Former Hong Kong Bar Association chairman Paul Shieh Wing-tai slammed the University of Hong Kong Council for its decision to delay the appointment of a new pro vice chancellor.
Speaking before incoming students of the HKU College of Law on Monday, Shieh, an alumnus of the university, said the HKU Council must present valid reasons should it decide to reject the candidate recommended by the search committee, Ming Pao Daily reported.
The committee has recommended former law dean Johannes Chan Man-mun for the post, but the HKU Council said the deputy vice chancellor’s views should be taken before his deputy, the pro vice chancellor, is appointed.
Shieh said he did not find the reason satisfactory.
If the vice chancellor’s opinions were so important, why were they being sought after the search committee had made its recommendation, and not before, Shieh asked.
Shieh also criticized the students who stormed the HKU Council meeting earlier, saying that using violence to pursue their demands is a dangerous way of thinking, and that wrong actions can never be justified regardless of the intentions.
He said he would not be present at an HKU convocation meeting scheduled for Tuesday night to discuss the appointment. He added that he was not authorizing anyone to vote on his behalf.
Shieh said Hong Kong society is getting increasingly polarized. While some opinion leaders have criticized the HKU Council for delaying the appointment of a pro vice chancellor, they also unreservedly supported the students who stormed the HKU Council meeting due to political considerations.
He said it is regrettable that many people refuse to accept reality as they blindly stand by their views.
When asked if he has any words of advice for law students who aspire to become human rights lawyers in mainland China, Shieh said it is a risky business.
But he said there is still room for Hong Kong students to do something, such as supporting the human rights lawyers who were arrested on the mainland.
It will take a long while before changes happen in the mainland’s judicial system, he said.
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