Silent march sends loud message

AROUND 2,000 University of Hong Kong students, lecturers and alumni staged a silent march.

They were protesting HKU governing council’s (校務委員會) decision – by a 12-8 vote – not to appoint pro-democracy academic Johannes Chan Man-mun (陳文敏) as the next pro vice chancellor.

They called the council’s decision “ridiculous” and saw it as “political intervention”.

They fear the university will lose its academic freedom too.

The group, dressed in black, marched from Centennial Campus (百周年校園) to Sun Yat Sen Place (中山廣場) in Pok Fu Lam. They did not chant slogans or display banners during the 45-minute rally. Protesters urged council chairman Edward Leong Chehung (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 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 Sikying(何式凝).

Many well-known public figures, including Occupy Movement co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting (戴耀廷), HKU Public Opinion Programme head Robert Chung Ting-yiu (鍾庭耀) and former Democratic Party lawmaker Yeung Sum (楊森), joined the march. Some HKU council members, including Mechanical Engineering associate professor Cheung Kie-chung (張祺忠) and Students’ Union president Billy Fung Jing-en (馮敬恩) also joined.

(The Standard, 7 October, 2015)