Sacked professor slams 'literary inquisition'
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A Baptist University professor hit back on Friday against the “literary inquisition” that led to his sacking over the controversial Blue Book of Hong Kong last week.
Professor Victor Sit Fung-shuen was fired on Tuesday because of an “inaccurate statement” that the book – which he co-authored – makes against Chinese University, and because he tried to shift the blame for its authorship onto subordinates. Those were the findings of a four-member panel set up to investigate the matter by Baptist University.
On Friday Sit said the panel’s conclusions were “absolutely unacceptable” and biased, and he was trying to have them overturned.
“The panel failed to objectively and comprehensively consider the information provided by me, and failed to give me an opportunity to defend myself,” said Sit, former director of the university’s Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies, in a statement.
The Blue Book of Hong Kong discusses changes in the city since the handover. In it Sit wrote that the introduction of liberal studies had “facilitated an invasion of universal values from the West into schools”.
“For example, the general education courses at Chinese University are sponsored by, and its teaching material written with the assistance of, a United States fund. Its teaching direction has in practice been directed by the fund,” he wrote.
Those statements prompted Chinese University to complain to Baptist University, which set up the four-member investigation panel to look into the matter.
In a strongly worded statement on Tuesday, the HKBU panel said Sit “wilfully intended to promote ill-conceived information as scholarship” in the book, and “attempted to shift the blame for the authorship and inclusion of the inaccurate statement to his subordinates”.
Sit’s comment in the book was inaccurate, and he was guilty of academic misconduct by allowing it to be published, the statement said.
On Friday Sit said the university’s decision to sack him for “negligence in one sentence” in the book “gives him the shivers”.
“I have written millions of words in the past forty years,” Sit said. “The bountiful result I have achieved in the past five years at the Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies is destroyed by a literary inquisition overnight. Is there any academic freedom?”