Academic's talk on freedom cancelled after sharing Tiananmen image online

Professor Chow Po-chung was due to speak at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou on Thursday

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 May, 2014, 6:27pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 May, 2014, 7:01pm

A Hong Kong academic’s lecture on freedom and social justice, which he was due to give on Thursday at a Guangzhou university, has been cancelled a day after he shared a photograph of the 1989 student protests at Tiananmen Square on social media.

Professor Chow Po-chung, an associate professor at Chinese University’s department of government and public administration, announced on Facebook and Weibo last night that his lecture at Sun Yat-sen University, scheduled for Thursday at 7pm, had been cancelled.

“Since others are not talking, then let me spell it out. This is serious repression of academic freedom and freedom of thought,” Chow wrote on Weibo last night. The post has since been deleted.

Chow received an e-mail on Wednesday at 3pm from Sun Yat-sen University Youth, the student group who had organised the talk, informing him that the lecture had been cancelled. Chow did not reveal which individual or group cancelled the talk.

Chow had shared on social media on Wednesday a photo of a group of students staging a fast during the 1989 protests in Beijing. The photo has been deleted from Weibo, but remains on Chow’s Facebook page.

Chow told the Post on Thursday that he was “not in a position to talk to the media”, and refused to speculate on why the talk was cancelled. Chow has posted on Weibo that he will be online to discuss the topic of the cancelled talk at 7pm on Thursday night.

“Dear friends, even though I cannot be at Sun Yat-sen University today … the topics of freedom of thought and freedom to debate can still be discussed in a certain degree (hopefully),” Chow wrote today at about 2pm. He later posted a link on Facebook, inviting his followers to participate in the online discussion.