Another recording of a speech made by Council members of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) has been leaked on a popular Taiwanese internet forum. It follows the publication of three other leaked tapes from the controversial meeting and a court injunction granted to HKU to restrict their distribution.
The transcript and recording of Lo Chung-mau, Peter Wong King-keung and Martin Liao Cheung-kong was uploaded to PTT, one of the most popular forums in Taiwan, at around 8pm on Wednesday. The speeches were apparently made during the same September 29 meeting as the previously leaked tapes. During the meeting, liberal law scholar Johannes Chan Man-mun’s appointment to the pro-vice-chancellorship of the university was rejected.
The comments are in-keeping with what HKU Student Union president Billy Fung Jing-en previously revealed about the meeting.
In the recording, Peter Wong said that “whether or not we are appointing a person does not relate to academic freedom.”
He added that “we have been divided too much… I really think that there are controversies surrounding the candidate. So maybe it needs more cautious step to appoint a person in this post as soon as possible, but I will not support the nomination at this point.”
Martin Liao said that he had looked into the publications of Johannes Chan published over the past five years, saying that they were “Google searched four times and there was no citation.”
Lack of sympathy
While Lo Chung-mau said that Johannes Chan was a “good man,” he had reservations about Chan’s qualifications, saying that “for the last 15 years, he has produced less than five items output, including [impact] factor and article, put together, less than five a year.” Lo said that the number of publications was even less than an assistant professor.
Lo questioned Chan’s lack of doctoral degree: “he will be looking at staffing, looking at promotion, and if you are not a PhD yourself how can you supervise people?”
Lo added that he “didn’t see him [Johannes Chan] showing any sympathy” after he fell down clutching his knee when students charged into the meeting room at a Council meeting in July. Chan blamed the Council for the incident, Lo added.
“I’m not saying I need his sympathy. But as a staff, I really feel if you are PVC (staffing) and if a staff member had an injury during an event like this, should you just keep on saying it’s the Council’s fault? That means it’s my fault as well.”
“With that kind of incidents and the way that this candidate has expressed his opinion in public, would the search committee still consider that kind of person is suitable to handle academic staffing and resource? Because as a staff, I am seriously concerned, even though I know I am here not representing the staff.” Lo said.
Lo added that Chan was “putting his political intonation into the university” and was not impartial.
In response, HKU vice-chancellor Peter Mathieson said that Lo was taking things “very personally” and that the Council should keep things to factual discussion.
“There’s no requirement in the job description for the candidate to express sympathy otherwise on anybody who is injured.” he said.
The term of Martin Liao and Peter Wong as Council members have ended on November 6. Lo Chung-mau’s term ends in 2018.