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 Otherwise, the HKPUSU’s right to manage Democracy Wall will be withdrawn by the University.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.

Land And Sea May Quiver But Not Our Faith – The Hong Kong University Students’ Union Declaration on October 1 Ferry Disaster

 

On 1 October 2012, the Lamma Island Ferry Collision took away 39 lives and 92 were injured. Six years have passed, yet there is still no sign of any investigation report. Follow-up actions even sunk to the bottom of the sea just like the vessel Lamma IV. In 2014, the government completed a 430-page internal investigation report, yet only publishing a 41-page summary of the investigation report. Moreover, with the support from pan-establishment LegCo members, the LegCo Panel on Economic Development decided not to take any follow-up actions on the Ferry Disaster. In this instance, the Hong Kong University Students’ Union condemns that pan-establishment LegCo members’ action was an act with utter disregard of human lives, thus urging the government to publish the complete investigation report on the Ferry Disaster and LegCo to continue following up on this incident.

21 years have passed since Hong Kong’s sovereignty had been transferred. The government has disregarded Hong Kong people’s interest but to collude business tycoons and ingratiate itself with the Chinese regime. Apart from covering the accidents happened during the high-speed rail testing, the government arbitrarily lowered the acceptable levels of subsidence, which in turn allowed the contractor of the Sha Tin-Central line to get rid of its responsibility. The government has not only disregard the safety of Hong Kong people, but it also despises our freedom and rights. The government could forfeit our freedom to fawn on the Chinese regime. Beside charging dissidents by exploiting the Public Order Ordinance, the government banned the Hong Kong National Party with Societies Ordinance. Hong Kong people shall place no hope on the government for being the custodian of our freedom and rights, for it has no scruples about ingratiating itself with the Chinese regime.

If the government want to condemn somebody, it can always trump up a charge. The government’s apathy to people’s lives and intention to suppress dissidents have been all too clear. Our city will only continue declining under the ravage of the existing regime. Hong Kong shall alone be salvaged by the abolishment of the Communist threat. Hong Kong people shall stand tall and deny all the government’s deceptions, although the continuous fighting can be exhausting. Rather sitting still and waiting for death, we can only save our city shall we rely on ourselves with perseverance and spontaneity.

The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
1st October 2018

(中文) 堅決維護結社自由 蘇世獨立橫而不流—香港大學學生會就近日香港政府禁止香港民族黨運作之嚴正聲明

The government gazetted a ban on the Hong Kong National Party on 24th September 2018. Such a ban was a trample on the rights and values of Hong Kong people, as well a violation of the freedoms of speech and association what ought to be enjoyed by our people. The Union opposes and condemns the government’s reckless intervention and suppression on political parties, non-governmental societies and student groups in any political way or manner.

The Union reiterates that all actions convened by the Hong Kong National Party, including distributing leaflets, advocating on forums and conferences, and building a website for promotional use, did not violate any Hong Kong laws. Such actions were and shall be protected by the Basic Law, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance. The Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo stated that the organised crime and triad bureau is coordinating the force’s response to any activities relating to the now banned Hong Kong National Party. The Union deems it ridiculous to classify the Hong Kong National Party the same as the triads. The Union is exasperated to perceive how the government suppressed dissidents with their public power.

The ban on the Hong Kong National Party serves Hong Kong a precedent detrimental to our freedom of association. Any political parties, non-governmental societies or student groups could possibly be banned because of their dissenting stances from the government, disregarding their stance or advocacy on Hong Kong independence. This will not only lead our freedom of speech to an end, but bring us undesirable political prosecutions. Under the chill effect will our city be surrounded by white terror, and the people will no longer be able to monitor the government. While voices and thoughts in the society are turning more singular, Hong Kong will be steps closer to authoritarianism.

Our people fought for democracy in the Umbrella Revolution. Four years after the Revolution, our democracy and freedom have been declining steadily day by day. The Union implores Hong Kong people to get a clear understanding of the authoritarian nature of the Hong Kong government, and to fight for the rights and freedom we deserved, and let not our city continue crumbling.

The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
29th September 2018

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

 

Yesterday (26/9), the posts on Democracy Wall were removed and damaged by an unauthorized person. In light of this incident, the Executive Committee’s response is as follows:

The Committee censures the unauthorized removal of the post on Democracy Wall
According to Union Internal Regulation, General Secretary and Administrative Secretary own the right to manage the Democracy Wall. The person who damaged and removed the posts on Democracy Wall was not authorized, and he/she has no connection with the Committee. The Committee censures such unauthorized removal. The Committee hereby reaffirms that only the Union Executive Committee has the right to remove any post which has violated Union Internal Regulation. We will never tolerate people who disregard Union Internal Regulation and affect others’ right to express their opinion. Instead of removing the post without authorization, one should lodge a complaint to Chairman of Judicial Committee if they have any discontent on the posts on Democracy wall.

The Committee defends members’ right to use the Democracy Wall

HKU is the bastion of freedom of speech, and Democracy Wall is an important platform in which the freedom of speech is upheld. Students can voice out their opinion on the Democracy Wall provided that they do not violate Union internal regulation. Although in recent years, freedom of speech in Hong Kong is being challenged, the Committee will continue defending members’ freedom of speech and their right to use the Democracy Wall. We will manage the Democracy Wall fairly and consistently according to Union Internal Regulation

Executive Committee, The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
27th September, 2018

Endurance in the Shadow of Peril and Confidence in the Midst of Doubt – Statement of the Hong Kong University Students’ Union on recent censures towards the FCC and Andy Chan Ho-Tin

 

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong (hereinafter the FCC) has recently invited Andy Chan Ho-Tin of the Hong Kong National Party to speak for one of their lunchtime events. The Union condemn the continuing denunciation by the Chinese regime and the Hong Kong government, for their aggression in suppressing the dissidents, and violation of Hong Kong people’s freedom of speech and press.

The Hong Kong government has lately censured the FCC’s invitation to Chan as “regrettable and inappropriate”. Soon Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-Ngor, the Chief Executive, claimed that the government’s stricture did not violate freedom of speech nor press, for Chan’s speech, has been widely reported by press and media: “how could the government be said to have violated freedom of speech?” Lam also criticised that press and media shall bear the burden not to bring any sedition. The Union condemn the government for twisting the essence of freedom of speech and mislead people through the play of words. Freedom of speech disregards the coverage of the speech by media, but the protection of the right in expressing one’s opinion, even if such opinion is controversial. Criticism by the government towards the FCC, Chan and the media was a clear violation and suppression of the freedom of speech and press. Furthermore, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic Of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (hereinafter the Office) pressurised the FCC to withdraw their invitation to Chan, by framing the FCC as “crossing the red line”. The Office openly urged the FCC to reflect and atone. The Union believe the FCC’s invitation to Chan was nothing more than an act embodied freedom of speech and press and was unreasonable for the Office to request an apology from the FCC. The Office’s act was obscure and absurd.

Apart from Lam’s misinterpretation of freedom of speech and the Office’s insolent criticism, the government has exhausted their means to suppress the dissenting advocacies. Leung Ka-wing, the Director of Broadcasting, by executive means prohibited Radio Television Hong Kong (hereinafter RTHK) from doing a live broadcast of Chan’s speech, disregarding people’s right to know. Leung’s act was a clear intervention to press’ reportage and a violation of freedom of the press. The society enjoys the right to know, and the decision and mean of reportage depend on nothing but news value. Nonetheless, Leung restricted reportage by RTHK on the ground of political stance: “RTHK should not be used to advocate Hong Kong independence.” The government’s intention to suppress dissidents has been abundantly clear.

The Union reiterate that Hong Kong people shall enjoy the room for discussions of and advocacies on controversial issues. Press and Media shall also enjoy the freedom to report various social matters. The Union sternly demand the Office and the Hong Kong government to retract the relevant speeches and stop suppressing the room for discussion of Hong Kong independence in respect of freedom of speech.

The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
18th August 2018

“On the Edge to Endless Aftermath” – Declaration of Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions on the Suppression on Hong Kong National Party by the Hong Kong Government

 

Students’ Unions of higher institutions strongly condemn the recommendation by the Police Force on prohibiting the operation on Hong Kong National Party. John Lee Ka-chiu, Secretary for Security, recently revealed to the public about the Police Force’s recommendation was made in light of section 8 of the Societies Ordinance concerning the interests of national security and public safety.

According to the Societies Ordinance, should any society fall into the category of unlawful society, any person who acts as a member or attends a meeting, or pays money or gives any aid to the society concerned will be guilty of an offence and can be liable to imprisonment for 2 to 3 years. The Police Force made such a recommendation on the basis of the Hong Kong National Party’s political agenda, was undoubtedly a suppression of Hong Kong people’s freedom of association and political rights. Students’ Unions of higher institutions reiterate that Hong Kong people’s political rights are protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; whilst the Basic Law stated that Hong Kong people shall enjoy the freedom of speech and association. Students’ Unions of higher institutions condemn the Police Force and the Security Bureau for quoting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance out of context, disregarding the prerequisite of “democratic society”, neglecting the fact that Hong Kong has been stepping away from democracy but towards authoritarianism, to suit their purpose for exploiting people’s freedom of association by the excuse of national security. Should the regime prohibit and define Hong Kong National Party as unlawful society considering their political agenda, this certainly constitutes a breach to the constitution and human rights in Hong Kong.

Students’ Unions of higher institutions urge Hong Kong people not to acclimate to the exploitations by the Hong Kong government. We treasure freedom, rule of law to our core, and we shall not step down in front of any wave and storm. From Andy Chan Ho-tin and Edward Leung Tin-kei advocating Hong Kong independence in 2016 to Agnes Chow Ting being banned from 2018 Legislative Council By-Election for her advocacy of democratic self-determination, we have been experiencing the endless aftermath once there was a precedent. It will be the first case for a society being prohibited from operation due to its political agenda since the transfer of sovereignty. Should Hong Kong people hold our tongues, it will only open a gate for the Hong Kong government to prohibit societies advocating self-determination, democracy and freedom from their operations.

Students’ Unions of higher institutions exhort all Hong Kong people to discern the Hong Kong government as a regime that brushes aside human rights and rule of law. We shall abandon undesirable fantasies, and stand against the cruel regime outside the system, for we fight for our rights and dignity as a Hongkonger.

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

19th July 2018

One Country Two Systems: The Castle In The Air Will Soon Tumble Down – July 1 Declaration by Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions

 

In 1984, China and the United Kingdom started negotiations on the future of Hong Kong, but the opinions of Hong Kong people were never considered. Eventually, on July 1, 1997, China seized Hong Kong’s sovereignty. At that time, Hong Kong people mistakenly believe in the Chinese regime as they extravagantly thought that “one country, two systems” could protect our city from falling under Communist control. After twenty-one years, the bubbles have been prickled, and the executive authorities, as well as the legislative authorities, have fallen in one fell swoop. Worse still, the rule of law is also being devastated. After all, the so-called “Law remains unchanged, and so does the lifestyle” is only an inveracity.

The Chinese government gains unlimited power under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, and Hong Kong people have never been able to fight back. “The way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years” is nothing but a lie. Albeit with the Basic Law, the Chinese regime can behave arbitrarily, disregard the constitutional provisions, and circumvent the procedure to make the interpretations of the Basic Law. Yet, the Hong Kong courts are at wits’ end to this situation. Hong Kong government and the Communist Party even overrode the Hong Kong laws to implement Chinese policies as they claimed that the co-location arrangement is a “special case” under “One Country, Two Systems”. Incessantly, the legislation of National Anthem Law and “Article 23” are approaching. Actually, the reality has been thoroughly revealed in the “White Paper on the Practice of One Country, Two Systems in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”: “But the “two systems” under the “one country” are not on a par with each other.” “One Country, Two Systems” was once a policy to allure Hong Kong people to trust the Chinese regime, but today it has already become to the tool for the Chinese government to take control over Hong Kong. Obviously, “One Country, Two Systems” is not a promise to protect the rights and life of Hong Kong people, but an excuse for the Chinese regime to suppress us.

There is no freedom and human rights under the Basic Law, and the illusions brought by “One Country, Two Systems” have come to an end. Today, when Hong Kong is being controlled by the Chinese government, under no circumstances shall we keep away from all the adversities. We shall no longer believe that under “One Country, Two Systems”, there is still room for protecting our city. On the contrary, we should take Hong Kong as the base, realise the situation and think about the future of our City. Only by getting rid of the restrictions of “One Country, Two Systems”, fighting up and resisting the colonization, can we have a future with democracy and freedom.

City University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
Hang Seng Management College Students’ Union
Interim Executive Committee of The Student Union of Hong Kong Shue Yan University
The Hong Kong Federation of Students
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students’ Union
The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
The Student Union of The Chinese University of Hong Kong

1st July 2018

A Lost Battle Is A Battle One Thinks One Has Lost – A Letter to All Citizens of Hong Kong from Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions

 

A Lost Battle Is A Battle One Thinks One Has Lost – A Letter to All Citizens of Hong Kong from Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions

Dear Hong Kong Citizens,

During the Lunar New Year of 2016, the government changed its usual practice and forbidden the hawkers to make their own living ruthlessly. Thus, in order to defend the local culture, Hong Kong people stood up and supported the hawkers in Mong Kok. Yet, the police suddenly arrived at the scene and evicted the protesters in violence. Worst still, they even fired bullets amidst the crowd. The clampdown eventually led to a large-scale conflict between police and protesters. In the past two years, there have been protesters prosecuted by the government and sent to prison for crimes such as riots. The Students’ Unions of Higher Education Institutions in Hong Kong would like to express our utter sadness towards the hardship suffered by the convicted and accused protesters in the Mong Kok Cases. Moreover, we hereby condemn the shameful act of the regime.

Apart from the seven-year and six-year imprisonments suffered by Lo Kin-man and Edward Leung, several protesters have also been sent to jail for years. The Students’ Union of Higher Education Institutions in Hong Kong would like to express our concern and discontent towards the oppressive and unreasonable sentences recently. In fact, the laws in Hong Kong have already become obsolete. In “Public Security Ordinance”, the meaning of “leading to a breach of the peace” is not clearly defined. Moreover, there is no clear distinction between the definitions of “Unlawful assembly” and “Riot”, but the criterions for imposing penalty are completely different for these two crimes. Such loopholes allow the regime to use laws as means to suppress the protesters. The United Nations has twice criticised that the current “Public Security Ordinance” does not provide citizens with sufficient protection to enjoy their freedom of assembly. However, the Hong Kong government evades reviewing the current “Public Security Ordinance”. We then urge for a review of the current laws to ensure that the rights of Hong Kong people are safeguarded while maintaining social order. We also believe that the current situation in the society, as well as the intention of the protesters, are public policy factors that cannot be ignored. Such intention should also be considered If the defendant strives to pursue social interests instead of self interests.

Today, protesters were imprisoned as they were prosecuted by the regime. We shall keep our faith despite the adversities, engraving the protesters’ spirit of sacrificing themselves for our city on our mind. Under the dictatorial regime, the Students’ Union of Higher Education Institutions in Hong Kong pledge to walk along with all citizens throughout the journey of pursuing freedom. We shall bear in mind the sacrifices of the predecessors and ponder over the future of our city. In “The Gods Are Athirst”, Anatole France wrote: “When the Government violates the Rights of the people, insurrection is for the people the most sacred and the most indispensable of duties.” Hong Kong has never escaped from the increasing control of the communist party, and its future is disconcerting as human rights and rule of law are being devastated. When various crises such as the co-location arrangement together with legislations of national anthem law and Article 23 come around incessantly, we shall never let our voice die down nor allow the regime to trample on us. It is only the Hong Kong people who bear the responsibility of saving our city. We shall never lose hope of the future of Hong Kong, as only through perseverance and assertiveness can we take control of the destiny of our home.

Jean-Paul Sartre once said, “a lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.” Shall we fight and struggle with persistence, Justice will return gloriously.

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

12th June 2018

“Righteousness Reigns and Vigilance Purges Evil” – Declaration of Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions on China’s Recent Assaults Against Hong Kong Journalists

 

Students’ unions of higher institutions express our animosity towards the recent assault and false imprisonment against Hong Kong journalists in China. Reporters from Commercial Radio were surrounded and reporters from i-Cable were kicked and beaten by local officials in Sichuan. Four days later, a photojournalist from NOW News faced assault and unreasonable imprisonment in Beijing when covering a Beijing Lawyers Association hearing and was made to sign a “statement of repentance”. Such tyrannical acts shall be condemned.

Suppression of Hong Kong press freedom by China has been incessant: in 2009, Hong Kong reporters were falsely imprisoned by Xinjiang armed force; in 2010, Shenzhen police wounded Hong Kong reporters when covering anti-Japanese demonstration; in 2013, Hong Kong reporters were grievously harmed by Beijing police when interviewing Liu Xia; and in 2016, Hong Kong reporters were seriously injured by police when investigating Wukan protest, and the interview material was coercively deleted. Students’ unions of higher institutions condemn the Chinese government’s repeated trampling on press freedom over the years.

Press freedom has been and will always be one of the cornerstones of our social development, as well as an important exemplification of human rights. Media, as the fourth estate, plays an essential and adversarial role of monitoring our society and government. Notwithstanding the press freedom in Hong Kong is going downhill. Hong Kong’s place in press freedom index has been falling from 18th in 2002 to 70th in 2018. Reporters Without Borders stated in their report that Hong Kong “media have experienced growing interference by the Chinese authorities.” Rights and personal safety of journalists shall always be safeguarded. The Hong Kong government has the indispensable responsibility to protect local media from the suppression by China.

Students’ unions of higher institutions are discontented with the government’s apprehensive response regarding the incidents. We hereby request the government to disclose progress and conclusion of the relevant investigation and take initiatives in protecting press freedom in Hong Kong.

City University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
Hang Seng Management College Students’ Union
Interim Executive Committee of The Student Union of Hong Kong Shue Yan University
The Education University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
The Hong Kong Federation of Students
The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
The Student Union of The Chinese University of Hong Kong

18th May 2018