The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has agreed to set up a committee to discuss whether Hong Kong’s chief executive should be the university’s chancellor by default. On Monday, student protesters attempted to barge into a university government council meeting causing injuries to security guards during the skirmish.

Prior to the meeting, the university’s student union (CUSU) submitted a letter to the council, demanding it set up a select committee to discuss whether the university should abandon the controversial policy.

Chow Shue-fung
Chow Shue-fung. Photo: Facebook.

The council agreed to let CUSU President Chow Shue-fung and CUHK Senate member Hung Hou-ming attend the meeting, after a group of students attempted to barge into the meeting room to voice their demands.

After the meeting, Chow said the council had agreed to set up a preparation committee to hold seminars for students and faculties to express their views on the matter. The committee would then submit a report to the council, which would pass it on to the government for further review.

Chow said that the meeting result was acceptable but he was “not entirely satisfied” with it. Hung said that he thought a preparation committee was different from a select committee in that it held fewer seminars.

cuhk protester
Protesters outside the meeting room.

Violent scenes

CUHK released a statement on Monday night confirming that at least one security guard suffered a head injury and bleeding during the scuffles, and was sent to hospital. The university expressed regret regarding the protesters’ action and condemned the acts of violence.

Chow said that the protesters had planned to enter the meeting room, though did not have ill intentions. The CUSU president also said that he called upon non-CUHK members to arrive at the event as the issue concerned “the whole of academia and Hong Kong.”

CUHK council
Photo: i-cable screenshot.

Other people present at the scene included Civic Passion member Alvin Cheng Kam-mun, University of Hong Kong Student Union President Althea Suen Hiu-nam and Lingnan University Student Union President Cheng Pui-lun, among others.

Controversies regarding the chief executive’s dual role as chancellor for Hong Kong’s universities have been raised in the past. Proponents argued that such a position allows the government to interfere with the academic autonomy of tertiary institutes.

Gene Lin is a Journalism and Computer Science student at The University of Hong Kong. He worked as a reporter for the 'LIVE: Verified Updates' during the Occupy Central protests. He is also an editor at HKU's first English-language student paper, The Lion Post.