A British university has withdrawn Hong Kong pro-Beijing legislator Junius Ho’s honorary degree citing concerning conduct since he was awarded the distinction.

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge granted Ho an Honorary Doctor of Laws in 2011 owing to his lengthy legal career and political work. He previously obtained a Bachelor of Law degree from the university in 1984.

Junius Ho. Photo: LegCo.

The polarising pro-Beijing lawmaker has come under fire after he was filmed praising a group of white-clad men outside Yuen Long MTR station on the night of a mob attack against civilians nearby. At least 45 people were injured on July 21 when rod-wielding assailants, dressed in white, launched a violent assault on those passing through the station. At least eleven have been arrested in connection with the incident, with some confirmed to have triad backgrounds.

Ho has also been accused of making a death threat against pro-democracy lawmaker Eddie Chu and using sexist language against pan-democrats convenor Claudia Mo.

‘Caused increasing concern’

British magazine The Spectator reported on Monday that Anglia Ruskin University had decided to revoke Ho’s honorary degree citing concern over his conduct.

“ARU’s honorands must be positive role models to our students, alumni and staff, and to the communities we serve. Mr Ho’s conduct since he was honoured has caused increasing concern. Following an investigation, the university has withdrawn Mr Ho’s honorary degree,” the university was quoted as saying in a statement.

Anglia Ruskin had previously praised Ho as a respected within the international law community and an “outstanding ambassador” for the university in Hong Kong.

“Junius advocates strongly to safeguard of the indigenous and constitutional rights of the New Territories people under the purview of Basic Law. While fighting for democratic movement, he is a staunch supporter for upholding of the rule of law. He stands firm against the ‘Occupy Central’ campaign and disavows civil disobedience by setting up the Protect Central Campaign,” it wrote.

Junius Ho’s honorary degree holder profile on Anglia Ruskin University’s website. The page has since been removed. Photo: Screenshot.

Ho’s profile has since been removed from the Anglia Ruskin website.

The university has been under pressure to revoke Ho’s academic honour. David Alton, a member of the House of Lords, wrote to the university on Saturday urging it to distance itself from its alumnus and condemning Ho as an extremist.

“[A] line is crossed when someone who enjoys academic privileges and honours – a living person – is involved in direct acts of oppression – especially when the victims are overwhelmingly young people, many of them university students,” Alton wrote. “In every respect it is hard to see what such disgraceful attitudes and use of language brings to the Academy.”

A representative from Anglia Ruskin University was not immediately available for comment.

HKFP has reached out to Ho for comment.

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Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.