CUHK student union’s fate shows no room for campus troublemakers
Published: Oct 07, 2021 09:43 PM
The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Photo: VCG

The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Photo: VCG

The student union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) announced its disbandment on Thursday, becoming another opposition-leaning university student union to dissolve following a series of recent events which saw some local universities cut ties with their problematic student unions.

The latest development showed that there is increasingly no room for anti-government and troubling-making groups or organizations in the education sector to abuse academic freedom and use universities as their sanctuary to engage in illegal activities that endanger the national security in Hong Kong. 

In a statement published on the union's official Facebook page, it said that a joint meeting on September 10 had adopted a motion accepting the collective resignation of the student representatives of its council and to dissolve the union. 

The disbandment which put an end to the student union's 50-year history came eight months after CUHK cut ties with the student union, quoting the group's potentially unlawful statements and false allegations. 

In January, CUHK student union released an 80-page manifesto accusing the university, smearing the national security law for Hong Kong and trying to stop the university to incorporate the law into its manifesto. 

"The Student Union Executive Committee members have made false allegations against the University and exploited the campus for their political propaganda, which ran counter to the mission of CUHK and brought the University into disrepute," CUHK said in its statement in February, stressing that no event threatening national security can be allowed on campus. 

Earlier in July, the student union of another prestigious university in the city, Hong Kong University, was disowned by the university and evicted from the campus after its council openly mourned a police attacker. In August, the union's president and its council chairman were arrested on national security grounds. 

At least four universities in the city have severed ties with its student union in recent months after the Education Bureau urged universities to deal with the intrusion of political or other illegal activities into the campus, including City University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 

Experts pointed out that a series of recent events in Hong Kong's education sector reflect a change of course, including the dissolution of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union, the dissolution of relations between a number of universities and their student unions, and the strengthening of national security education in many secondary schools. 

"There has been a tradition of high respect for student autonomy in Hong Kong's universities, leading some students to abuse this tolerance and engage in suspected illegal activities for a long time," Tang Fei, a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times. 

And the recent series of events show that Hong Kong universities will no longer give sanctuary to potential law-breaking behaviors on campus in the name of academic freedom, Tang noted.