Education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen has criticised Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for his handling of the controversy surrounding the appointment of the University of Hong Kong Council chairman.

In an open letter issued on Friday, Ip called on students, faculty and alumni to reject Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, who it is presumed will be appointed to lead HKU’s governing body by Leung soon. In a survey conducted by HKU’s Academic Staff Association earlier this year, 87 percent of staff said they did not think Li will bring benefits to HKU if he is appointed Council chief.

Lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen. Photo: Stand News.

“Source after source suggested Leung has made up his mind to appoint Arthur Li – who has a bad record, is disrespectful towards higher education institutions and has always been hostile to HKU – to be the Council chairman,” Ip wrote.

He added students and teachers have never stopped voicing out against Li’s appointment.

“Faced with waves after waves of opposition, Leung seems to have chosen to ignore them,” Ip said.

The HKU Council has been without a chairman since early November when former chief Leong Che-hung finished his term. Ip accused Leung, who is HKU’s chancellor, of delaying Li’s appointment for political considerations. The CE did not want to further anger the public by appointing Li before the district council elections because he was afraid this would have a negative impact on pro-government candidates’ campaigns, Ip said.

Arthur Li at a HKU Council meeting in July. File

Such calculations and a lack of transparency in decision-making has angered stake holders, the legislator wrote.

Ip, who is an HKU alumni himself, called on students and alumni to attend an extraordinary general meeting on Sunday to discuss the issue and vote on a non-binding motion against Li’s appointment.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.