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Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 10:09

Tai puts HKU in a bad light

By Leung Lap-yan

Leung Lap-yan writes that recent events involving the HKDDN show the University of Hong Kong has been used as the main base for a ‘color revolution’ in the city.

The “secret political donation” scandal involving the University of Hong Kong (HKU) is still unresolved. An insider who helped handle financial matters of the illegal “Occupy Central” movement last year revealed last week that Benny Tai Yiu-ting, one of the initiators of “Occupy”, received cash from the Hong Kong Democratic Development Network (HKDDN) for quite some time. This informant, who did not reveal his identity, told a local Chinese newspaper that Tai received 15 checks worth a total of HK$778,658 from the HKDDN from September 2013 to October 2014 — averaging some HK$60,000 a month.

The HKDDN is a political organization chaired by Chu Yiu-ming. Its secretary is Lo Wai-ming and its treasurer is Tang Wai-chung. None of these three are rich people; Chu is a pastor, Lo a social worker and Tang a lawyer. However, the HKDDN seems to be extremely well-funded. Apparently the political group is backed by some wealthy people who give lots of money to the HKDDN on a regular basis. But who are they?

It is quite clear that the HKDDN is an ordnance depot serving a “color revolution” in Hong Kong waged by Western anti-China forces. This is the only logical answer to the question of what exactly the HKDDN is used for and what “Occupy” really was. It also explains the role Tai played in the illegal campaign.

Tai is an assistant professor at HKU, but he is really dedicated to attempts to subvert the nation’s sovereign rule over Hong Kong. It is a great shame that the HKU management appeared oblivious to Tai’s traitorous acts and even defended him one way or another. As it turned out, all the checks he received from the HKDDN bear the name of the recipient and there is no way the HKU could not see they were meant to fund the “Occupy” campaign. How could anyone have failed to realize the HKDDN was behind “Occupy”? Unless, of course, this is how HKU gave the illegal movement its blessing. In that case, would the HKU have acted similarly had the checks come from terrorist group ISIS and been meant for some local jihad? The HKU management has always insisted on academic independence, but can it honestly say that what Tai did with “Occupy” was purely academic?

If the truth be told, the three initiators of “Occupy” (Tai, Chu and Chan Kin-man) did not think the university’s opinion mattered. Nor did the HKDDN or Chung Ting-yiu, director of the Public Opinion Programme, a pro-opposition pollster attached to HKU. According to the insider, Tai claimed that since the “foreign vice-chancellor” of HKU did not speak Chinese and the pro-vice-chancellors knew nothing about politics, they should “just do it”. Indeed they went ahead with their plots as if the university was no concern of theirs. They did whatever they wanted, since money was no problem. Just for the scaled-down “dress rehearsal” of “Occupy” on the night of July 1 last year they set up a command post inside the nearby Mandarin Oriental Hotel (five-star). When “Occupy” was officially launched they set up a command center in the Marriott Hotel overlooking the main site of illegal blockades in Admiralty. The HKDDN spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a “cutting-edge” sound system and telecommunications equipment for the illegal movement. Apart from the checks with the HKU as the recipient, according to the HKU’s audit committee, former dean of the HKU Law School Johannes Chan Man-mun also handled a donation without telling the university or the public what it was for. It remains unknown as to whether the HKU management was ever on top of all that underhanded maneuvering, as no one has come forward with an explanation.

If the HKDDN is indeed devoted to the democratic development in Hong Kong as its name suggests, why can it not show the public where exactly all that cash comes from? Why has the HKU management not told the public all about its use? The fact is, the HKDDN has been very secretive about everything it does, while the HKU management has been hesitant to speak up about the “secret political donations”. Tai, on the other hand, was very bold and reckless — until after “Occupy” was terminated and he was granted a long “paid leave” by the Law School to lay low for a while. People cannot but wonder what kind of a deal he struck with the HKU management. Clearly the HKDDN was behind the “Occupy” movement and Tai is a political operative in scholar’s disguise. The HKU has been used as the main base of a “color revolution” in Hong Kong. Local residents cannot stop worrying over the HKU’s future as long as those involved in the scandal remain silent about the truth behind it.

The author is a current affairs commentator.

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