China

Heads Of 10 Hong Kong Universities Issue Joint Statement Condemning Hong Kong Independence, Saying Freedom Of Expression ‘Is Not Absolute’

800px-main_building_of_the_university_of_hong_kong_and_clock_tower

Hong Kong University (image by Adon3465 via Wikimedia Commons)

On September 15 the heads of 10 Hong Kong universities issued a joint statement distancing themselves from students who have put up pro-Hong Kong independence banners on campuses.

The joint statements reads:

“We treasure freedom of expression, but we condemn its recent abuses. Freedom of expression is not absolute, and like all freedoms it comes with responsibilities. All universities undersigned agree that we do not support Hong Kong independence, which contravenes the Basic Law.”

The universities represented in the statement are:

City University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong Shue Yan University
Lingnan University
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Education University of Hong Kong
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Open University of Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong

Beijing vehemently opposes Hong Kong independence, considering it a ‘bottom line‘ that cannot be crossed.

Article 27 of the Basic Law stipulates that “Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press and of publication; freedom of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration.”

In August three activists, Alex Chow, Nathan Law, and Joshua Wong, were sentenced to prison for taking part in pro-democracy protests known as the Umbrella Revolution in 2014. Amnesty International described the sentence as “a vindictive attack on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.”

At the start of the new academic year students began to put up pro-independence banners on Hong Kong university campuses. State-run mainland Chinese media have slammed the students and urged the Hong Kong government to pass national security laws that would enable the authorities to prosecute individuals suspected of plotting acts of treason, secession, sedition and subversion against the central government in Beijing.



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