Carrie Lam condemns HKU student union for attacker sympathy motion
Published: Jul 13, 2021 11:20 PM
HKU Photo: cnsphoto

HKU Photo: cnsphoto

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday condemned a student union motion that expressed condolences for a police attacker and urged the University of Hong Kong (HKU) to take action. 

HKU has announced that it is withdrawing recognition of the student union and will conduct a serious investigation into the matter.

The student union council received waves of criticism after it passed a motion to express condolences to the offender who carried out a vicious attack on a police officer before killing himself on July 1. The student union council even thanked the attacker "for his sacrifice." 

On Tuesday morning, Lam condemned the union council's inappropriate behavior. "I am very angry and ashamed of what they did," said Lam, who is also the chancellor of the university, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday morning. "It was infuriating for them to have expressed grief over a cold-blooded attack."

Although the student union council has apologized for the public mourning and said that the union council shall revoke the motion and the union executive committee shall resign, Lam insisted that action must be taken. 

"I think the university management should continue to take action. If police think there's room for follow-up, I agree the law enforcement agency should follow up," she said.

Lam is one of the many in Hong Kong who condemned the student union council's stance over the case. Organizations or individuals including the Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers, the Young Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Higher Education Convergence, the Police Force Council Staff Associations, the Hong Kong CPPCC Youth Association, and Legislative Council member Cheung Kwok-kwan and Priscilla Leung have all issued statements severely condemning the student union's actions.

Hours after Lam's comment, the HKU announced that it will no longer recognize its student union and it will solemnly conduct an investigation into the incident and take action against the students concerned. 

"The union council's resolution mourning the death of a man who stabbed a police officer is a serious misconduct that challenges society's moral standards, undermining the university's reputation," wrote the HKU in a statement on Tuesday afternoon. 

"Other than being able to participate in the University Council, the student union council does not possess any special status in the HKU," Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday. "It is just a service organization, and does not represent HKU or the majority of students."

Earlier in April, HKU severed ties with the student union after condemning its radical acts and remarks, adding that those actions brought legal risks to the university. 

"The student union used the campus as a platform for its political propaganda," said HKU. 

HKU's move breaks the aura of the organization, so that it can no longer carry out absurd and illegal actions using the shield, Tang said. "The student union is restored to an ordinary student body that is supposed to be law-abiding.

"After previous involvement in the black violence incident in Hong Kong's year of social turmoil in 2019, the public has a crisis of confidence in many universities, including HKU," Tang noted. 

"As things stand, HKU has started to rectify this aspect, a move that has regained the community's confidence in the university and its students."

Experts pointed out that after recent incidents that once again exposed hidden dangers in the city's education sector, HKU's move is hopefully the beginning of a complete detoxification in the field. 
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