07/29/2020, 14.38
HONG KONG – CHINA
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Sacked by HKU, Benny Tai will challenge the university's chancellor, Carrie Lam

by Paul Wang

The Occupy Central leader will appeal, even if he considers it "a futile process". “There is clear evidence that a power beyond the university has overturned the decision of the university.” China's Liaison Office praised the university's decision for "upholding justice". Benny Tai will continue to work to defend the rule of law.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Benny Tai Yiu-ting, leader of Occupy Central and associate professor of law, was fired yesterday by Hong Kong University (HKU). This morning he said he will appeal the decision by the university’s governing council and challenge the chancellor of the university.

In her official capacity as Chief Executive, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is also the default chancellor of the publicly funded institution.

Ms Lam is often described by many as a "puppet" in the hands of Beijing. She backed an extradition bill, supported police violence against defenceless protesters, and welcomed the new security law.

On Facebook, Benny Tai explained: “Though I know this is a futile process, Carrie Lam cannot evade her responsibility [for] infringing [on] Hong Kong’s academic freedom… There is clear evidence that a power beyond the university has overturned the decision of the university.”

Tai, 56, was sentenced to 16 months in jail for his role as an Occupy Central leader, convicted of conspiracy to cause public disorder and incite public nuisance.

At present, he is out on bail pending his appeal.  A few weeks ago, HKU’s senate decided that Tai's "misconduct" did not warrant dismissal, but its governing council, led by Carrie Lam's adviser Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, decided to sack him.

Student groups and alumni have accused the university of "injustice" towards Benny Tai. Conversely, the Chinese Liaison Office with Hong Kong and Macau called the university's decision "upholding justice".

Benny Tai said he will not stop his research and work in support of the rule of law and has started an online patron scheme to sponsor his activity.

He also released information about his defence before the council during which he argued that the Occupy Central movement was peaceful in nature and there was no "abuse of power or exploitation" of his teaching position.

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