World news: The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Student Union resigned after receiving death threats

The Chinese University of Hong Kong’s student union leaders resigned on Monday in light of political pressure and threats.

Issac Lam Yui-hei, president of the student union cabinet known as ‘Syzygia’ announced their resignation on Monday, hours after 47 pro-democracy politicians were charged with conspiracy to commit subversion. 

The suspicion increased between CUHK students and the university after the police arrested students several times in on-campus protests where they held pro-democracy slogans banned under the National Security Law.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) said the previous statements made by Syzygia are potentially unlawful and inaccurate and might be in breach of the national security law.

Mr Lam said the university administration had warned it would suspend financial and administrative support and cut ties with other student bodies if the union members did not resign.

Mr Lam said the cabinet members and their families received nuisance calls and death threats, and described the resignation as “a helpless” decision.

Mr Lam said in the press conference on Monday after the resignation: “Our pursuit of democracy and freedom will never be abated by any form of intimidation.”

The cabinet bowed to approximately 4,000 students who voted in favour of the cabinet and approximately 6,000 followers on their Instagram account, apologizing for disappointing their voters.

Hong Kong Liberty, an organisation fighting for liberty in Hong Kong, tweeted: “#HKgov and U officials want total obedience from students w/o critical thinking. We shudder to think what our future society would become.”

Sherman, Wong Ching-Man, student of CUHK, said: “I was shocked as the cutting ties of CUHK and students is unprecedented. It is also heartbreaking now that again, a part of freedom and the right to choose is taken away from us.”

The University said it respected freedom of speech and the right of expression, but university members must express opinions in a rational and respectful manner and abide by the law.

Written by Audrey Chow

(she/her) A trainee journalist at the University of Sheffield originally from Hong Kong.

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