A student who took part in protests over the Baptist University’s Mandarin test policy has been forced to return to Hong Kong from his internship in the mainland following threats.

Andrew Chan Lok-hang, a fifth-year student of Chinese medicine, was set to intern at the Guangdong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine for a year. Chan was also the convener of the group Societas Linguistica Hongkongensis, which promotes using Cantonese instead of Mandarin as a medium to teach Chinese.

Chan said he saw threatening messages online: “Some said they will cut me open,” he said. He was escorted back to Hong Kong on Tuesday night by a Baptist University teacher after someone called the hospital claiming he will be beaten up.

Andrew Chan Lok-hang
Andrew Chan Lok-hang. Photo: Screenshot.

The Baptist University students must either pass the newly-introduced exemption test or enrol in a Mandarin course in order to graduate. Students have long been campaigning against the language proficiency requirement, and the latest results showed that 70 per cent of those who sat the test failed.

Chan participated in an eight-hour protest at the university’s Language Centre last week against the test policy, before he left for Guangzhou two days ago. After the protest was widely reported, his internship was reported by Global Times and mainland website Guancha. The Guangzhou hospital then received several complaints against him by telephone.

Global Times claimed Chan had planned pro-Hong Kong independence actions, but Chan denied joining any pro-independence groups or hosting any such events.

‘White terror’

Chan said on a RTHK radio programme on Wednesday that he left in a hurry and in fear. He said he participated in a local school-based affair, but it was raised to the national level.

“This is a kind of white terror, it is a lot of pressure,” he said. But he said he would not change his demands concerning the test.

At last week’s protest, students called for the marking guidelines and the appeal mechanism to be made public. A video clip showed Student Union President Lau Tsz-kei uttering profanities while speaking with staff members, sparking controversy.

The university said it would consider reviewing the test.

baptist university mandarin test row
Standoff between students and university staff. Photo: BUSU, via Facebook.

Chan was deemed a “comrade of Joshua Wong” and a “Baptist University anti-Mandarin thug” on China’s popular Tianya forum.

The attacks continued on his personal Facebook page on Wednesday, after he returned to Hong Kong.

Chan said he could continue his internship in Hong Kong.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

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.