HKU staff held a silent protest march to depend academic freedom

Originally published at on October 6, 2015.

More than 1,000 staff and students joined rank a silent march at The University of Hong Kong campus on 6th October, protesting against the threat to academic freedom from political interference. Began at 12:45 from the square outside Chi Wah Learning Commons, the march then ended half an hour later at Sun Yat-Sen Place.

The peaceful vigil, in which most staff and students wore black, was to protest against political interference with HKU campus affairs and accuse politicians of threatening their academic rights, caused by HKU Council’s decision that Prof. Johannes Chan would not be appointed as deputy head of HKU.

HKU Council claimed in late September that Prof. Johannes Chan had no PhD degree, which meant he could not be appointed as HKU executive. However, It was claimed that political interference — leading by Leung Chun Ying, the Chief Executive at HKSAR government, was behind the slocking of Chan’s appointment. Johannes Chan was believed to actively take part in the Occupy Central movement last year, which might enlarge the controversy.

Previously, HKU Student Union organized a series of meetings, press releases and protests against the decision. The march yesterday marked HKU professors and staff joined the event and encouraged students to voice their appeals. According to Prof. Timothy O’ Leary, the march leader and organizer, they would organize supporting discussions, meetings and presentations this week. So, stay turned for more later !

Here are some pictures of the whole march yesterday.

HKU Student Union president Billy Fung gave an interview to HK media.
Prof. Timothy O’ Leary, the chief leader and organizer of this march, made a public speech for academic freedom.
Prof. Timothy O’ Leary leading the march.
Marching ended at Sun Yat-sen Place
A number of HK media came to the march, dozens of HKU students also recorded the whole speech.
A citizen held a banner said “Tu Youyou also had no PhD degree.” Tu Youyou, a Chinese scientist without PhD, has just won a Nobel prize.
HKU Student Union president Billy Fung was surrounded by HK media and HKU students.
Billy Fung announced that more actions will be taken to struggle for HKU’s academic freedom and self-determination.

To watch the video about the event, please click the following links. I took videos of both the march and the speech, with my phone. Better watching them on phone.

The March video:

The Speech video:

For more details about this march and HKU staff’s interviews, you can read Ms Yijun Yin‘s blog

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