Disciplinary action may be taken against a Peking University professor whose disparaging remarks against Hongkongers has triggered a cross-border war of words, the Ministry of Education says.
Kong Qingdong, who labelled Hongkongers as 'bastards' and 'running dogs of the British government' in an online talk show, had clearly breached the code of conduct for a professor through his erroneous comments, Education Minister Yuan Guiren said yesterday.
'We require [our teachers] to adhere to the notion that the mainland and Hong Kong are one family, and people from both sides should show respect towards each other,' Yuan said on the sidelines of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which opened yesterday.
Qingdong's tirade was a response to a video clip where a Hongkonger berated a group of mainland tourists for eating on an MTR train.
The dispute escalated after Hong Kong internet users raised more than HK$100,000 for a full-page advertisement in a Chinese-language newspaper last month against 'locust' mainlanders swarming the city.
Yuan said Kong's comments were very wrong, but he put the row down to a case of misunderstanding.
Asked why the ministry, which oversees Peking University and other schools, had largely remained silent until now, Yuan said his officials had been looking into the matter and needed to assess a number of issues before making a decision.
Lew Mon-hung, a CPPCC member from Hong Kong who is in Beijing for the meetings, has proposed the ministry and Peking University sanction the professor for misconduct. 'Kong's provocative speech has seriously ... damaged China's international image,' Lew said. 'He has not acted in a way that met the standards required of a professor.'
Additional reporting by Tanna Chong