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
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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

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

Proclaim The Truth and Do Not Be Silent Through Fear – Declaration of Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions on the Suppression on HKPUSU’s Right to Manage Democracy Wall by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

 

On 24th September, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students’ Union (hereafter “HKPUSU”) changed half of the Democracy Wall into “Lennon Wall” to allow students to express their opinions freely and to commemorate “Umbrella Movement”. Unexpectedly, two days later (26th September), As The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (hereafter “the University”) claimed that sensitive political topics shall not be discussed or mentioned on Democracy Wall, they intervene the management right of HKPUSU by requiring HKPUSU to abandon “Lennon Wall” within 24 hours. Otherwise, the HKPUSU’s right to manage Democracy Wall will be withdrawn by the University. Later, the University covered the Democracy Wall with red papers, tampering regulations on Democracy Wall without authorisation, forcibly taking over Democracy Wall, and suppressing students’ freedom of expression.

On 1st October, HKPUSU and its sub-organisations issued a joint statement to condemn the actions taken by the University. More than 2,000 students signed on the statement, urging for the University’s response. However, students’ opinions have consistently been neglected. As such, on 4th October, students went to the President’s Office to ask for a public response. Yet, they were refused by the University. Since the Democracy Wall incident involves the interests of all students and teaching staff, HKPUSU wishes to seek an open and transparent conversation. Therefore, on 5th October, HKPUSU invited the University to attend the open forum. It was hoped that in the forum, the incident can be discussed and a proper response can be given by the University. Yet, the University still refused to attend.

The unreasonable and unruly suppression, as well as refusals of the University, have driven students into a corner. On 5th October, Lam Wing Hang, President of HKPUSU and Yuen Pak Leung, Council Chairperson announced an indefinite hunger strike and occupation until a satisfactory response is received.

Students’ Unions of higher institutions hereby reaffirm, HKPUSU as the only organisation which owns the management right of Democracy Wall, the University has no right to prohibit students from expressing their opinions. Students have the right to post any slogan that complies with the regulations on Democracy Wall, and their speech is also protected by freedom of speech. The University unreasonably suppressed the freedom of speech, and consistently ignored students’ requirements. Students’ Unions of higher institutions strongly condemned the unruly actions taken by the University. The two students of the University have been driven into a corner, to go for a hunger strike. However, until now, the University only concerned about the arrangement of the Information Day, ruthlessly ignored students’ health. It is such a shame that the University thoroughly neglected the benefits of students.

The two students spare no effort to fight for students’ autonomy and freedom of expression in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Their assertion shall be appreciated. We hereby urge different sectors of the society to pay attention to the incident and support the two students. We strictly request the University to recognise the autonomy of HKPUSU, to promise not to interfere the management right of HKPUSU, and to fulfil the requirements made by HKPUSU and University staff, before there is no more room for negotiation.

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 Provisional Executive Council of the Education University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
The Student Union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong

6th October 2018

The Union Executive Committee’s statement on the repetitive unauthorized removal of the post on Democracy Wall

 

It was recently found that some posts on the Democracy Wall were removed once again by an unauthorized person. The Union Executive Committee hereby express our indignance and will reserve the right to pursue further action. Democracy wall is a platform on which HKU students can enjoy their freedom of speech, and to express their opinion without violating the Union Internal Regulation. As such, political censorship, or any act that undermines others’ freedom of speech, are thoroughly disallowed. The Committee reaffirms that only the Union Executive Committee has the right to remove any post which has violated the Union Internal Regulation. Instead of removing the post without authorization, one should lodge a complaint to Chairman of Judicial Committee should they have any discontent on the posts on Democracy wall. Please notify the General Secretary or the Administrative Secretary as soon as possible if you witness any unauthorized person who is attempting to remove any post on the Democracy Wall.