The Baptist University-initiated publication whose findings provoked fierce criticism of Chinese University and led to calls for more mainland interference in local politics was sponsored by a Beijing-loyalist businessman, it was claimed yesterday.
A special publication issued by the editorial board of the Baptist University student union alleged that a HK$1.5 million donation, which helped to fund the publication of the Blue Book of Hong Kong: Annual Report on Development of Hong Kong (2012), was made by former National People's Congress Standing Committee member Tsang Hin-chi.
The editorial board also called for the university's Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies - of which the Blue Book's editor Professor Victor Sit Fung-shuen is the director - to "give a public account of the row".
It appears to mark the second time this year that Fung has caused a public outcry. In the summer, his China Model Handbook - which described the Communist Party of China as a selfless and united political entity - aroused fear among locals over the government's proposed national education courses.
Baptist University foundation's website reported that university vice-chancellor Professor Albert Chan Sun-chi invited Tsang for a meeting on that date, where Sit was also present, to thank him for the donation and "exchange views on the development of the university". A university spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.
A panel looking into the Blue Book's allegation that Chinese University's general education programmes were influenced by an unnamed US foundation - a claim for which Sit's institute has already apologised - is expected to be completed this month.
Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan said it was worrying whether the donation led to the book's biased content and whether such donations were acceptable. She also questioned why first-editions of the Blue Book were still available in shops.
The Baptist University Faculty and Staff Union demanded yesterday that the university formally apologise to the Chinese University, and that Sit step down.