A forum on protest methods to be hosted by Hong Kong Shue Yan University’s student union was allegedly banned by the school’s Office of Student Affairs (OSA) as it “may promote violent and illegal acts”.

The student union planned to host an academic forum entitled “Models and pathways of resistance – a debate between peaceful non-violence and valiant” at the university next Thursday.

Of the four invited guests, two were pro-independence, including Hong Kong Indigenous spokesperson Edward Leung Tin-kei and Hong Kong National Party convenor Chan Ho-tin.

Shue Yan University.
Shue Yan University. Photo: Shue Yan University.

Last week, the student union alleged on social media that the OSA told them it did not allow the forum to be hosted using such a title, in order to avoid any potential legal repercussions.

“The OSA said that ‘resistance’ and ‘valiant’ may involve illegal and violent acts, and the invited guests may use such a platform to ‘promote violent and illegal acts’, which the school does not approve of,” the student union said.

The student union added that the forum was approved when it changed the title to “A chat on ways to express views”.

The poster with the modified title of the forum, and the original title below it.
The poster with the modified title of the forum, and the original title below it. Photo: Facebook/HKSYUSU.

However, in a promotional poster on Facebook, the new title was accompanied with words in brackets – “title suggested by the OSA” – and the original title was kept as a sub-header below the new one.

On Thursday, the student union posted another update on social media, saying that “the school did not keep its promise after our earlier promotion on Facebook and took the venue back”.

“Freedom of speech and academic freedom should be respected,” the student union said.

It then moved the forum to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, in co-operation with its student union, using the original title.

HKFP has reached out to Hong Kong Shue Yan University for comment.

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.