- Our universities have long become places of Sinophobia and bigotry, to the applause of so many ‘right-thinking’ Hongkongers, and professors, too
Free speech and academic freedom are increasingly scarce commodities at our universities. But it's not what you think. The head of Chinese University, for example, has been forced by student activists to condemn "police brutality". Here's an idea, Professor Rocky Tuan Sung-chi. Why don't you tell your students to stop rioting and attacking police? That would for sure keep them safe and discourage police violence!
For student subversives, free speech only applies when you agree with them. Otherwise, you are less than human " or in their favourite words, "you have no conscience" " and therefore have fewer rights than "real" humans. Certainly, Mao's Red Guards were worse and more murderous during the Cultural Revolution. But given time, Hong Kong youngsters, especially those at university, are getting there, with their narrow-mindedness, dogmatism and fanaticism.
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An email was sent to me recently by a group of mainland university students in Hong Kong, who asked me not to identify their school for fear of reprisal. "At best, local students treat us as absent, 'not being there', out of sight, out of mind," it said. "At worst, we are treated with open hostility, and in a few terrible incidents, openly screamed at with obscene language while physically blocking our paths.
"Though Mandarin is an accepted language of academic discourse in our university, at least previously, locals would speak Cantonese very loudly to cover our voices in classrooms while lecturers are discouraged to speak Mandarin as if it is an illicit language unfit for discourse and discussion."
The letter asks why all students are required to pay student union fees when union leaders don't represent them. Worse, practically all such leaders are "localists", resentful of mainland students or hostile towards them. "We need not mention that virtually all student unions (at local universities) support some versions of separatism from our country," it said.
"Most of us already pay full tuition while having to subsidise those same unions working openly against our own country. This is both unfair and intolerable."
The letter ended by saying most mainland students don't want to speak up because: 1. many just want to study and graduate; 2. avoid physical confrontations; 3. protect their school's reputation by avoiding controversy in these sensitive times.
I am not surprised. Our universities have long become places of Sinophobia and bigotry, to the applause of so many "right-thinking" Hongkongers, and professors, too.
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