Campaign to oust me akin to Cultural Revolution: Occupy co-founder Benny Tai
His comment comes as legislator Junius Ho continues to press HKU to dismiss the law lecturer
The co-founder of Hong Kong’s 2014 Occupy movement, controversial law lecturer Benny Tai Yiu-ting, has likened a pro-establishment lawmaker’s campaign against him to the decade-long Cultural Revolution in China.
On Tuesday Tai, an academic from the University of Hong Kong, said in a Facebook post that he had never thought the 1966 revolution would happen in the city, yet it was “really taking place”, and he was “going to be a victim”.
Tai’s comments came as legislator Junius Ho Kwan-yiu stepped up pressure on the university to sack him for “lawbreaking under the name of civil disobedience”.
Ho, who had secured the support of over 80,000 people in an earlier online campaign to gather signatures, is organising a rally on Sunday to push for Tai’s dismissal. As many as 2,000 people are expected to join.
“How has Hong Kong degenerated into such a position?” Tai said in the post. “In the face of the looming Cultural Revolution, you may become the next victim if you do not voice your opposition now.”
The Cultural Revolution was a sociopolitical movement that took place in China from 1966 to 1976. Its goal was to purge capitalist elements in society. Throughout those violent and tumultuous years, millions of people were persecuted across the country.
Last week, Ho said he would write to the university and threatened to take legal action if his calls were ignored.
Earlier on Tuesday, Dr Cheung Kie-chung, a member of HKU’s top governing body, rejected Ho’s calls to sack Tai. Citing “institutional autonomy”, Cheung said: “Outsiders should not interfere with university affairs.”
“The university has due procedures to investigate violations by staff. It does not need to take action just because many people have signed something.”
“Ho’s demand does not seem to be legally based on the University of Hong Kong Ordinance and Statutes, but on reasons beyond the legal system of [Hong Kong],” he added.
Ho argued: “I was only asking the university to set up an inquiry into Tai’s conduct. Is it an intervention? Is any urge or appeal that one makes to the university deemed an intervention?”
Meanwhile, HKU’s Academic Staff Association on Tuesday complained to pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po for misrepresenting its stance on Hong Kong independence in an earlier report.
Association executive committee member Dr Roger Wong Hoi-fung said: “We have stated very clearly that we do not support lawbreaking and we do not support Hong Kong independence.”
According to the association, the newspaper had accused it of asking Ho not to “go after” those who supported independence. The report had also quoted several pro-Beijing figures who had hit out at the association.