Microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung on Friday announced his resignation as staff representative of the Hong Kong University Council.
Yuen said he had received “no relevant political training” and thus he regarded himself as “incompetent as a council member in finding the way to lead the University of Hong Kong out”.
He said he would devote himself to the research of fungal bacteria instead.
He stressed that he was not resigning because of the raging controversy over the delay in the appointment of Johannes Chan as the university’s pro-vice chancellor amid allegations that the government was meddling in the case to shut out the former law dean because of his political views.
On Tuesday night, a meeting of the HKU Council was disrupted after students and alumni members broke into the room to protest the delay in the appointment.
Yuen said he was not dispirited, nor was he leaving his post to please anyone or give in to any influential people.
In the past 100 years, Hong Kong had been very successful in merging seemingly contradictory values and cultures of the East and West, he said.
However, he said, Hong Kong and HKU seemed to have failed to continue doing so in the past three years and under the “one country, two systems” principle.
Yuen said he was not suggesting that the “one country, two systems” was to blame, but that “after so many years under the ‘one country, two systems’, somehow we [Hong Kong] suddenly failed to find a way out”.
As a former council member, Yuen said he respects all decisions made together.
Regarding the incident on Tuesday night, he said he would not want to see anybody swearing, throwing things or resorting violence.
He added that it was too early to conclude that the misconduct was done by HKU students.
Andrew Fung Ho-keung, an HKU convocation member, said council members hold different views regarding the decision to delay the appointment of the pro-vice chancellor, and he worries that the university will be torn apart because of the issue.
Fung said he is also concerned that the HKU would be regarded as a “hot kitchen” where no one is willing to join the senior management team.
He said he regretted that non-HKU people were protesting outside the council meeting.
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