On the afternoon of January 21, the proposed cabinet of Hong Kong University Student Union (HKUSU), named Prism (proposed president Cheng Chun-hei; proposed vice-president Cheung Shun-yat; proposed university affairs secretary Li Yung-chun) attended a forum in Sun Yat-sen Place, HKU, as part of the annual central campaign for annual election of 2019 HKUSU. A group of 200 angry students questioned the trio for three hours amidst the chill wind, censuring them for “lacking practical experiences, stances and ideas”. “Extras are still actors. Brace yourselves!” the three were ridiculed. In relation to the trio, Campus TV, HKUSU, even specifically mentions on its facebook page Ayo Chan Yi-ngok, 2009 HKUSU President, who was subsequently impeached for bad-mouthing Tiananmen Square Massacre student leaders. On the other hand, the trio are endorsed by Speakout HK, a pro-Communist China net media. In fact, Cheng Chun-hei (BSC Yr 5) had worked in the Beijing National Development Bank Head Office and a mainland technology company as an intern. He is accused by netizens of being intimate with China-capital institutions. And a number of facebook comments on HKUSU Campus TV’s January 19 interview of the trio call the three undercover agents sent by the Communist Party of China to manipulate HKU students.
The trio’s responses, expressed in the forum above and in other interviews, regarding the heavy sentences passed on alleged participants in the 2016 Lunar New Year Mongkok Police-civilian clash, the banning of the pro-independence HK National Party, enactment of the National Anthem Law and Article 23 of the Basic Law, the disqualification of dissident- lawmakers and election candidates, Hongkonger’s right to self-determination and independence, Beijing’s power to interpret the Basic Law, how to deal with Arthur Li the unpopular head of the university’s governing council and narrow the barrier between non-local and local students, were either evasive or pro-Beijing or subservient to authorities or teary.
If the trio fail to get enough votes,
HKU will become the sixth of the city’s eight public universities with a vacuum in student leadership. In recent years, most HKU Student Unions tended to be sympathetic to HK independence. But no such candidates have emerged to stand for the student union election this year. The book, Hong Kong Nationalism, published by Undergrad. HKUSU in 2014, was strongly condemned by the then Chief Executive of HK, C.Y. Leung. Billy Fung Jing-en, 2015 HKUSU President, was nearly put in jail for protesting against the HKU governing council.
Mongkok Dissidents or Gangsters?
In the January 19 interview with Campus TV, when asked about the 2016 Mongkok Police-civilian clash, the trio alleged that gangsters had taken part in it according to many newspapers and questioned whether those protesters were just civilians simply expressing their views.
Contrastively, regarding former spokesman of The HK Indigenous, Edward Leung’s sentencing for “rioting” in the Mongkok case, Lord Chris Pattern, last Governor of Hong Kong, said, “We attempted to reform the Public Order Ordinance in the 1990s and made a number of changes because it was clear that the vague definitions in the legislation are open to abuse and do not conform with United Nations human rights standards….. that the legislation is now being used politically to place extreme sentences on the pan-democrats and other activists.” Fiona Bruce MP, the Chair of the UK Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, said: “Edward’s sentencing … is only one of many examples of the HK government using the law to intimidate the pro-democracy movement and curtail freedom of expression.”
No Comment on National Anthem Law
In the January 19 interview, when asked about their stance on the enactment of the National Anthem Ordinance and Article 23 (National Security Ordinance) of the Basic Law, they replied they would not comment on ordinances not yet enacted as there were a lot of controversies.
Disqualifications of Dissident Lawmakers Respected
When asked in yesterday’s conference about the HK authorities’ disqualification of democratically elected lawmakers and election candidates who advocated self-determination and independence, Cheng claimed that the majority of Hong Kong people supported the government’s decision concerned. And Cheung Shun-yat added that he respected that decision. In the aforementioned TV interview, the trio said the legal system of Hong Kong was so perfect that they would not question the banning of the pro-independence HK National Party and the disqualification of democratically election lawmakers.
Against HK Self-determination and Independence
When asked if the majority of HKU students support Hongkonger’s right to self-determination and object to the banning of the pro-independence HK National Party, what would the proposed cabinet do. Cheng said they would issue a statement. When asked about the contents of the statement, he said he has no idea. When asked to comment on HK independence, Cheung replied that personally he is proud of being Chinese and against HK independence. When asked about the cabinet’s stance, Cheung remarked that Hongkongers had better consider “the big picture”. “Because Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. It’s written in the Basic Law. To change that would be to abandon so many rights and privileges that we are enjoying as Hong Kong citizens,” he said. So much the more, according to Cheung, any referendum in that regard should take into account the will of all China people.
Basic Law Improved by Beijing’s Interpretations?
In the Jan. 19 interview, commenting on Beijing’s power to interpret the Basic Law, Cheng said the law could be modified and improved upon through The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress’s interpretation. In the Jan. 21 conference, when pressed about the same topic, Cheng, however, reviewed himself and remarked that he respected those laws already interpreted by Beijing could not changed but thought that there was no need for any further interpretation of the Basic Law by Beijing.
All Decisions by U Authorities Respected
In the Jan. 21 conference, when asked about their stance if the University fired Prof. Benny Tai for his involvement in the 2014 Umbrella Revolution, Cheng said that he respected all decisions made by the school authorities, adding later that respect does not equal endorsement.
No Concrete Plan
When pursued about what practicable actions the proposed cabinet would take to stop the unpopular Arthur Li from leading University of Hong Kong’s governing council, Li Yung-chun actually wept and sobbed for a couple of minutes. When asked about his concrete plan to bridge the barrier between international and local students, Cheung replied that he had no idea.
Reporter: Chapman Chen