Pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho has written to the chair of University of Hong Kong’s governing council Arthur Li, urging the school to investigate pro-democracy scholar Benny Tai for alleged “misconduct.” Tai was one of the conveners of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests.
In August, Ho wrote to the university’s governing council saying it was contradictory for Tai to advocate for the spirit of civil disobedience whilst also teaching students about defending the rule of law. Tai is an associate professor in the Department of Law. Ho also later submitted a petition of more 80,000 signatures to the school, urging it to investigate the legal scholar.
On Wednesday, Ho said in a letter addressed to Li that he had written to HKU President Peter Mathieson, but had not received a reply. Mathieson earlier confirmed that he has received letters on the matter, but he did not agree entirely with the content.
Ho is asking the school to investigate Tai under Section 12(9) of the University of Hong Kong Ordinance, which states that teachers shall not be terminated except after a due enquiry into the facts and receiving advice from the Senate.
The letter said that Tai is currently involved in a criminal trial. It demands his suspension so as to not affect students and parents.
It also said that Tai’s advocacy of civil disobedience had fostered a “resistance mentality” amongst the young people and the public, leading to not just the Occupy demonstrations but “a series of confrontations from social movements.” Tai is facing public nuisance charges over his involvement in the 2014 protests.
“[I] hope that the school will give a reply within two weeks as to their decision on whether to officially initiate an investigation and suspend Tai with pay,” the letter said.
Li had earlier said that Tai did not invite students to take part in the protests during his classes, and could not be said to have violated the school’s regulations. Li also said that the university was independent and would not be influenced by external forces.
Ho also submitted a copy of the letter to Mathieson.