22 September 2019
Cheng Chung-tai (left) has called on the PolyU Council to confirm if Kaizer Lau is orchestrating his ouster from the university. Photos: HKEJ
Cheng Chung-tai (left) has called on the PolyU Council to confirm if Kaizer Lau is orchestrating his ouster from the university. Photos: HKEJ

CY Leung ally said to be urging localist PolyU academic’s ouster

A member of the governing council of Hong Kong Polytechnic University is said to be calling for ouster of a teaching fellow because of his active involvement in the localist group Civic Passion.

Kaizer Lau Ping-cheung, a well-known supporter of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, has reportedly exerted pressure on fellow members of the PolyU Council for the non-renewal of the employment contract of Dr. Cheng Chung-tai of the university’s Department of Applied Social Sciences, Apple Daily reports.

After learning of such moves against him, Cheng called on the PolyU Council to clarify if Lau indeed exerted pressure for his ouster, the newspaper said.

Cheng said he could feel pressure when his contract was up for renewal last year. Lau was appointed to the PolyU Council in April 2014.

In March last year, a pro-government group staged a protest on the campus calling for Cheng’s dismissal after he took part in protests against parallel good traders from mainland China.

At a Council meeting the following month, Lau reportedly attacked Cheng and showed other members a stack of documents showing Cheng’s comments on Civic Times, a news website run by Civic Passion, and his Facebook account.

Lau is also said to have shared his article published on Wen Wei Po hitting out on Cheng, asking fellow Council members to assess if Cheng should retain his teaching position at the university.

Lau’s call was supported by Council members who are identified with the pro-establishment camp.

However, other members insisted that the university should adhere to its existing mechanisms on job appraisal.

Lau reportedly repeated his requests for Cheng’s ouster every few months at Council meetings, the most recent one being in late March, but the university has not taken any action so far.

Cheng said PolyU’s teaching staff have their employment contracts renewed every two to three years, while contract negotiations usually take place in April ever year.

Last year, Cheng was able to have his employment contract renewed, but two to three months later than expected.

When asked by reporters, Lau refused to say if he had requested the Council to review Cheng’s employment, but noted that the Council could ask any questions and urge the university’s management to act on matters.

Lau said the issues discussed in Council meetings should remain confidential, according to its rules.

He said even if he had made such a request it would not have contravened academic freedom, as it involved a university teacher’s personal conduct.

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