In or out of the HKFS?

In or out of the HKFS?

Opinions divided as thousands of HKU students vote to leave federation

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Many students believe the HKFS committee made bad choices.
Many students believe the HKFS committee made bad choices.

Concern groups cropped up over the weekend in at least six local tertiary institutions, calling on their student unions to leave the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS).

The concern groups, including ones from Chinese University, City University and Lingnan University, have on average 1,400 likes on Facebook.

This comes after Hong Kong University Students' Union's (HKUSU) announcement after holding a ballot that they will quit the federation.

A total of 6,000 HKU students - 39 per cent of the student body - voted in the referendum last week. It was the highest percentage turnout the university has seen in five years. Results revealed 2,522 students were in favour of leaving the federation, just 4 per cent more than those who voted to stay in. A fifth of students cast blank votes.

According to the HKU concern group's Facebook page, they believe HKFS made many bad decisions, wrongly putting their faith in negotiations, and missing the opportunity to take stronger action against the government.

Sharon Lee, a first-year HKU student, voted to leave the federation because she disagrees with many of its decisions, and its sponsorship of "democracy in China", rather than focusing more on student and local issues.

Susan Cheng Tsz-wai, a third-year student, cast a blank vote. "HKU's departure will weaken HKFS, and just quitting won't solve the structural problems people are unhappy about," although she added that she realised there was no easy solution to those problems.

HKUSU's newly elected president, Billy Fung Jing-en, says his Cabinet did not want to leave HKFS, but respects the students' decision. The union would continue to hold pro-democracy events, he said.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Time to decide whether to stay or to go?

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