Suspended pro-democracy Macau professor to take legal action over 'discrimination'
University of Macau associate professor plans to file labour bureau complaint saying he was discriminated against for pro-democracy views
An associate professor of political science says he will lodge a complaint with Macau's labour authority claiming his employer, the University of Macau, discriminated against him based on his political beliefs.
The associate professor, Bill Chou Kwok-ping, said he had faced a disciplinary process, including attending inquiry sessions, since November for allegedly imposing his political views on students. He will also be suspended for 12 days without pay later this month.
Chou said he would complain to the Labour Affairs Bureau.
"I have also decided to take legal action, but I'll wait for the end of the judicial holidays" on August 31, he said.
Labour laws in the former Portuguese colony state that a worker should not be deprived of any right or discriminated against on the grounds of political or ideological beliefs.
The university would not comment on Chou's disciplinary case last month. It said it "will not start any disciplinary procedure against any member … because of his political views", but might do so upon a complaint.
Chou, an academic at the university for more than a decade, has become more politically active in the past two years, championing press freedom and universal suffrage in Macau while criticising government policies.
He was elected vice-president last month of the New Macau Association, the city's major pan-democratic group.
On June 11, he received notice of a 24-day suspension without pay. The first stage runs from August 20 to 31, Chou was informed by letter on Thursday.
He did not know whether his contract, due to expire on August 31, would be renewed. "I have no idea when the second [12-day] stage of duty suspension will start," Chou said.
The university usually indicates its intention to renew an employee's contract three months before it expires, its personnel statute says. It did not reply to inquiries yesterday as to Chou's employment status.
Academic freedom has become a sensitive issue in Macau.
Eric Sautede was sacked as a lecturer in politics by the University of Saint Joseph last month because of his intervention in local political debates, according to university rector Peter Stilwell.
It was the first time since the 1999 handover that a professor was fired openly for expressing political views.