The proposed cabinet of the University of Hong Kong Student Union has sparked controversy owing to their pro-Beijing political stance.

The three-person team, called “Prism,” told a public consultation with students on Monday that they had no political affiliation. Prism is the only cabinet running for office at the union. Another candidate is running for a separate general secretary position.

From left: Proposed Vice-President (Internal) Shaun Cheung Shun-yat, Proposed President Andrew Cheng Chun-hei, Proposed University Affairs Secretary Kelly Li Yung-chun. Photo: Facebook/Prism.

The trio were interviewed by the university’s campus television show. Andrew Cheng Chun-hei, the proposed president, said in the interview published on Saturday that he believed in Hong Kong’s rule of law.

“About the disqualification of some lawmakers, we are willing to believe that the whole judicial process was fair, and that there is enough evidence to support the judgment,” Cheng said.

Cheng said that he believed debate on Hong Kong independence was permissible, but that independence itself was not the best option for Hong Kong at the moment. Other issues, such as student suicide, high property prices and the lack of technological innovation should be addressed first.

Asked whether they agreed with the government’s decision to ban the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, Cheng said it was a decision made under Hong Kong’s comprehensive judicial system” “We do not have many questions or opposition,” Cheng said.

Commenting on Beijing’s power to interpret the Basic Law, Cheng said the law could be modified and improved upon.

“It is the same for how National People’s Congress interprets the law. I believe the main point is that we hope that after laws are changed, they could receive support from more and more Hong Kong people, then we will believe that it is a good, new interpretation of the law,” Cheng said.

【專題訪問 Interview Feature】2019年度香港大學學生會周年大選中央幹事會候選内閣蒼傲訪問(內務篇)| Interview with Prism, candidate of Annual Election 2019 (Internal Affairs)

【專題訪問 Interview Feature】2019年度香港大學學生會周年大選中央幹事會候選内閣蒼傲訪問(內務篇) | Interview with Prism, the Proposed Cabinet of Executive Committee, The Hong Kong University Students’ Union of Annual Election 2019 (Internal Affairs)(Please scroll down for English version.)中央幹事會候選內閣蒼傲就內務議題接受本台訪問,就內閣理念、參選原因、及政綱如增設中央幹事會席位專注管理國際生事務等發/表意見。訪問節錄如下:1. 你們可否簡單自我介紹?鄭鎮熙(下稱鄭):大家好我是鄭鎮熙(候選會長), 來自理學院五年級。 今次參選學生會因為對學生會有一些意見、 一些改進空間、 自己一直以來都希望為學校和學校未來的發展而發出一些聲音。張信一(下稱張):Hi, so I am Shaun, studying Economics and Finance Year 3. The main reason why I have nominated myself to be the executive committee of the HKUSU is because, I have been a little bit unhappy with the way it has been running in the last few years I have been here. I want to see if I could make a difference.李鎔津(下稱李):我是李鎔津, 候選大學事務秘書, 現就讀文學士及法學士二年級,參選中央幹事會的原因與其他兩位一樣希望令港大變得更加好, 我們有意見想提出和改進。關於議題參與率低的問題,若果我們有很幸當選, 便會為各個議題製作簡介, 希望讓同學知道怎樣從議題入手,從而提高參與率。 第二個原因是希望學生會會作為橋樑與校方討論大學事務,大學事務與每一個同學息息相關, 於各種議題同學都會想提出意見。2. 你們可否解釋莊理念?鄭:我們內閣名字是蒼傲, 分開八個字便是「蒼茫大地,傲骨依然」,頭四字是我們認為今屆學生會選舉只有四個人出選,反映出港大學生投入讀書以外活動有很大的疑問。蒼汒大地、傲骨依然正正代表了學校現在的情況、社會現在的情況、甚至整體香港的未來其實都是一個大問號。至於「傲骨依然」四個字我們認為作為港大學生應有一份榮譽感,畢竟港大是最高學府,所以每一個在港大學習的學生都是十分有能力,所以傲字不單是自我的鼓勵,亦是向所有的學生說面對不如意或逆境時,都希望能有一份永不放棄、倔強的精神,去迎接當下的困難,因為我們相信困難過後必會雨過天晴,會看見彩虹,所以這也是我們選擇Prism為我們英文閣名的原因。張:What we think Prism represents is simple. We want to act like a prism, and we think everybody in HKU is like a light. We have a lot of potential in all of us and we want to use your light and turn the campus into a more vibrant environment for all of us. Hence, Prism, we think is pretty good symbol of what we intend to do. 3. 你們為何於重開提名期後才報名參選?鄭:我們在(12月)24、25日左右收到重開提名期的電郵,剛好我跟一大班的朋友舉行聖誕派對,期間我們就這問題(重開提名期)進行討論。剛好認識到Shaun和 Kelly,我們三人想法上十分接近,就是認為既然沒有人參選,我們或者可以試一試,所以最後參選今屆的學生會。4. 為何沒有人競逐外務副會長一職?鄭:其實我們希望將視線放在會務及校務上。當然我們並非將外務議題全面拋棄,只是我們認為就校內參選氣氛、學生關注的事情等,都是在提醒我們今年學生會認該將更多的時間放在內務常務的議題上。5. 你們於政綱提出「是時候做不同的事」,是什麼意思?張:The thing we want to do differently, is to provide a more positive atmosphere that I think is more reflective of the student body in HKU as a whole. Because, if you look around, a lot of the posters and and lot of notices put out by the Student(s’) Unions of the past have been predominantly negative, I think they are right to be upset about some of the issues, but I think it’s a bit overboarded and a bit dramatic, and it turns a lot of students off. So, we acknowledge that there are issues but we will face them in a positive manner.6. 近年學生會就社會時事(如DQ議員事件) 出聲明 ,若果來年當選會否出聲明?鄭:我們認為學生會代表了全學校的學生去發聲,所以學生會應該絕大部份的時候保持中立,因為它只是一個連接外界及學生的橋樑。7. 你們可否解釋就國際生議題上與往年學生會有何分別張:First thing is, we are going to consider opening a new seat in the executive committee that is dedicated to non-local students’ affairs. And of course we are going to have a series of activities that we hope to be more effective (in the issue of international students). For example, we are considering hosting a non-local orientation camp and some other cultural immersion activities, for example a mahjong class for non-local students, and also some cultural heritage tours. We hope to invite students of different nationalities to take part in it. Campus TV has interviewed with Prism, the Proposed Cabinet of Executive Committee, The Hong Kong University Students’ Union, Session 2019, with regards to their treatment of internal affairs. Prism has expressed their opinions on internal affairs, which include: the Cabinet’s mission statement, the reasons for running as candidate, and details on their platform such as increasing the seats in the Students’ Union, and focusing on international students’ affairs.The interview excerpts are as follows: 1. Could you please introduce yourselves?Andrew Cheng Chun Hei (Cheng): Hello, I am Andrew Cheng Chun Hei (Proposed President), from the Faculty of Science Year 5. I am running for the Students’ Union because I have some opinions about the Union, I think there is some room for improvement. All along, I have wished to voice my opinions regarding the school and the school’s future development.Shaun Cheung Shun Yat (Cheung): Hi, so I am Shaun, studying Economics and Finance Year 3. The main reason why I have nominated myself to be the executive committee of the HKUSU is because, I have been a little bit unhappy with the way it has been running in the last few years I have been here. I want to see if I could make a difference.Kelly Li Yung Chun (Li): I am Kelly Li Yung Chun, the Proposed University Affairs Secretary, I am a Year 2 pursuing the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. The reason why I am running as candidate in the Annual Election 2019 is in line with the other two candidates in a sense that I wish to see the University of Hong Kong become better; we have comments we wish to raise and matters we wish to improve on. The first reason (of running as candidate) is due to the (students’) low participation rate in (social) issues. If we have the honour to be elected, we will make an introduction for each issue or topic, so that students know how to understand these issues, thus increasing (their) participation rate. The second reason is (we) wish to act as a bridge between students and the school in discussing about university affairs. Since each and every student are related to university affairs, they would want to express their opinions on various issues.2. Could you explain your Proposed Cabinet’s vision/ mission statement?Cheng: Our (Proposed) Cabinet’s name is Prism, in a non-abbreviated form (of the Chinese name of the Cabinet), it means “in face of the boundless land, remain a lofty and unyielding character”. The former part of the phrase reflects how we view Annual Election 2019, it shows a problematic lack of extra-curriculars for the University’s students outside of academics. The whole phrase precisely represents the school’s current situation, the society’s current situation, even the whole of Hong Kong’s future, which is actually a huge question mark. The former part of the phrase means that the students of the University definitely has a sense of pride and honour, nevertheless it is the elitist of educational institutions, every student of the University must have superb abilities. Therefore, the words “lofty” and “unyielding” are not only a form of self-encouragement, they are to tell students to always have a persevering spirit in face of predicaments. Because we believe after tribulations, there is always rainbow after rain, which is why we chose “Prism” to be the English name of our Cabinet.Cheung: What we think Prism represents is simple. We want to act like a prism, and we think everybody in HKU is like a light. We have a lot of potential in all of us and we want to use your light and turn the campus into a more vibrant environment for all of us. Hence, Prism, we think is pretty good symbol of what we intend to do. 3. Why did you run as candidate only after the reopening of nomination?Cheng: We received the email about the Notice of Reopening Nomination (of Annual Election 2019) on around the 24th or 25th (of December). Coincidentally, me and a group of friends were having a Christmas celebration, during which we discussed about the matter (of reopening of nomination). Coincidentally, I met Shaun and Kelly, the three of us shared similar thoughts, that if nobody was running as candidate, perhaps we could give it a try, and so we nominated ourselves as the candidates.4. Why is nobody running for the position of the Vice-President (External)?Cheng: Actually, we wish to focus on affairs of student societies and organisations, and university affairs. That being said, we are not neglecting all of the external issues, we just believe that in view of the school’s participation atmosphere, and students’ awareness to issues, all of these (situations) are reminding us as the (Proposed) Students’ Union that we should spend more time in dealing with internal affairs and general affairs.5. In your platform you raised that “it is time to do something different”, what does that mean?Cheung: The thing we want to do differently, is to provide a more positive atmosphere that I think is more reflective of the student body in HKU as a whole. Because, if you look around, a lot of the posters and and lot of notices put out by the Student Unions of the past have been predominantly negative, I think they are right to be upset about some of the issues, but I think it’s a bit overboard and a bit dramatic, and it turns a lot of students off. So, we acknowledge that there are issues but we will face them in a positive manner.6. The Students’ Unions of recent years have always issued statements in response to social issues. If you are elected for the coming session, will you do the same? Cheng: We think that the Union represents and speaks on behalf of the whole of student community. Therefore, the Union should for the most part stay neutral on matters, because it is merely a tool that bridges the outside world and the students. 7. Can you explain what are the differences of your Proposed Cabinet compared to last year’s regarding the issue of international students?Cheung: First thing is, we are going to consider opening a new seat in the executive committee that is dedicated to non-local students’ affairs. And of course we are going to have a series of activities that we hope to be more effective (in the issue of international students). For example, we are considering hosting a non-local orientation camp and some other cultural immersion activities, for example a mahjong class for non-local students, and also some cultural heritage tours. We hope to invite students of different nationalities to take part in it. ___________________________________二零一九年度香港大學學生會周年大選其他候選人包括候選常務秘書麥嘉晉、校園電視候選內閣、學苑候選編輯委員會及候選普選評議員。2019年度周年大選中央諮詢大會將於一月二十一日至一月二十五日在中山廣場舉行,時間為下午十二時半至二時半。Other candidates for the Annual Election 2019 include the Proposed General Secretary Mak Ka Chun Eugene, the Proposed Cabinet of Campus TV, the Proposed Editorial Board of Undergrad, and the Proposed Popularly Elected Union Councillor.The Central Campaign for Annual Election 2019 will be held from the 21st to 25th of January at the Sun Yat-sen Place, from 12:30 to 14:30.

Posted by Campus TV, HKUSU 香港大學學生會校園電視 on Saturday, 19 January 2019

Asked to give their views on the Mong Kok clashes of 2016, Cheng claimed that many media outlets had reported that criminals and triad members had interfered in the incident.

“Therefore, were the protesters in the Mong Kok unrest truly residents who only wished to express their views?” he said.

Cheng said he would not comment too much on the looming national anthem law, or any potential national security law.

‘Equal consideration’ 

In a statement issued on Sunday night, the proposed cabinet said that when speaking on behalf of the student union, they should not propagate their own personal views, but rather those of the majority of students.

“We believe possessing a certain political stance should not be the criteria for – or be a reason to – preclude anyone from joining the HKUSU. Anyone who has the will the serve their fellow students should be given equal consideration, as are those who do not have a particular political stance,” it said.

“We must express our regret towards a vocal minority who may have misinterpreted our words and unfairly affiliated us with a particular party or movement.”

University of Hong Kong. File Photo: Stand News.

Althea Suen, a former president of the HKU Student Union, said the proposed cabinet were living in a “parallel universe.”

“We are not reading [pro-Beijing media] Speakout HK, these [comments] were said by the proposed cabinet,” she said. “I am angry and sad.”

Former lawmaker Nathan Law, one of the disqualified lawmakers, said students must defend the student union.

“This proposed cabinet will not question the decision to ban the Hong Kong National Party, it believes the disqualification of lawmakers is reasonable, it supports interpretations by the National People’s Congress, it has no stance over the national anthem law and the national security law. What is the difference between them and the pro-Beijing camp?” he said.

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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.