Silent march with loud message

AROUND 2,000 University of Hong Kong (香港大學) students, lecturers and alumni staged a silent march last Tuesday to protest against the governing council’s decision rejecting the selection of pro-democracy academic Johannes Chan Man-mun (陳文敏) as pro vice chancellor.

Wearing black attire or robes, the group marched from Centennial Campus (百周年校園) to Sun Yat Sen Place (中山廣 場) in Pok Fu Lam (薄扶林). They did not chant slogans or display banners during the 45-minute rally.

Protesters urged council chairman Edward Leong Che-hung (梁 智鴻) to lay out specific reasons for vetoing the search committee’s recommendation.

They also vowed to defend the university’s autonomy while saying they reject political intervention.

The council rejected Chan’s appointment by a 12-8 vote on 29 September.

The protest was initiated by law department head Lusina Ho Kam-shuen (何錦璇), politics and public administration professor Joseph Chan Cho-wai (陳祖為), humanities school head Timothy O’Leary and social work and social administration associate professor Petula Ho Sik-ying (何式凝).

Many well-known public figures including Occupy movement co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting (戴耀廷) and HKU Public Opinion Programme head Robert Chung Ting-yiu (鍾庭耀) joined the march, along with some HKU council members and students’ union president Billy Fung Jing-en (馮敬恩).

Ho said Chan is more than “a nice guy” as he was described by council member Arthur Li Kwok-cheung (李國章).

She added that if he was just a nice guy, he would not have been highly respected by colleagues.

An HKU spokeswoman said academic freedom and freedom of expression are core values of the university.

(The Standard, Mary Ann Benitez and Amy Nip, 7 October 2015)

Johannes Chan Man-mun

Law faculty defends rejected Chan