Hong Kong Baptist University students lose appeal against punishment for role in rowdy Mandarin protests
Chinese medicine student Andrew Chan says he will consult a lawyer and pursue legal action against the school if possible
Hong Kong Baptist University has rejected an appeal by two students to overturn punishments meted out to them for their role in rowdy protests over a Mandarin language graduation requirement, and one youngster says he will pursue legal action against the school if possible.
Chinese medicine student Andrew Chan Lok-hang and environmental science student William Liu Wai-lim, both 22, were notified on Thursday that their appeal against a decision by a panel on student disciplinary cases was unsuccessful.
Instead, the university’s Student Affairs Committee told them the hearings had been “conducted fairly”.
Chan said he hoped the university’s senate – which is responsible for all academic matters and the welfare of students – would review the decision made by the committee. He would also consult a lawyer and see if he had any grounds for legal action.
In late March, Chan was suspended from classes for eight days, told to do 40 hours of community service and write an apology letter. Liu was also asked to write an apology letter and carry out 20 hours of community service.
A third student involved in the protests, former student union president Lau Tsz-kei, 20, was suspended for one semester. He did not appeal against the decision.
The trio were among a group who stormed the university’s language centre in January, where in an eight-hour stand-off with staff, they demanded management scrap the Mandarin requirement and called for greater transparency in an exemption test.
All local undergraduates at Baptist University, which has a student body of about 12,000, must pass a Mandarin module to graduate or take a proficiency test to bypass the course – an unpopular requirement that students have campaigned against for years.
On his Facebook page on Friday, Chan said he and Liu received a written rejection from the committee that said “the original hearings had been conducted fairly in light of the alleged violations and evidence presented”. They were told to submit their written apologies to the language centre within 10 working days.
“I would not apologise as I have already made my apology,” said Chan, adding he found the rejection of his appeal “unreasonable”.
Chan’s internship at a Guangzhou hospital was suspended in January after he received more than 100 death threats when the matter blew up. He said as the university could not make any new internship arrangements for him at this point, it effectively meant he did not have classes to attend until next year.
Chan later published a letter in simplified Chinese on his Facebook page, calling it a “statement of repentance”.
He said he would continue raising his concerns over the Mandarin requirement to the university.
In response to the Post, the university said it would not disclose details of student disciplinary cases out of respect for their privacy.