Mocking ‘confession’ posted at Hong Kong Baptist University in wake of compulsory Mandarin test row
Student protester takes aim at university management, claiming requirement for students to pass a Mandarin test is a bid to please mainland authorities
A student involved in a rowdy anti-Mandarin learning protest at Hong Kong Baptist University’s language centre early this year has posted a “confession” on campus to offer a mocking apology to the Communist Party, the nation, the people, and the university for not respecting the language.
With an apparently ironic and scornful tone, William Liu Wai-lim mocked the university’s policy on Mandarin proficiency as a bid to please the mainland authorities.
The drama came after the university management rejected his appeal to overturn the punishment given to him for his role in the January protest, where he and other students besieged the language centre office in protest against the university’s requirement for all students to take a Mandarin course or pass a proficiency test.
Liu is a fourth year student taking environmental science.
Written in simplified Chinese characters – which is used on the mainland but not common in Hong Kong – Liu’s “confession” was addressed to the “leading cadres of various levels at the language centre” and was put on the university’s “democracy wall” on Monday.
On top of the “confession” was a banner, also written in simplified Chinese characters, that read: “Surrendering to the party, the nation, the people, and the language centre. My Confession.”
Liu said: “I was asked to write an apology letter and so I did it. I was not trying to play tricks but only wanted to write the confession in a way I think that is easier for the university management and language centre people to understand and read.”
Liu revealed that it had taken him some two to three days to learn the mainland usage of Chinese to write up the confession.
He said the university had not approached him after he put up the confession. “I can’t care less about what they would do next, I have done my part and … I have written an apology letter.”
In a post on Monday on his Facebook page, Liu said he wanted to express “remorse” to “the entire party, the people of all ethnic groups, and the leading cadres in the language centre”.
The post was also written in simplified Chinese characters.
Liu added he would “repent for the mistakes he had done” and said he would learn “the series of speeches by general secretary Xi Jinping” and would adopt “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” to “remould” his thoughts.
The 19th national congress of the Communist Party approved an amendment to the party constitution which enshrines “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era”, making it a “guide for action”.
A spokesman for the university said it was not prepared to comment.
Last week, the university rejected an appeal by Liu and Chinese medicine student Andrew Chan Lok-hang, both 22, to overturn punishments to them for their role in the protests in January.
In late March, Chan was suspended from classes for eight days, and 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 the decision.