The head of a top Hong Kong university has said that its new mainland China campus will have complete autonomy, despite the fact that the cost of the new branch is being partially covered by the Guangzhou government.  The new Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) campus will also have a Communist Party secretary.

The facility – to be launched in conjunction with Guangzhou University – will be located near the Qingsheng high-speed rail station on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

Wei Shyy
Wei Shyy. Photo: HKUST.

The site will be double the size of the Hong Kong school in Clear Water Bay.

Wei Shyy, HKUST’s new president, said on Tuesday that the Guangzhou government will pay for the school’s construction costs, and part of the operational costs in the future: “In terms of educating and nurturing students, we have complete autonomy, and we have complete responsibility.”

Shyy said the financial model of the school will be similar to that in Hong Kong, as the local school was also funded by the University Grants Committee, which is tied to the government.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Photo: HKUST.

Asked by reporters if the branch will have a Communist Party secretary, Shyy said: “We must follow the laws, regulations and systems of the location where we run the school. If all mainland schools have a certain regulation, HKUST and other outside schools will have to do the same. There is no exceptional situation.”

“In terms of the academic system, both [Hong Kong and mainland] branches are run by the same principle. Our academic levels, appointment and promotion of professors, enrolment of students will be carried out globally,” Shyy added.

Qingsheng station
Qingsheng station. Photo: Google Maps.

The school is scheduled to be completed in three years and will mainly accept postgraduate students in fintech, biotech and big data, among other subjects.

The plan was to enrol around 1,000 students at first, before reaching a goal of up to 6,000 students.

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.