Chinese-language daily Ming Pao has affirmed an earlier report from Now TV that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying asked businesses not to donate to local universities—allegations that the Chief Executive Office has yet to directly address.

Citing a “reliable source” in the SAR government, the newspaper on Wednesday supported Now TV’s report that Leung had “on several closed-door occasions” urged potential donors to fund scientific research instead of tertiary institutions, which he allegedly said had abundant resources and “too many teaching staff.”

leung chun-ying
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: Stand News.

At these meetings, Leung is also said to have criticised the booing of the national anthem by Chinese University of Hong Kong students and the holding of a yellow umbrella by a graduating student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

Leung allegedly said that if businesses wished to donate money for education, they should give to secondary schools instead. Sources said that members of Leung’s audience were shocked at his remarks.

Responding to media inquiries, the Chief Executive’s Office said that Leung  encourages the community to sponsor learning at both secondary schools and universities, RTHK reported. Leung personally attended at least three university donation ceremonies this year, the statement added, and encouraged many to donate to universities at these events.

However, the Office did not address the question of whether Leung had in fact discouraged donations to local universities on other occasions.

The University of Hong Kong, Lingnan University and Hong Kong Polytechnic University told Ming Pao that they hoped the public would continue to support the development of universities. An HKU spokesperson added that government funding is insufficient to cover costs and that donations are equally important to the running of the university.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.