Professor defends speech that stung education minister The war of words between Lingnan University president and the education minister has escalated, with Edward Chen Kwan-yiu accusing Arthur Li Kwok-cheung of making groundless criticisms against him. The university president's latest attack came in a letter addressed to Professor Li, tipped to be a candidate for chief secretary in the next administration. Professor Chen sent a copy of the letter to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, with whom he has a good relationship. Professor Chen has also sent a copy of the letter to the organisers of a luncheon hosted on June 6 by University of Hong Kong's Arts Alumni Association, at which he criticised failures in government policies on land, technology and education. He blamed the absence of party politics for the government's short-sightedness in policy-making. The speech, which was reported in the press, provoked Professor Li to hit back in an article he wrote in the Hong Kong Economic Journal three days later. He said Professor Chen's comments at the lunch read like a political manifesto for the Civic Party and he hoped the professor would not mix politics with education. On Tuesday, Professor Chen retaliated with his letter, which he addressed to Professor Li. Professor Chen criticised the education minister for making 'startling', 'groundless' and 'very serious' accusations. Professor Chen said the minister, who was not present at the luncheon, should have had 'the least courtesy' to check with him the accuracy of the report about his June 6 speech to the association. He said the Civic Party had denied that he was a member or that he participated in its activities. He had not mixed politics with education, saying he had related only in general terms the nature of policy-making to political systems. Professor Chen said in his letter, seen by the South China Morning Post, that: 'I am writing to express to you my displeasure and disappointment at your imprudence in making open criticisms and accusation of me without finding the facts.'