CHINA / SOCIETY
HKU student union apologizes for 'lone-wolf' attacker praise
Published: Jul 09, 2021 09:53 PM
The University of Hong Kong Photo: hku.hk

The University of Hong Kong Photo: hku.hk



After receiving waves of criticism, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) student union council apologized on Friday for "inappropriate content in a motion of condolences" passed to the offender who carried out a vicious attack on a police officer, and said it shall revoke the motion.

Observers said that the unconscionable motion only "lived" for less than 48 hours after receiving criticism from society in Hong Kong, which showed that after the enactment of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, normal voices can be spoken and heard in Hong Kong to drive away radical and irrational ones with the society regaining room to correct mistakes. 

"The Union, as a servant to HKU students, does not promote unlawful behavior. The Union acknowledges the severity of the event, and would remain cautious about its responsibility to students, to the University and to society," according to a picture of the apology letter posted by Hong Kong media. 

The student union council also said in the letter that the "Union Council shall revoke the motion. The Union Executive Committee share resign immediately." The apology was made in a conference held early Friday morning. 

The student union received waves of criticism after it expressed condolences on Wednesday to the offender who carried out a vicious attack on a police officer before killing himself on July 1, and even said it was "grateful for his sacrifice." 

Just hours after the student union council's open expression of mourning to the attacker, university authorities strongly condemned the action, which glorified violent attacks in the name of the student union council. Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, chairman of the Council of the HKU, was cited by Hong Kong media as saying that the motion was immoral and "unacceptable" and the university had contacted the national security department to investigate whether the student union council had violated the national security law. 

More student organizations in the HKU as well as social organizations also stood out to criticize the student union council. Hong Kong media also joined them, saying that no country would tolerate any behavior that indulges terrorism. In 2015, a man in the US was sentenced to 20 years in prison for "mourning" Osama bin Laden.

Students in the council seemed to realize the mistakes they had made and by late evening on Thursday, the union council's Facebook account and website were suspended. Around 1:00 am, members of the student union council held a press conference and apologized. 

In recent years, the HKU's student union council seems to have gone astray further and become more radical. The national security law is a deterrent to extreme and radical behaviors and to political forces that may coax or force others. But the law is not the only reason that the HKU student union council made the apology swiftly - it was criticized by various voices from inside the union and from society, Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan studies at Nankai University in Tianjin, told the Global Times.

The incident happened at a crucial point when Hong Kong is turning from previous turmoil to peace and stability. Aside from problems unveiling from the motion, we now see Hong Kong society is regaining its chance to correct some mistakes, Li said, noting that it also showed that when the normal voice of the majority people can be heard in Hong Kong, radical ones would be driven out.

Analysts also noted that this is the beginning of the change, more problems underneath, especially hidden dangers in Hong Kong's education sector exposed in this incident, along with the recent national security case involving students, are to be solved. 


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