One postgraduate student at the University of Hong Kong has reported at least two faculty members to a national security department hotline, according to an American magazine.
In an internal meeting at last month, staffers asked HKU management whether the university would provide legal assistance if they were arrested for allegedly violating the national security law while working.
The Atlantic based in Washington was told that some faculty members became emotional after the meeting saying they “dedicated their professional lives to the university only to now feel abandoned”, citing its article published last Sunday. (Jun 6)
The article titled, “How Academic Freedom Ends” said Beijing is using dismissals, arrests, and national security law to curtail Hong Kong students’ and professors’ rights.
HKU’s staff members were seeking reassurance about how the national security law would change the school, its research, and their jobs in the same meeting.
They asked questions on what to do if students reported professors on a government tip-line and what educators may be forced to teach.
Staffers reportedly left the meeting with little confidence, with an attendant said “Help is not on the way.”
Without naming the universities, 10 current and former faculty members and administrators from four local universities told The Atlantic that they had concerns over academic freedom and self-censorship under the impact of the national security law.
They added the leadership at local universities has done little to support students or faculty even when they were targeted by lawmakers and state media.
The move whereby presidents of five universities signed a letter endorsing the national security law on June 1 last year, before the law enacted on the 30th of the same month, was described to have highlighted that actions suppressing freedom within campus and academia are carried out by universities staffers and students.
One of the examples stated is that a HKU postgraduate allegedly reported at least two faculty members to the police’s national security department reporting hotline.
The reporting hotline, launched on November 5 last year, allows the public to report national security-related information to the police through WeChat, SMS, and email.
The media has sought for the University of Hong Kong for comment.
Police said yesterday that it will not comment on the news report, adding that the hotline has received more than 100,000 messages as of May 10 this year.