Hong Kong petition against bill reducing seats on top university council receives 1500 signatures News
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Hong Kong petition against bill reducing seats on top university council receives 1500 signatures

The Hong Kong Free Press reported Saturday that at least 1,500 people have signed a petition opposing a bill that would restructure the Council of the Chinese University of Hong Kong by reducing the number of seats and increasing the proportion of Hong Kong Legislative Council members on the university council.

The bill at issue intends to downsize the university council from 54 members to 33, with the number of alumni seats reduced from 3 to 1. However, the Legislative Council would still have 3 representatives on the university council after the proposed amendment, which remains unchanged from the current number. This would change the ratio of external members in the council. Currently, the university council has 28 external members and 27 internal ones.

The bill was proposed by Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, Bill Tang Ka-piu and Edward Lau Kwok-fan, the three current lawmaker members of the Council.

The petition was initiated by current council members Kelvin Yeung Yu-ming, Enders Lam Wai-hung and Heung Shu-fai on July 20 through an advertisement in the newspaper Ming Pao, calling for participation from university staff and alumni. According to Kelvin Yeung’s social media account, more than 1,300 people have signed the petition as of July 27. Signatories include Deputy Head of the Chief Executive’s Policy Unit and Chinese Univeristy alumnus Nicholas Kwan Ka-ming, Vice President and University Secretary of the Chinese University Eric S.P. Ng, former Vice President of the Chinese University Fok Tai-Fai, President of Lingnan University and Chinese Univeristy alumnus Leonard Cheng, and COVID advisor to the Hong Kong Government and Chinese University professor David Hui. However, Nicholas Kwan withdrew his signature on Thursday.

The bill’s opponents have expressed concerns about the bill’s potential impacts on the University’s autonomy, academic freedom, and procedural justice. The petition therefore recommended that the seats for the Legislative Council and alumni both be reduced to 2. Both the Bill Committee and the university council will hold meetings in the coming week to further discuss the matter.