“I agree that the Chief Executive should not take on the role [of chancellor], and should not appoint the chairman of the governing council because the university has its own autonomy,” former judge and chief executive contender Woo Kwok-hing has said on a radio programme on RTHK.

Woo Kwok-hing. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

The governing council system in Hong Kong has for years been criticised for being susceptible to political influence owing to the law which stipulates that the chief executive is the chancellor of ten universities and can appoint outside members to the councils.

“Why does it matter if the chief executive does not take on this role [as chancellor]? So what? What would Hong Kong people lose? Nothing,” Woo said.

Arthur Li, an appointed member of the university governing council, surrounded by students in a protest in July 2015. File Photo: HKU Undergrad via Facebook.

When asked whether the chief executive should be chancellor because universities are spending public funds, Woo said that “the chancellor’s role is not to oversee public funds.” Under the British system, having the chief executive as the chancellor simply meant that the school was prestigious, he added.

Woo, a retired judge, announced his candidacy for the 2017 Chief Executive elections on Thursday.

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Stanley Leung

Stanley is a Media and Communications graduate from Goldsmiths College in London. He takes particular interest in visual journalism, having produced photographic and video work on a number of social and political issues. He has also interned at the current affairs service of RTHK’s TV division.