Dancing with the Devil – Statement from Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions on Opposition to the Amendment to Extradition Laws

 

The Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 (“The Bill”) has been submitted to the Legislative Council by the HKSAR government recently. The Bill has been published in the Gazette on 29th March, with First Reading on 3rd April. The amendment will allow the HKSAR government to surrender suspects in criminal cases between Hong Kong and jurisdictions with which the SAR has not entered into a formal bilateral extradition agreement, including China, a jurisdiction with an opaque judiciary system and tattered human rights record. As the Bill may put all Hong Kong people and those set foot in Hong Kong at risk, Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions solemnly oppose the amendment of the extradition laws.

Concerns about the PRC judiciary system was deep-rooted and widespread in the international community. There have been frequent reports of “enforced disappearance” of civil right activists and lawyers, who suffered long-term detention without receiving a fair trial or even subject to torture and ill-treatment. The Bill ignores the continuing human rights concerns in China and allows Hong Kong people and any overseas visitors in Hong Kong to be handed to the authorities in China, a country that fails to meet the international human right standard. After the Bill is passed, the HKSAR government have no way to protect the suspects’ right to a fair trial and their right to freedom from torture. It is foreseeable that the Bill will eventually become a tool for political suppression and the personal freedom of all Hong Kong people and visitors are under severe threat.

Since the transfer of sovereignty in 1997, there has been no shortage of controversies on the extradition of fugitives to China in Hong Kong’s society. The “Fugitive Offenders Ordinance” does not apply between Hong Kong and China, this is not a ‘loophole in law’, as pronounced by the HKSAR government, but the reflection of Hong Kong people and their lawmakers’ absolute distrust in China’s judicial system and human rights treatment. 22 years later, the HKSAR government attempted to make a breach through a case that had not even the slightest to do with China, it is abundantly clear why the government would crack open the door of fugitive extradition to China. We believe that this is Pandora’s Box, it would be unimaginable what could possibly happen if the defence of our laws is torn down. The SAR government repeatedly claimed that the courts in Hong Kong could safeguard the extradition, but as barrister Margaret Ng said, whether fair trials are available in China is not something Hong Kong courts could possibly decide and the courts can only make their decisions on the basis of documents provided by China, the ‘safeguard’ would practically be non-functional.

Ironically, the HKSAR government crumbled under the pressure of powerful businesses and merchants and removed 9 business-related offences. However, they failed to offer a proper explanation on the differential treatment between merchants suspected of committing a business-related offence and suspects with other offences, especially when they are to be trialled under the same arbitrary judicial system in China. This does not only indicated the HKSAR government’s preferential treatment for merchants and business, but also caused their claim of ‘preventing Hong Kong from becoming a paradise for fugitive offenders’ to collapse on itself. In fact, no matter how many offences are removed, it does not change the fact that China’s legal system is extremely unjust. The Chinese government could easily create any offence to extradite Hong Kong businessmen to the courts of China. After the Bill is passed, every Hong Kong citizen, merchants included, cannot spare themselves from becoming meat on the chopping block.

The HKSAR government held high the banner of ‘justice for the victim’s family in the Taiwan murder case’, but has completely ignored the counter proposals raised by the legal field, including the suggestion of the Bar Association of amending the “Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance”. The HKSAR government wore the sheep’s skin of ‘plugging the loopholes in law’, but could not be more obviously sharpening their claws to hunt down dissenters in their administration. It would be unacceptable for us not to speak up against such shameful act, we demand the HKSAR government to withdraw the Bill immediately. We also call for the unity of Hong Kong people, rise up against the unjust amendment, protect our rights and dignity.

The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
The Student Union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students’ Union
The Provisional Executive Committee of City University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
The Provisional Executive Council of The Education University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
The Provisional Executive Committee of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Students’ Union
The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts Students’ Union
The Hong Kong Federation of Students
The Student Union of Lee Woo Sing College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Student Union of S. H. Ho College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Executive Committee of Shaw College Student Union, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Student Union of Wu Yee Sun College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Student Union, Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Executive Committee of Student Union, United College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
New Asia College Student Union, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

2nd April 2019

The Leaky Dam Over the Cornerstone – Statement from Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions on the Hearing on the HKPUSU’s Democracy Wall Incident

 

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) held a disciplinary hearing on the students’ protest against the university’s trespass to the democracy wall. The sentencings are as follow:

LAM Wing Hang, past President of HKPUSU – suspension of 1 year
CHENG Yuet Ting, past Vice-President (External) of HKPUSU – community service order of 60 hours
LI Owan, student Council Member – community service order of 120 hours
HO Chun Him, MS student – expelled and shall never be admitted to any programme offered by PolyU in the future

The Students’ Unions express their strong dissatisfaction against the sentences imposed on the four students. In the disciplinary hearing, the four students were accused of “refusing to comply with orders of concerned authorities” (Article 1a) and “exhibiting conducts to the detriment of the school’s reputation”. (Article 1h), The accused, except CHENG Yuet Ting, were also blamed for “slandering, assaulting or battering University staff (Article 1a)”.

Co-governance by university and students is the cornerstone of a university, exhibited by students’ union’s full possession over the Democracy Wall. HKPUSU bears the responsibility for ensuring freedom of speech with its full possession over the Democracy Wall. The Democracy Wall allows students to criticise the University authorities, free from pressure and interference. Universities should be places for cultivating intellectuality and stimulating debate and, thus, should accommodate all academic discussions, including Hong Kong Independence. PolyU has arbitrarily swayed the management of the Democracy Wall and tampered with the rules of the Wall, forcibly changing ‘HKPUSU’ and ‘Executive Committee of HKPUSU’ to ‘Office of Student Development, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’. PolyU’s atrocities trampled the significance and meaning of the Democracy Wall and showed its nonchalant and ignorant attitude towards students’ views.

Students’ unions of higher institutions deem the sentencings are out of proportion. LAM, past President of HKPUSU, was suspended for one year while HO was suspended and barred from admitting into PolyU. Not only do the sentencings deprive the rights of the concerned students, but are also gross suppression of freedom of speech. Moreover, the absence of clear sentencing guidelines renders the verdicts highly unjust and unacceptable. The intention of the University authorities to create a chilling effect for eradicating all ‘sensitive’ views is crystal clear in this case.

PolyU, as one of the higher education institutions in Hong Kong, ridiculously adopted such barbaric student disciplinary procedures. PolyU alleged students for committing serious offences such as “defamation”, “assault” and “battery”, while no legal consultant nor personnel with legal knowledge attended the hearings. PolyU was recklessly punishing students in the name of law, without any legal basis. PolyU’s student disciplinary hearings were farces, notwithstanding its lack of respect to students, it reflects how corrupt is the bureaucracy in PolyU. Therefore, we strongly demand PolyU review the reasonableness of the verdicts and structure of the committee to deliver justice to the concerned students.

From the democracy wall incident to the disciplinary hearing today, it can be seen that white terror, brought by the regime, has been spreading among higher institutions. This hearing is likely to set a precedent for further oppression of students. Students’ unions of higher institutions reassert that we will not tolerate any suppression from the university authorities. We also encourage every one of you to pay attention to the incident and support further actions from PolyU students. Students’ autonomy must be safeguarded.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students’ Union
The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
The Student Union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Interim Executive Committee of The Student Union of Hong Kong Shue Yan University
The Provisional Executive Committee of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Students’ Union
The Provisional Executive Committee of City 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 The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
The Provisional Executive Council of The Education University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
Student Union of Chu Hai College of Higher Education
The Hong Kong Federation of Students
The Student Union of Wu Yee Sun College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
New Asia College Student Union, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
S. H. Ho College Student Union of The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Student Union, United College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Student Union of Lee Woo Sing College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Student Union, Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Shaw College Student Union, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Lingsulate

2 March 2019

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.

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

Co-signatories:
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

Appendix
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),
http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr94-95/english/lc_sitg/hansard/h941102.pdf

[2] HKSAR Government Press Release (16 June 1999),
https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/199906/16/0616213.htm

[3] Working Paper of Legislative Council Panel on Education (14th May 2007),
https://www.legco.gov.hk/yr06-07/english/panels/ed/papers/ed0514cb2-1781-4-e.pdf

言論自由寸土不讓、學生自治必不可失

 

大專學界就香港樹仁大學學生事務處褫奪學生會會室及民主牆管理權之嚴正聲明

香港樹仁大學學生會(下稱本會)在2018年12月7日接獲香港樹仁大學(下稱校方)學生事務處來信,指學生會「未能產生新一屆幹事會」,因而「未有院校認可之行政機關管理辦事處和民主牆」,並決定收回上述空間。本會得悉事件後,於2018年12月12日與學生事務處交涉,惟校方依然一意孤行。校方收回會室及民主牆的行為蔑視學生會選舉結果、打壓學生自治及言論空間,事態極嚴重,本會對此予以嚴厲譴責並強烈反對校方收回場地,理據闡述如下

(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。

本會早前已經舉辦換屆選舉,並順利產生新一屆評議員。倘若本會無法產生新一屆幹事會,來屆評議員將根據《會章》,成立臨時行政小組代理幹事會職務,服務本會會員。根據過往經驗,即使遇上幹事會出缺,學生會代表與校方簽訂會室租約,由臨時行政小組適度維持會室運作,提供影印、文具售賣等服務,足見代理職務機制行之有效。校方是次忽然改弦易轍,無疑令學生會的人手及資源更加緊絀,嚴重影響學生會運作。

既然學生會已有機制處理出缺事宜,並透過選舉產生民選評議員,校方竟選擇性地承認民選幹事會而拒絕承認民選評議員,箇中邏輯令人費解,更是蔑視本會《會章》及全民投票之結果。校方理應回應有何理據不承認民選評議員代理幹事會職務,及其執行會室續租及管理民主牆之權利。

(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。

本會深信開放、多元的言論空間之於大學必不可少,不應因幹事會出缺而有所影響。再者,《會章》已有機制處理幹事會出缺之情況,校方以幹事會出缺為藉口強拆民主牆,只會越加暴露其專橫無道,辜負我校「敦仁博物」之名。

在此,本會聯同大專學界要求校方在十二月二十七日前回應我們的訴求,否則本會不排除將行動升級:

(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。

香港樹仁大學學生會
香港恒生大學學生會
香港科技大學學生會臨時行政委員會
香港教育大學學生會臨時行政委員會
香港珠海學院學生會
香港城市大學學生會
香港理工大學學生會
香港中文大學學生會
香港專上學生聯會
香港大學學生會

二零一八年十二月十八日
===================================================
聯署網址:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfbEQOS_GydKSLgkAgVJa8TiGyO9J1TAtR4d9xzUGn96PnTxg/viewform?usp=sf_link

請同學廣傳,集合力量,以人數表達我們對校方打壓學生自治的不滿及對蔑視選舉結果、拒絕承認民選機關履行會章賦予之職權的嚴重性,要求校方正視並在限期前以回應我們的訴求。

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,
Cambridge,
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