A University of Hong Kong associate professor and social activist has slammed Equal Opportunities Commission Chairman Alfred Chan Cheung-ming for using his position to “intimidate”. She said that following her criticism of Chan on her Facebook, Chan told her in a private email that he was acquainted with her supervisor.

In April, gender studies scholar Petula Ho Sik-ying made several posts on her Facebook account, pointing out his involvement in the Tarlac State University academic supervision scandal. She asked him to step down “to save sexual minorities in Hong Kong” amid criticism of his level of support for gay rights in Hong Kong. Ho said that she was not acquainted with Chan, although they had briefly met a forum at HKU.

petula ho
Petula Ho Sik-ying. Photo: Ho Sik Ying via Facebook.

According to Ho, Chan then sent her an email saying that as “colleagues in our own field”, he hoped she would listen to what he had to say. Ho said Chan then tried to explain the scandal, “but his answers were unconvincing”, she said.

Ho said that Chan told her he had been working closely with three of her department co-workers, as well as her supervisor. “I hope they [see] me from a different perspective,” Chan wrote. Ho questioned why Chan had to mention her supervisor’s name, expressing concern that the exchange may affect her career.

Alfred Chan Cheung-ming
Alfred Chan Cheung-ming. File Photo: TVB Screenshot via Stand News.

Ho asked whether she could publish Chan’s email, which was sent from an official account, but he refused on the basis that “third party” information was mentioned.


Ho said that the way Chan dealt with matters would terrify people who criticised him. “I expressed all my opinions publicly, so why did he not give a response openly, rather than doing it privately while mentioning names of people who yielded influence over me? I hope Chan understands that as the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, he cannot casually use his position to intimidate those below him.”

The Equal Opportunities Commission told Apple Daily late Tuesday that Chan emailed Ho to express some of his views and “there was no intention to threaten her at all”. It also said that Chan mentioned the names of Ho’s coworkers because he hoped that they knew him better and could hopefully ease her worries.

Karen cheung hong kong

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.