Lingnan University has appointed Leonard Chen – an advisor to the Chief Executive C Y Leung’s election campaign – as its new president.
That’s despite strong opposition from its students’ union.
The students’ union says it does not rule out organizing a class boycott when the new term starts at Lingnan in September, to show its unhappiness at being denied a role in the selection of the university’s new president.
Vivian Yip, the head of the students’ union, says she has no faith in Mr Chen.
For his part, Mr Chen denied allegations that he was cherry-picked by the chief executive to head the school.
He also vowed to stand firm in future to fight for academic freedom.
The economics professor, who formerly taught at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said the first thing he’ll do when he takes office is to communicate with the students.
Despite a sit-in protest by Open University students, pro-Beijing scholar Wong Yuk-shan was appointed to be the fifth president on Thursday morning.
The university council chairman made the announcement during a meeting where six students staged a demonstration to protest against what they called an opaque selection process in which they had little say.
While Wong has publicly denied being an underground Communist Party member, he is a deputy to the National People’s Congress, which puts his claim in doubt.
“Reopen consultation; postpone the election of the new president; amend OUHK’s outdated policies; add student representatives to the election committee.”
The Apple Daily published a full-page advertisement today condemning the mainlandization of Hong Kong’s Universities:
【English Version of Our Announcement】
Did the Hong Kong SAR Government solicit HongKongers’ opinions before giving our jobs and universities places to Mainland Chinese?
Nearly 70% of subsidised research students are from Mainland China!
In the past ten years, subsidised bachelor degree programmes recorded 806% growth of Mainland Chinese students versus only 15% growth of locals
These Mainland Chinese students (including those from self-financed taught Master programme) can stay in Hong Kong for one year without any precondition. Afterwards, they might stay continuously in Hong Kong as long as they have a job offer or start their own business. The cumulative number of stay-behind Mainland Chinese graduates from 2008 to 2012 is 21,049.
We deplore the Mainlandisation of Hong Kong universities that deprive Hongkoners’ right to education and job prospects.
Educating Hong-kongers must remain the primary goal of government-funded universities! We thus hereby demand:
1) To reduce and cap the percentage of Mainland Chinese students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
2) To tighten the conditions for allowing Mainland-Chinese graduates to work in Hong Kong.
3) To increase the number of subsidized degree programmes for local students.
4) To enhance the opportunities and academic training for local talents at research level; to encourage Hong Kong Studies as an academic field.
5) To review the self-financed taught Master programmes as well as their admission policies.
6) To consider whether the percentage of Mainland-Chinese academics is excessively high among the overall population of academic staff.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, nearly all non-local students are from the mainland, that is, over 90% of our “international” student population comes from just 16% of the world population. Now we have a figure showing that these Chinese students are even taking over our universities from the locals and have become the majority in postgraduate positions, like a young cuckoo bird squeezing other species’ baby birds out of its nest. (Cuckoo birds lay their eggs in other birds’ nests, to the detriment of the host species’ offspring. This is called brood parasitism.) Also, in another earlier post, I quoted an Apple Daily editorial commenting on the use of Hong Kong’s universities for PLA research as a possible reason for CUHK becoming a US hacking target.