Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying joined more than 3,000 students, faculty members and alumni of Chinese University at a banquet last night marking the institution's golden jubilee.
But his presence as university chancellor at the 50th anniversary dinner in the Convention and Exhibition Centre was not welcomed by students.
As Leung entered the Wan Chai venue, seven student representatives held up placards, chanting slogans like "we want true universal suffrage". About 50 other students on the invitation list boycotted the event, standing silently outside the venue as Leung addressed the banquet.
"In its golden jubilee year, Chinese University can look back on a proud history and be assured of its leading role in creating our city's future," said Leung.
But his words were not well received by some student representatives, who stood up and left the banquet hall as the chief executive gave his speech.
"Chinese University students don't welcome Leung," said student union president Eason Chung Yiu-wa. "He was elected by a small-circle election. The votes our student union gets are way more than his 689 votes."
The students had a petition letter for Leung, but he did not take the letter from them as he left the banquet hall after his speech.
Despite the student boycott, guests at the dinner were still able to share in the joy of celebrating the 50th birthday of the city's second oldest university.
"Looking ahead to the next 50 years and beyond, Chinese University will continue to embrace our culture, to be the beacon of knowledge, the melting pot of cultures and the conscience of our society," said university vice chancellor professor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu.
Set up in October 1963, the Sha Tin institution grew from its three colleges with just 1,395 undergraduates and about 100 academics and staff into a full-grown university with nine colleges and some 29,000 students and over 6,000 staff members.