As long as students take responsibility for their words, they are entitled to freely say what they want, Dr. Edward Leong Che-hung, chairman of the University of Hong Kong’s council, said.
HKU has always supported freedom of speech, he was quoted as saying by Ming Pao Daily in a report Monday.
Leong was commenting on articles in the Hong Kong University Students’ Union (HKUSU) magazine Undergrad that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying branded as promoting independence for the city.
Since Leung hit out at Undergrad in his policy address this month, Leong is the first senior official from HKU to speak out on the matter.
Meanwhile, the HKUSU passed a resolution Sunday night to hold a referendum from Feb. 9 to 13 to decide whether the student body should exit the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS).
A group of HKU students led by Wong Chun-kit said they want the HKUSU to leave the federation, as the HKFS failed to take the opportunity to step up the protests during the civil disobedience campaign late last year.
HKFS secretary general Alex Chow Wing-hong said some of the arguments from HKUSU members lobbying for the union to leave the federation are not valid, such as the idea that the HKUSU is no longer independent because of its HKFS affiliation.
Yvonne Leung, an HKFS committee member who also chairs the HKUSU, called upon her fellow students to cast their votes to make their opinions heard.
Under HKUSU regulations, at least 10 percent of the 15,000-strong HKUSU membership must vote in a referendum for it to be valid.
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