In a joint statement issued on September 15, the heads of 10 universities in Hong Kong strongly condemned the recent abuses of freedom of speech on campus, emphasizing that free expression is not an absolute right, and that their stance is in total opposition to separatism.
The 10 universities include the University of Hong Kong (HKU), Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), which was lately embroiled in a row over pro-independence posters and banners on its campus.
“We treasure freedom of expression, but we condemn its recent abuses. Freedom of expression is not absolute, and like all freedoms it comes with responsibilities,” the statement reads. “All universities undersigned agree that we do not support Hong Kong independence, which contravenes the Basic Law.”
According to the Hong Kong Free Press, in a Friday meeting, Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, president of CUHK, vowed to remove all materials advocating Hong Kong independence from the school’s message board, commonly known as the Democracy Wall, which is supposed to be managed by the student union autonomously. “Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of the university, but this is not to say that the exercise of this freedom should be boundless,” Sung said. “The Chinese University reiterates that the university is against the notion of Hong Kong independence.” There were no representatives from the student organization in attendance at the meeting.
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