When asked on Tuesday about reports that he had requested businesses not to donate to local universities, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying dismissed the allegations as rumours and asked everyone to look at the work he has personally done in terms of university donations.

Last week, both Now TV and Ming Pao reported 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.”

CY speaking to the media. Photo: news.gov.hk.

Speaking to the media prior to the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Leung said, “Over the past year, as we have mentioned earlier, I’ve attended at least three university donation ceremonies – later, someone reminded me that there were actually at least four occasions. The last was at City University of Hong Kong. These four donations were for three universities, namely the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and City University of Hong Kong.”

“In total, three hundred million dollars were donated to three different universities, and I could say they were all a result of my efforts. So apart from listening to and spreading these rumours, everyone can take a look at the actual work I’ve done.”

“The fact is, the press were present at one of the donations – it was at the City University of Hong Kong, and I urged everyone to continue donating to universities. The press were there that day because some members of the student union barged into the venue – if everyone had spent a bit of time looking through the archives, you should know this.”

“As for the other three donation ceremonies, even though the press were not invited, the universities had all posted notices in newspapers. All of this is clear.”

When asked about the controversy surrounding the appointment of Arthur Li Kwok-cheung as the Chairman of the University of Hong Kong Council, Leung said that it was an appointment based on talent, and that he believed Li will do his best in his new post and work together with the school towards its better development.”

On Sunday, thousands took part in a march organised by over 20 groups, including the HKU Alumni Concern Group and various student unions, protesting the appointment of Li as head of the university’s governing body. The following day, more than a dozen political groups formed by professionals issued a joint statement denouncing the appointment.

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.