China

Chinese University Of Hong Kong Issues Disciplinary Warning To Ex Student Union Leader Who Insulted Mainland Chinese Students

Hk-independent-banners-appear-in-cuhk (3)

Hong Kong independence banner on the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (VOA Cantonese / Wikimedia Commons)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has issued a disciplinary warning to ex student union leader Ernie Chow Shue-fung (周豎峰) for his use of derogatory language directed at mainland Chinese students during the independence banner controversy this September.

The incident occurred on September 10, when Ernie Chow tried to prevent mainland Chinese students from tearing down banners advocating Hong Kong independence. Videos of the row show that Chow called them “Shi-na men”, a derogatory term in Chinese.

“Go back to China, you Chinese, Shi-na men,” Chow shouted at the mainlanders, who surrounded him and responded: “Get out of China.”

On his Facebook page Chow defended himself, saying that the edited videos of the incident that surfaced online only showed him using foul language, but omitted the mainland students’ attempts at intimidating him.

“[A]t that time a dozen Chinese surrounded me, scolding me to ‘get out of China,’ ‘take your British passport’ and ‘Hong Kong is China.’ One even said: ‘I’ll take a video, what’s your name, and I’ll make sure you are not able to enter the mainland any more.’ That is intimidation,” Chow wrote.

Most Hong Kong universities have adopted a hard-line stance on the issue of Hong Kong independence. On September 15 the heads of 10 of the city’s major universities released a joint statement condemning Hong Kong independence and stating that “freedom of expression is not absolute.”

According to a report by Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao, today (October 27) the Assembly of Fellows of the New Asia College issued a disciplinary warning to Ernie Chow for his alleged misconduct. The New Asia College (新亞書院), where Chow studies, is part of the CUHK.

The Assembly, after investigating the incident, decided to abstain from handing down a more severe punishment. A spokesperson for the New Asia College declined to comment on the specific case, but stated that the purpose of disciplinary measures is to “help and educate students who have violated rules or behaved improperly to take responsibility for their actions, and to help them correct their behaviour.”

According to the regulations of the College, students who violate the institution’s rules or misbehave can be punished through disciplinary warnings, temporary partial or total suspension of their rights and privileges, a demerit (three demerits lead to expulsion from the school), or outright expulsion from the school in the most serious cases.

Jonathan Ho Kai-ming (何啟明), a pro-Beijing member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo) and a LegCo-appointed member of the Council of the CUHK, criticized the College’s punishment as too mild, stating that it sends “the wrong message to society” and that it will lead other students to the conclusion that “insulting others is not a serious misbehaviour.”

Ernie Chow will not appeal the sentence, Ta Kung Pao reports.



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