Former education minister Arthur Li has been appointed chairman of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) governing council.
The widely expected appointment was announced by the government on its website early Thursday morning.
It came several hours before the announcement was to be officially gazetted after a hacker leaked the information late Wednesday, Ming Pao Daily reports.
Li, an incumbent council member, succeeds Edward Leong, who stepped down on Oct. 30. Li begins a three-year term on Friday.
Education Secretary Eddie Ng said in a statement that Li is a veteran academic with extensive teaching and management experience.
Li pledged to uphold the traditions of HKU and expressed hope his experience will “help elevate the university further”.
Critics were quick to respond.
Council member Joseph Chan said he is disappointed by the decision, calling it “incomprehensible”.
Another council member, Timothy E. O’Leary, said Leung Chun-ying’s decision to appoint Li shows the system is defective.
He said the council should underake a full-scale review of its structure and operations.
The Academic Staff Association accused the government of bringing politics to HKU through Li and said his appointment will further galvanize students, staff and alumni in opposition in an unprecedented way.
The group is planning “countermeasures” to prevent Li from doing whatever he pleases.
These will be announced Thursday afternoon, it said.
– Contact us at [email protected]