[UPDATE: Friday, January 26 - 3.45pm]
The Hong Kong Baptist University Students' Union (Busu) held a demonstration today to protest against the suspension of Lau Tsz-kei, the union's president, and fellow student Andrew Chan Lok-hang. The suspensions came after a stand-off with staff at the university's Language Centre over the mandatory Mandarin module the school had introduced.
Student unions of The University of Hong Kong and City University of Hong Kong joined HKBU students at the demonstration.
The protest started with a series of student speakers - one compared the students' suspension to the persecution of Jesus Christ.
At the end of the demonstration, Baptist University's Provost, Professor Clayton MacKenzie, met with the students and receive their petition letter on behalf of the university.
"I will make sure it make sure it is heard by the president and others in senior management," said MacKenzie. "The matters will be looked at by the relevant disciplinary committee. The question of Putonghua will be considered very seriously."
Busu president Lau Tsz-kei explained to local media after the march that the petition letter asks for their suspensions to be lifted.
Chan said he and other students never assaulted any of the staff during the stand-off. He added that the staff who accused the students of assault made fun of the students even when they were seated quietly at the centre.
[Friday, January 26 - 1.50pm]
The Hong Kong Baptist University Students'
University authorities suspended Lau Tsz-kei, the union's president, and fellow student Andrew Chan Lok-hang, without any investigation or warning. Lau was filmed using foul language towards the staff of the university's Language Centre in a stand-off last week over a Mandarin test students have to take to graduate.
If students pass the test, they don't have to take a compulsory Mandarin module. They need to complete the module to graduate. Seventy per cent of students who took the test last year failed.
Students planned to march from the university's Jockey Club Courtyard to Shaw Tower at 2pm today.
Students from other universities – including University of Hong Kong and Chinese University – said they would join the rally to push HKBU president Roland Chin Tai-hong to lift the suspensions. Some university staff also criticised his decision.
Posters using foul language against Chin also apppeared on HKU and CUHK campuses on Wednesday, but they were taken down by Thursday evening.
At least five other students involved in the trouble with staff at the school’s Language Centre last week were called in for a disciplinary hearing.
About 30 students stormed the centre to demand that the Mandarin module be scrapped. They also want a clearer explanation of how the test is graded. Because so many students failed the test, they wanted to know whether the test was too difficult or the marking too harsh. Students were also unhappy they were forced to take the module at all.