Hong Kong University Purge

Chan-WSJ

Pro-Beijing Forces Target a Top School’s Leaders to Intimidate Professors.

The new school term in Hong Kong is off to a bad start. A year after university students led mass protests for democracy, the government is taking revenge against pro-democracy voices in the academy.

The crackdown is especially harsh at elite Hong Kong University, where the governing council last week blocked the appointment of former law dean Johannes Chan to the senior post of pro-vice chancellor. Mr. Chan was the only candidate recommended by a search committee.

The problem is that Mr. Chan is a human-rights and constitutional lawyer with moderate pro-democracy views. He has done academic work with his HKU law colleague Benny Tai, founder of the group Occupy Central With Love and Peace, which helped start the street protests last year.

HK-rewrite

For months Mr. Chan faced a smear campaign, with hundreds of articles in pro-Beijing newspapers condemning his “meddling in politics.” Critics accused him of mishandling a donation to Mr. Tai, but the governing council cleared him of wrongdoing earlier this year. Nevertheless the council denied his appointment last week by a 12-8 vote.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Council deliberations are meant to be confidential, but leaks suggest Mr. Chan was supported by the council members drawn from HKU’s faculty. The decisive votes against came from external members, including politicians and business tycoons, of whom six are appointed by Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing Chief Executive and seven are members of government bodies such as the National People’s Congress.

“It’s obvious that the decision was a political one,” said pro-democracy legislator Ip Kin-yuen, leader of the HKU alumni association, which registered nearly 85% support for Mr. Chan at a recent meeting….(read more)

Source: WSJ



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