some “patriots” have slammed The Foreign Correspondents’ Club. Two months later, the Hong Kong Government suddenly refused to renew the work visa to Vice-Chairman of The Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong. They even only issued a seven-day tourist visa instead of a half-yearly visa-free access that is granted to ordinary British citizens. Hong Kong society, the British Government, the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and the European Union all required the Hong Kong Government to give a reasonable explanation. However, The Hong Kong Government has rejected and claimed that this is an “international practice”. Since the incident involves press freedom and public interest, if Mr Victor Mallet has violated the approval criteria for work visas, Hong Kong laws or conditions of stay, the Hong Kong Government should explain clearly. Without a reasonable explanation, the refusal to renew the work visa is no difference from expelling the foreign journalist, which is obviously a political retaliation, as the government wishes to punish The Foreign Correspondents’ Club for inviting Mr Chan Ho Tin to give a public speech. Such an act is definitely the same as the usual practice of the Chinese Communist regime, which keeps suppressing the personal freedom of journalists. It also seriously trampled the press freedom in Hong Kong.

The government has been threatening Hong Kong people’s freedom of speech and freedom of expression. A report released by “The Congressional-Executive Commission on China” in the USA on 10th October 2018, stated that the Hong Kong government’s destruction of freedom of speech as well as academic freedom has intensified. However, in response to the report, the Hong Kong Government still brazenly claimed that “the freedom of speech is highly valued and is also protected by the Basic Law.” The Hong Kong Government and the Communist Party have always been contrary to what they said, which is utterly staggering.

In this regard, Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions solemnly request the Hong Kong Government to provide a reasonable explanation for not renewing the work visa for Mr Victor Mallet. Otherwise, such decision should be revoked and the government should renew the work visa for Mr Victor Mallet immediately. Press freedom is an important foundation of a civilised society, as it can enhance information flow and economic development. Hong Kong government deems Hong Kong as an international financial centre, but they cannot even accommodate a foreign journalist. They act like a dictatorial regime, which brought disgrace to Hong Kong, affecting Hong Kong’s economy and international status. The Hong Kong Government’s suppression on press freedom and freedom of speech will only ruin the future and interests of Hong Kong. For this reason, the Hong Kong government should think twice about the negative impacts brought to Hong Kong when they try to please the Communist Party by self-destructing.

City University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
Hang Seng Management College Students’ Union
Student Union of Chu Hai College of Higher Education
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students’ Union
The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
The Interim Executive Committee of The Student Union of Hong Kong Shue Yan University
The Provisional Executive Council of the Education University Students’ Union
The Provisional Executive Committee of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Students’ Union
The Students Union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong

12th October 2018