Hong Kong has been used by the US to “mess with China”, and there will be no future for the city if it separates from or resists Beijing, Lingnan University President Leonard Cheng Kwok-hon has said.

At the spring media reception on Thursday, Cheng criticised youths that took part in last week’s unrest in Mong Kok, which was triggered by the clearing of the street hawkers. He said they had no right to destroy the core values of Hong Kong, and that he was “very shocked to see Hong Kong becoming like this”, Ming Pao reported.

Leonard Cheng at the spring media reception. Photo: Lingnan University via Stand News.

However, Cheng also said that there have been a series of social movements in recent years and that, if the government paid more attention to the voices of the people, it would have more support.

He said, with regards to rise of localism, that Hong Kong is a part of China and some people may not agree, but if the city resisted that fact or if it tried to separate from China, “there would be no future”. He asked whether Hong Kong wanted to force China to govern the city as it does with Xinjiang and Tibet.

‘Messing with China’

Cheng stressed the importance of the rule of the Communist Party, saying: “if the Communist Party fell, China would also be disintegrated”. He also said that the US is a hegemony and now that they see a challenger on the rise, they would “of course be thinking of ways to attack it… I don’t believe that the US has not used Hong Kong to mess with China”, Stand News reported.

Cheng discussed the referendum on amending the universities’ ordinances, saying that he would not take part himself, but would respect the views of the teaching staff. He said that the voter turnout would have to be “very high” for the referendum to be representative. However, the issue of the Chief Executive being the Chancellor of universities by default was not something Lingnan University could resolve, he said.

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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.