HK Magazine Archive

HKU, CUHK New Student Presidents Back Hong Kong's Independence

Union leaders Ernie Chow Shue-fung and Althea Suen Hiu-nam support localism. 

PUBLISHED : Monday, 22 February, 2016, 1:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 4:57pm

The new student union presidents of two prominent Hong Kong universities have come out in swinging support of the city's independence from mainland China. 

Ernie Chow Shue-fung, the newly-elected president of the Student Union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said yesterday that his win symbolizes a victory for the city's localists. The Student Union of CUHK has a taken a more pro-welfare stance on social issues in the past few years, and Chow now aims to focus on an agenda that favors self-sufficiency.

In an interview with Apple Daily, he said, “The traditional left-wing force is no longer suitable [for CUHK] and reform is the big trend.” On Hong Kong's independence, Chow said, “If that’s what Hong Kong people hope for, it’s decided by Hong Kong people and it is beneficial to Hong Kong people, then [the Student Union] has no reason to oppose it on the basis of democracy.”

Chow’s union's cabinet, called Spark, won the election yesterday with 60 percent of the total votes, beating rival Illuminant by more than 800 votes.

Meanwhile, the University of Hong Kong Students’ Union president, Althea Suen Hiu-nam, who assumed office last week, said during an interview with Commercial Radio on February 19 that she will defend the university's institutional independence and academic freedom.

“I personally think that Hong Kong's independence is a feasible way out [of the current tension] and therefore I support it,” she said. She added that her own stance on the city's independence will not turn the union into freedom movement.  

Suen is a third-year student studying social work. She took part in the Occupy movement and the two blockades of the HKU Council. She said that while she does not support violence, she would not condemn local activists.

Read More: HKU and #BlockadeSassoon​

“I think it’s unnecessary to burn down taxis and break things, but I understand, so, I would not condemn them. What good comes from condemnation? We are both fighting for the same thing,” said Suen in an interview with