Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, the new HKU council chairman, claimed that “students acted like they were on drugs” when they disrupted his meeting. He also accused the students of being manipulated by pan-democrat politicians, especially the Civic Party, just because Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, Leung Kwok-hung’s assistant and other pan-democrats were there. Eu is an alumna of HKU. It was normal for her to be on the campus. Besides, she was not even there during the meeting, so Li’s allegations are nonsense.
The HKU Alumni Concern Group held a vote a few months ago in which 97 per cent opposed Li’s appointment as chairman of the HKU council. However, Li said that there were 170 thousand alumni and the opposition only made up 3 per cent of them. That means 97 per cent had no opinion on this. He is just as bad as the “blue ribbon” groups that claim to represent the “silent majority”.
Undeniably, the students who interrupted the HKU council meeting broke the rules, and their actions were too radical. But we should focus more on why they did this.
There is widespread unhappiness among the students about Li’s appointment, the unfair composition of the council, and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who is the chancellor of all publicly funded tertiary institutions.
CY Leung is under fire from the public. He is particularly disliked by scholars and the young. Unfortunately, six members of the HKU council are directly appointed by him, and five of them are delegates to the National People’s Congress in Beijing. It looks like Leung wants to assign pro-Beijing politicians to the council and interfere in HKU’s academic freedom.
Moreover, he went ahead with Arthur Li ‘s appointment in the face of strong opposition from staff, students, and the general public.
Unless the council and government listen to what the students have to say, these kinds of confrontations are sure to continue. The authorities have to sit down and listen to the students in order to break the deadlock.
Sukie Chiu, Kowloon True Light School
From the editor
Thank you for your letter, Sukie.
One would think that after all the trouble – which does not seem to be getting better – that the Chief Executive would sit down to talk with representatives.
Alas, that has not happened. It seems that the issues will not just go away, either.
The by-elections at the end of the month will certainly be interesting to watch.