Thursday, July 9, 2015

Academic Freedom in Hongkong

Activists in Hong Kong are speaking out about perceived interference by the Chinese government in local academic institutions. Only two or three will be allowed to contest the election.

Democracy activists have called the restrictive framework a betrayal of Beijing's promise to award Hong Kong universal suffrage by 2017 and say the nominating committee would ensure a sympathetic slate of candidates and exclude dissidents.

 More than 500 people signed a petition that ran on 30 March in the Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao. Signatories expressed growing concerns about political influence on the appointments of university administrators and on choices of teaching materials.

Beijing in June issued its first white paper stipulating how Hong Kong should be governed in what was widely interpreted as a warning to the city not to overstep the boundaries of its autonomy.

It included an assertion that judges should be patriotic and safeguard national security and sovereignty, a sentiment which has angered many in the city’s legal community.

“Any threat to judicial independence has to be headed off at the pass,” Neuberger said, noting that British judges had spoken out when politicians tried to meddle.

“But judicial independence is not inconsistent with judicial patriotism.
Activists have accused the Chinese government of cracking down on educational institutions following student-led prodemocracy protests in Hong Kong that lasted for 79 days in 2014.
Hong Kong activists launched their fightback Monday against Beijing's landmark decision to limit voting reforms, heckling a senior Chinese official in angry scenes after hopes for full democracy were crushed.
Li Fei, a member of the top committee of China's rubber-stamp parliament, was forced to speak over the cries of pro-democracy lawmakers and protesters during a meeting with local officials in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
Brief scuffles erupted outside the venue as police used pepper spray to stop protesters from storming the hall, where Li told delegates that China will not tolerate a local leader who is disloyal to the mainland.

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