Closure of pro-secessionist HK-America Center shows US' failure: experts
Published: Aug 30, 2020 08:03 PM

Photo: Xinhua

The Hong Kong-America Center, a US-backed pro-secessionist organization founded in 1994, has announced its official closure, with six university presidents in Hong Kong withdrawing from the center's board of directors. The center has been frequently accused of political infiltration under the guise of academic exchanges, including its active participation in the illegal "Occupy Central" movement. 

With tensions escalating between China and the US over the years, the Hong Kong-America Center has gradually become a puppet under Washington's manipulation to stir up hatred between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, Wenweipo reported on Saturday. 

The organization was observed to have actively taken part in the 2014 "Occupy Central" movement by supporting riot leader Anson Chan Fang On-sang, and brainwashing college students through debate competitions and workshops. 

It also attempted to revise liberal studies courses and instill anti-China ideologies in classes by appointing "exchange scholars" to several universities in Hong Kong, Hong Kong-based newspaper Takungpao previously reported. 

Stretching its reach to younger targets, the center has influenced many Hong Kong youths through online games and school projects to join illegal protests and demonstrations in opposition to the proposed amendments of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance in 2019. 

"The Hong Kong-America Center aimed at penetrating Hong Kong's higher education institutions with separatist ideologies under the pretext of academic exchanges," Deputy-Director of the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers Nicholas Muk told the Global Times on Sunday. He noted that the center has been receiving funds from the US government publicly or privately. 

Takungpao reported in April that several US organizations including the Ford Foundation, the National Democratic Institute, Asia Foundation and other organizations under the US Congress, have been funding the center each, with total annual amounts exceeding HK$3 million ($387,000).

The report also revealed the underlying links with the US Consulate General in Hong Kong, explaining that after the center undertook liberal studies courses in eight universities, teaching staff were later appointed by the US Consulate General, in bid to introduce US values into education. 

Closing the Hong Kong-America Center could be seen as a failure of the US amid recent turbulence between the two countries, Nicholas Muk said. "More importantly, it can stop the US from messing around with Hong Kong's higher education, which had a negative influence on students."

The Chinese University of Hong Kong released a notice in May to clarify that its relations with the center involved only "renting some workplace in the university". The notice was updated on Saturday, stating that the center had ceased operations and moved off campus.