21 September 2019
HKU alumni (inset) line up Sunday to vote on key issues related to the university's top governing body. Photo: HKEJ
HKU alumni (inset) line up Sunday to vote on key issues related to the university's top governing body. Photo: HKEJ

HKU alumni vote against Arthur Li candidacy for top council post

University of Hong Kong (HKU) alumni gathered in their thousands at the campus on Sunday and voted on several motions, including the issue of a new chairman for the university’s governing body.

The alumni, in an overwhelming vote, gave a thumbs down to HKU Council member Arthur Li, saying that he is “not suitable” to head the university body as he does not enjoy the trust and confidence of the students and staff.

In the second extraordinary general meeting of the HKU Convocation since Sept. 1, five motions were proposed before each was passed by a ratio of more than 90 percent, although the turnout was lower compared to that in the previous meeting, Ming Pao Daily reported.

On a motion regarding Li’s suitability for the HKU Council chairman post, 97 percent of the attending alumni who cast their votes expressed opposition to the controversial council member.

Li has been widely seen as the most likely successor to Edward Leong Che-hung, who stepped down as council chairman on Oct. 30.

The government is yet to make an announcement on Leong’s successor.

Li’s credibility has been dented severely after he was heard in a leaked recording last month making uncharitable remarks about former law dean Johannes Chan Man-mun at a September council meeting.

During that meeting, pro-establishment members rejected the appointment Chan as pro-vice chancellor even though the law professor had been recommended for the post by a search committee.

During the vote Sunday, most alumni expressed their disappointment at the council’s decision regarding Chan.

Lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, convener of the alumni group, said he believes the delay by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who is the HKU chancellor, in naming a new chairman for the university governing body is because Leung is aware of the strong reservations about Li.

While Ip did not reveal the possible action that could be taken if Li is appointed, he said it is entirely possible to see class boycotts by HKU students and teachers.

The alumni group might engage in discussions with students and teachers before deciding on its own actions, he said.

Benny Tai, an associate professor of law at HKU and one of the co-founders of the Occupy Central movement, said at the meeting Sunday that the actions of Leung and Li are prompting HKU alumni to unite as never before.

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