Three pro-Beijing and two opposition lawmakers have been elected to the University of Hong Kong’s advisory body. By convention, the five lawmakers will decide among themselves to nominate one member to sit on the HKU’s governing council.
The legislature’s House Committee elected five members to serve on the HKU Court on Friday. As there were only five contenders for the five seats available, all of them were elected.
The elected members are Regina Ip of the New People’s Party, Abraham Shek of the Business and Professionals Alliance, Horace Cheung of the DAB, Claudia Mo of the Civic Party, and education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen.
As the five will decide among themselves to nominate a member to the HKU Council by convention, it is likely that Shek, Cheung and Regina Ip, belonging to the pro-establishment camp, will not let either Mo or Ip Kin-yuen become a Council member.
Shek is the incumbent Council member. His term ends in November next year.
The HKU Court is an advisory body with the power to amend university statutes, while the Council is entitled to exercise all the powers of university, including managing its finances and account.
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. The HKU Council is also entitled to appoint six persons and elect two from outside the university.
HKU students, academic staff and alumni have been calling for a reform of the council membership structure, to increase the ratio of HKU members on the Council in order to protect academic autonomy.
The pro-Beijing camp also took all three seats of the Chinese University’s Court, contrary to the convention that two seats go to the pro-Beijing camp, and the third one to pan-democratic figures. The three elected members are: Tommy Cheung Yu-yan of the Liberal Party, Edward Lau Kwok-fan of the DAB, and Ho Kai-Ming of the Federation of Trade Unions.