The Hong Kong version of the national security law has been implemented for more than 10 months. A new public opinion survey shows that nearly 60% of respondents said the national security law restricts academic freedom in Hong Kong, and another 45% believe that the university management has made no effort to protect academic freedom.
Some scholars said that the national security law has caused a chilling effect in tertiary institutions, and it is doubtful whether issues such as Catalonia and the Scottish independence movement can still be discussed in Hong Kong’s tertiary institutions. An international survey also shows that Hong Kong’s academic freedom index has dropped significantly after the implementation of the national security law, ranking even lower than Cambodia. Some scholars have analyzed that the national security hotline has caused panic on university campuses, and it is estimated that the epidemic will trigger a wave of flight among students and young academics after the epidemic.
In response to whether the Hong Kong version of the national security law has affected academic freedom in Hong Kong after nearly a year of implementation, the Hong Kong Institute of Public Opinion Research, We Hong Kong People Project, interviewed 7,216 citizens by online questionnaire from May 10 to 13, and held a press conference on Friday (May 14) to announce the findings.
Nearly 60% say national security law restricts academic freedom
The survey asked, “On the whole, how much do you think the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law restricts academic freedom in Hong Kong?
By political orientation, 94% of the 6,157 self-described pro-democracy supporters said the NSA restricts academic freedom quite a lot, while only 2% said it restricts little, and 4% said half-half. 38% of the 724 self-described non-pro-democracy supporters said the NSA restricts academic freedom quite a lot, while 41% said it restricts little, and 17% said half-half. Reflecting the differences in opinion between the establishment and neutral citizens on whether the National Security Law affects academic freedom.
45% say university management is not doing enough to protect academic freedom
The survey asked, “On the whole, how hard do you think the management of the universities in Hong Kong are working to protect academic freedom? Results showed that 45% of the respondents thought that the university management did not work hard enough to protect academic freedom, while 29% thought the university management did work hard to protect academic freedom and 19% said half-half.
In terms of political orientation, 72% of the 6,157 self-described democratic supporters believe that the university administration does not work hard enough to protect academic freedom, while only 6% believe that the university administration does work hard to protect academic freedom and 18% say half-half. 29% of the 723 self-described non-democratic supporters say that the university administration does not work hard enough to protect academic freedom, while 43% believe that the university administration does work hard to protect academic freedom. Among the 723 non-democratic supporters, 29% said the university administration did not work hard enough to protect academic freedom, while 43% said the university administration worked hard to protect academic freedom, and 19% said half-half.
Academics say university management’s response to student incidents affects perceptions
Lee Man-kong, assistant professor of the College of Social Sciences at Hong Kong’s Wollongong College, analyzed at a press conference that although the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law stipulates that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the civil rights granted by the Basic Law are still protected, the results of the public opinion survey show that most people do not believe that the National Security Law has no impact on academic freedom, which he believes is related to the fact that the management of many universities have recently used the National Security Law as a reason to restrict students’ rights to participate in university politics. He believes it has to do with the recent moves by many university administrations to restrict students’ right to participate in university politics on the grounds of the NSA, and even to cut seats with student unions.
Lee Man Kong said, “It seems that is what the universities see now is that they turn out to these students, speak something that their universities themselves think may be in violation of the national security law, so that already to be eager not to support these students when, in fact, can not help but be suspicious.”
Doubts about discussing the Catalan and Scottish independence movements
Li Mingang said that the National Security Law stipulates that incitement and abetment to secession from China are not allowed, and as a political science teacher, his teaching also raises doubts about whether topics such as Catalonia and the Scottish independence movement can still be discussed in the classrooms of Hong Kong’s tertiary institutions. He hopes that under the academic freedom guaranteed by the Basic Law, what could be taught in Hong Kong’s university classrooms in the past can still be taught under the National Security Law.
Lee said it is doubtful whether topics such as Catalonia and the Scottish independence movement can still be discussed in classrooms under the national security law. (Voice of America / Tang Hui Yun)
In classrooms and university classrooms around the world, these topics and subjects can be discussed, and the National Security Law says it will respect the Basic Law, which guarantees academic freedom. I think these are the doubts that many of our current teachers have.”
Hong Kong’s academic freedom ranking plummeted or affect the reputation of the university
The reporter asked, the Global Public Policy Institute (Global Public Policy Institute) announced in mid-March this year, the global academic freedom index (Academic Freedom Index) and the rating, Hong Kong’s academic freedom rating fell sharply to D, ranking even after Cambodia, the report authors believe that Hong Kong last year After the implementation of the national security law, the pressure on the higher education sector has increased dramatically. What is the impact of Hong Kong’s international ranking of academic freedom falling to such a position?
Li Mingang responded to a question from the Voice of America, saying that the national security law has triggered a chilling effect in Hong Kong’s universities and colleges, and that many young scholars pursuing doctoral studies in Hong Kong believe that they should not return if they can leave, because there are too many unstable factors in engaging in academic research in Hong Kong.
Li Mingang said that the management of many universities in Hong Kong attach great importance to international rankings and reputation, he believes that the sharp drop in the world ranking of academic freedom in Hong Kong will have a considerable impact, which may lead to some scholars with high international reputation are not willing to come to Hong Kong for academic exchanges.
In fact, I think these things are expected to happen. If that doubt is always there and the ranking keeps falling, these are great chances to happen.”
Academics estimate that there will be a wave of academics leaving after the epidemic
Xie Yongling, associate professor of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at City University of Hong Kong, said that the implementation of the National Security Law has caused considerable invisible pressure in the tertiary academic sector, and many people dare not give prior notice to immigrate, especially the National Security Hotline has caused panic on university campuses, and he lamented that Hong Kong’s academic freedom has plummeted from the top in the past to worse than Cambodia, and estimated that the epidemic will trigger a wave of students and young academics to flee after the epidemic.
Tse Wing-ling said that the implementation of the national security law has caused considerable invisible pressure in the tertiary education sector, and he estimated that the epidemic would trigger a wave of flight among students and young academics. (Voice of America / Tang Hui Yun)
I believe there will be, but the number is often larger than 2 or 30 years ago, and I don’t have a crystal ball, I can only tell you that once the epidemic is low, once the flight comes, that is called a tide, now the epidemic you can buy a ticket are difficult to leave. It’s hard to get a ticket, you can’t go.”
The researcher said the campus complaints culture makes teachers cold
CCSR researcher Pan Qi Zhi said that after the police national security department set up a hotline for reporting, an average of 40,000 reports received each month, an average of 700 reports per day, she has a friend who works as a teacher, just because of a photo with the democratic legislators, it was reported by students need to be investigated.
Another friend, who is a secondary school teacher, argued with a student from mainland China in a classroom discussion about the June 4 issue and was later complained about.
He said, “As a result, there was a student from China who came to study in Hong Kong and argued with the teacher, saying that the teacher’s understanding, that is, our understanding above (mainland China), is that there is no such thing (June 4) happened, why do you say so? That is, there was such a big argument, and as a result, the teacher dared not go on, and what happened afterwards, I believe we will all guess, that is, the teacher really did receive a complaint, but whether this complaint is established, or how the school will follow up on no one knows, but my friend who teaches, he feels very cold, and he is also planning to leave (Hong Kong).”
Hong Kong may have a structural collapse
Poon Ki-chi said that the National Security Law triggered a wave of flight is not limited to the education sector, it is estimated that other professionals with a strong political stance will choose to leave Hong Kong, she believes that it will cause a structural collapse in Hong Kong, and those who choose to remain in Hong Kong also have to consider how to survive.
Poon Ki-chi said a friend who is a teacher was reported by a student to be under investigation just because he took a photo with a pro-democracy legislator. (Voice of America/Thang Hui Yun)
The reason is that there is not a way to protect to their speech or teaching, so that they can work on a protection, this is also the issue we should be concerned about, the next Hong Kong will There will be a very obvious structural collapse in Hong Kong, and how will this collapse be filled? The things that are filled may make us start thinking more about this place not just as a security issue, but how the people we leave behind will survive.”
University World News, which focuses on global higher education news, cited comments from the authors of the Global Academic Freedom Index in mid-March this year that Hong Kong is one of the regions where academic freedom will regress significantly in 2019-2020. The media believes that the higher education sector in Hong Kong has been under pressure for many years, and that the Chinese Communist Party’s push for the Hong Kong National Security Law last year has also significantly increased the pressure on higher education institutions Many scholars are very concerned about the impact of the National Security Law on academic research, exchanges and international cooperation, and in response to the pressure of the National Security Law, the higher education sector canceled a number of campus activities, the commentary and named the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the student union to cut the seat.
The teaching profession to check 40% of teachers intend to leave the education sector
The largest teachers’ union in Hong Kong, the Association of Education Professionals (AEP) from April 29 to May 5, to interview teachers and principals of secondary schools, elementary school, kindergartens and special schools in the form of online questionnaires, a total of 1,178 responses were collected.
The survey results show that 40% of the teachers interviewed intend to leave the education sector in Hong Kong, and nearly 20% of them plan to resign or retire early. Among those aged 21 to 30, 47.7% intended to leave the education sector in Hong Kong. Asked to choose the main reason for leaving, 70% of the respondents said that because of the increasing political pressure, and some teachers who tend to stay in their jobs said that the political situation in Hong Kong is poor, it is more important to stick to their posts and teach students what is the truth.