My Take

Warning letter to Lingnan University's Dr Horace Chin Wan-kan was well-deserved

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 November, 2015, 1:56am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 November, 2015, 1:55am

If you hold a university job and pose as a scholar, you can automatically claim academic freedom against any and all criticism.

So Dr Horace Chin Wan-kan, spiritual father of independence-seeking localism and an assistant professor at Lingnan University, is hinting at political persecution after releasing a warning letter he received from the school's president, Professor Leonard Cheng Kwok-hon.

Cheng warned him in a letter dated back in March that he should watch his words and actions, otherwise he would have to bear the consequences. Sounds like a threat, doesn't it?

Chin is the author of several books on localism and Hong Kong being a city state, one of which is considered a bible of the nativist movement. He reportedly said Cheng's warning was targeting his city-state theory and pro-Hong Kong independence stance. He said he was also worried he might lose his job next year when his contract expires.

The letter did not specify what questionable behaviour Chin was guilty of. But back in March, people who followed campus politics would know what Cheng was referring to.

A university official yesterday confirmed that Cheng's letter was sent as a response to a message Chin posted in mid-March. Chin wrote that mainlanders in Hong Kong are like Nazis, but Hong Kong people must still be polite, otherwise they would be charged by police.

He wrote that Hong Kong women should let mainland men fondle their breasts and wash their private parts to provide better service. He also wrote Hong Kong men should keep quiet when being shouted at by mainland women, or risk being arrested.

Chin's "satirical" message caused many complaints from university staff, students and alumni. But of course, all that was back in March. Memories are short and now without the context, Chin is alleging persecution. His followers and pro-democracy diehards are rallying to his cause.

That was not the first time. In November last year, Chin posted a message making fun of Chinese University student activist Shek Pui-yin's breasts by referring to her "cup size". I don't know about you, but I think the warning letter was well-deserved, if not actually too lenient.

Calls to Chin's university office were not returned yesterday.