China’s National Judges College has revealed that some of the judges who studied at the City University of Hong Kong formed provisional Communist Party branches and had a meeting at the school last month.

This is according to a report published in pro-Beijing newspaper Sing Tao Daily on Tuesday which cited information publicly accessible on the website of the National Judges College, a Beijing-based institution.

Communist Party branch meeting at the City University of Hong Kong on October 20, 2018. Photo: Chinese Judicial Training Network/Apple Daily.

According to the college’s website, party branches were formed by the 5th and 6th Doctor of Juridical Science Programme for Chinese Senior Judges, and the 9th Master of Laws Programme for Chinese Judges. Communist Party rules state that all units with more than three party members must establish a branch.

A branch meeting was held on October 20 at City University, with 39 party members and 11 non-party members. Huang Wenjun, president and party secretary of the National Judges College, attended the meeting and gave a lecture.

Huang told attendees that judges must take a “clear-cut stance” on politics, increase their political sensitivity, follow political discipline and rules, and that they should fight against “incorrect words and deeds.”

The National Judges College has since removed the related piece of news from its website, though this information is still accessible via search engines.

Opening ceremony 

The three programmes for judges had their opening ceremony on October 19. It was attended by Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng, City University President Way Kuo, and China Liaison Office Department of Law Deputy Director General Liu Chunhua.

Opening ceremony of programmes for Chinese judges at City University of Hong Kong on October 19. Photo: CityU.

Director-General of the Department of Treaty and Law of the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong Zhou Lulu and Vice President of the Law Society of Hong Kong Chan Chak-ming also attended.

At the opening ceremony, Huang said: “So far, the City University of Hong Kong has trained more than 700 Chinese judges. More importantly, she has established a new mode of cooperation in legal education between Hong Kong and the mainland, making great contributions to China’s legal construction.”

16 Chinese judges participated in a 13-day programme in Hong Kong in October 2018. Photo: National Judges College/Apple Daily.

A spokesperson for the City University said it maintains political neutrality and that no activities involving politics should be held inside campuses.

But the spokesperson said the school will not monitor teaching and meetings when City University students use the school’s facilities, and it will not conduct prior reviews of student activities.


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.