Chinese University received an unexpected apology yesterday from academics who were responsible for a contentious report on Hong Kong which called for the city's top civil servants to be appointed by Beijing.
The report claimed that Chinese University's liberal studies course was being "influenced" by an unnamed foundation in the United States.
The apology comes before an investigation is due to deliver its verdict on the disputed accuracy of the Blue Book of Hong Kong: Annual Report on Development of Hong Kong (2012), printed jointly by Peace Book publishers and the Social Sciences Academic Press, which is part of the Communist Party's Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The book's chief editor was Professor Victor Sit Fung-shuen, director of Baptist University's Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies. He is a former delegate to the National People's Congress.
A statement on the institute's website said: "We offer our deep apology with regard to the misunderstanding and serious consequences done to the Chinese University as a result of the editing negligence of our institute."
The claim that a US foundation was directing Chinese University's curriculum, added the statement, was incorrect and would be retracted. The Blue Book is still being examined by a panel of academics appointed by Baptist University.
The head of the university's court and council, Wilfred Wong Ying-wai, said the apology represented only the institute's stance, adding that the work of the investigation panel was to continue.
Executive councillor Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, a former education policymaker, has called the Blue Book "over-politicised".