Arrest fears blamed as Hong Kong student elections uncontested

Hotbed of student protest may struggle in future because of lack of interest in committee roles

January 17, 2018
The University of Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong

The University of Hong Kong’s students’ union may soon be leaderless after not a single candidate applied for election to its board.

Nominations to run the union – which played a key role in the 2014 street protests over changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system – were reopened earlier this month when no one applied for any of the 14 posts on its central committee, the Hong Kong Free Press  reported.

However, the second call for student leaders also ended with no applications, it added.

The lack of interest in running the union has been blamed on the treatment of several former student activists who were jailed for unlawful assembly during the so-called Umbrella Revolution in 2014. The union has previously been led by Yvonne Leung, a leader during the Umbrella Movement, and Billy Fung, whose jail sentences over protests against university council governance were later commuted to community service.

Wong Ching-tak, the current union president, said that the union’s role in social movements and the threat of arrest had put off many applicants, stating that “not everyone is willing to stand at the front”.

The recent Department of Justice appeal to lengthen the sentences of Northeast New Territories and Umbrella Movement protesters had deterred students from joining social movements and becoming involved in student affairs, he added.

Mr Wong will remain president in a temporary capacity until April, when a by-election is set to be held.

jack.grove@timeshighereducation.com

Please login or register to read this article

Register to continue

Get a month's unlimited access to THE content online. Just register and complete your career summary.

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments