Alumni of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) voted once again on Sunday overwhelmingly against the possible appointment of pro-Beijing hardliner Arthur Li Kwok-cheung to the chairmanship of the school’s governing Council.

In another extraordinary general meeting of the HKU Convocation – comprising 165,450 members – following the one in September, alumni voted on several motions regarding the controversial rejection of liberal law scholar Johannes Chan Man-mun’s appointment to HKU’s pro-vice-chancellorship and the Council’s still vacant chairmanship.

At the HKU campus on Sunday, 4,454 alumni voted on five non-binding motions, of which 97.8 percent or 4,356 identified Li as not suitable to be the Chairman of the Council, “as he does not have the trust, confidence and respect of the academic and non-academic staff, students and alumni of the University of Hong Kong.”

Arthur Li.
Arthur Li. File Photo: Stand News.

Education lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen, who is also the convenor of the HKU Alumni Concern Group, told Apple Daily that the high support for the motions clearly showed the opinions of the alumni.

He added that if Li was appointed, the Alumni Concern Group would launch actions in protest, and would support possible class boycotts.

Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang and Commercial Radio chief adviser Stephen Chan Chi-wan both said Li was not suitable to be the chairman. Anson Chan told the newspaper that “I believe no one is more controversial than Arthur Li.”

Anson Chan
Photo: HKFP.

Li has been widely rumoured as the successor to former Council chairman Edward Leong Che-hung, whose term ended on November 6.

The government has yet to appoint the next Council chairman, after an unprecedented month of vacancy.

Recently, there has been two leaked recordings of Arthur Li at Council meetings.

In a tape supposedly made at the August 25 meeting, he spoke of legal action against students who in July charged into Council meeting room in protest; At the September 29 meeting in which Johannes Chan’s appointment was rejected, he questioned Chan’s lack of a doctoral degree, and thus his ability to serve as pro-vice-chancellor.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.