Lingnan University responds after students stage Junius Ho protest
University releases statement saying comments on social affairs should be ‘peaceful’ after group of 20 students staged an ‘occupy’ campaign at the campus
Comments on social affairs should be “peaceful, rational and respectful”, Lingnan University said on Tuesday after students stepped up their protests against a governing council member who said independence advocates should be “killed mercilessly”.
The university said the comments from Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, who is also a pro-establishment lawmaker, were unrelated to Lingnan and they would not comment on council members’ remarks made in their personal capacity.
“But we hope anyone commenting on social affairs could keep a peaceful, rational and respectful attitude,” the university’s statement read, adding that the management respected students’ right to express their views, as long as they did not affect others.
The statement was made after a group of 20 students staged an “occupy” campaign by camping at one of the squares on the campus on Tuesday, with some vowing to stay overnight to demand that the university management and Ho attend their forum on Friday.
“Kick out Ho Kwan-yiu. Safeguard Lingnan,” the students chanted.
The protesters covered three of the university’s emblems at the campus with black cloths and hung black banners bearing words blaming the management for staying silent on the matter and mocking Ho as a “bigwigs’ puppet”.
All the cloths and banners were later removed after management explained that they were hung without approval.
Chen Pui-hing, a Lingnan University fifth year student and a former student union committee member, initiated the protest under the name of a new organisation “Lingsulate”.
The same group of students last week gathered more than 800 signatures from students and alumni opposing Ho and held a protest on Wednesday.
Chen said they escalated their action because they were disappointed that the management had not openly responded to them or condemned Ho’s remarks.
Junius Ho called for pro-independence activists to be killed without mercy last month at a public rally demanding the sacking of academic Benny Tai Yiu-ting from the University of Hong Kong, a co-founder of the occupy protests in 2014.
After Ho challenged people to report him to the police amid mounting criticism, former pan-democrat lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai filed the report to the force and accused Ho of breaching the Public Order Ordinance with his intimidating words.
The police chief said the case would be investigated “fairly” on September 22 and four days later , Ho backed down and admitted in a TV interview that his remarks were a wrong choice of words.
“Ho is absolutely not suitable to be a member of any university’s council, as he lacks the needed morality and respect for others,” Chen said.
Chen warned of their actions may escalate further if their demands were not met and they have reached out to other universities’ students groups for support.
Ho told the Post on Tuesday that he could not attend the students’ forum because he had meetings at the Legislative Council on Friday when lawmakers will discuss a motion to censure him over his controversial remarks.
He wrote on his Facebook on Monday night that said he welcomed any dialogue with the students under the principle of mutual respect.