Professor fired over 'Blue Book of Hong Kong' hits back at Baptist University

Former head of Baptist University institute claims he is the victim of 'literary persecution' and is seeking advice to fight his dismissal

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 December, 2012, 3:29am

A Baptist University professor sacked for compiling the controversial Blue Book of Hong Kong claims he is a victim of "literary persecution" similar to that in ancient China.

Victor Sit Fung-shuen said he was given no chance to defend himself properly and was seeking professional advice.

He hopes to overturn the findings of the university panel that said he "wilfully intended to promote ill-conceived information as scholarship".

Sit was dismissed from the university's Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies, over which he presided. He said: "I personally think this is absolutely unacceptable.

""The achievements [of the institute] over the past five years were completely destroyed by an investigation that was in the manner of literary persecution."

Sit described the way he was reprimanded as being like someone jailed for scholarly work in imperial China. But his comments were quickly rejected by the university.

The contentious academic book slammed the "intrusion" of Western values into the city.

It stated that Chinese University's general education curriculum was dominated by United States influence, while English teachers employed from overseas could have taken root in the city, leading to social problems. The book, published in June in both English and Chinese, professed to report on Hong Kong's development in the 15 years since the handover.

It was funded by a Beijingloyalist businessman and co-published by a mainland organisation, the Social Sciences Academic Press.

As well as sacking Sit, Baptist University apologised to the Chinese University.

A Baptist University spokesman said: "Upholding academic integrity is a basic professional requirement for academics.

"HKBU respects academic freedom, but academic freedom cannot override academic conduct and the law."

The panel conducted the investigation "in accordance with the principles of fairness and due process", the spokesman said.

He added that Sit was given a chance to explain. All copies of the book are being recalled.