Academic Freedom in Hong Kong

Full show: (the story starts at 1 min 22 seconds)

“A critical part of being an academic is academic freedom, and academic freedom is not a generic freedom, it is a very specific kind of freedom to pursue open enquiry and to report on that truthfully. If we give that up, who are we?” – Peter Baehr, Research Professor in Social Theory, Lingnan University

“我覺得國安法通過咗之後,開學嘅嗰個討論氣氛,最唔同應該第一身係自己唔同咗。自己嘅腦已經諗好多:究竟係咪唔應該講得咁直接?係咪有啲問題應該避開唔問呢?” – A politics lecturer who wishes to stay anonymous

“Overseas academics, now that they had the opportunity to read the law are really worried because the definitions of things like “secession” and “collusion” with foreign forces are potentially very broad, unless the court reads them narrowly in order to comply with the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).” – Carole Petersen, Professor of Law, William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawaii at Manoa

This hasn’t been an easy year for academics in tertiary education as they’ve tried to adapt to the new normal, affected not only by the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for remote teaching but also by the introduction of the National Security Law. Article 4 of the National Security Law says it will respect and guarantee HK people’s human rights and freedoms under the Basic Law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In private conversations with The Pulse, more than two dozen academics working in tertiary education expressed concerns about the law’s impact on freedom of expression and the lack of guidance from the institutions in which they work. Several high-profile incidents this year particularly worry them.  

Archive link at RTHK (2020-12-18):

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