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University of Hong Kong targets CFHK Foundation President as part of academic freedom crackdown

Updated: Jan 9

PRESS RELEASE: University of Hong Kong library targets CFHK Foundation President as part of crackdown on academic freedom

Tuesday 1st November – The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation’s President Mark Clifford’s book Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow the World is among those which will need prior registration to access at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) library. Mark Clifford is an alumnus of HKU, where he received his PhD in History. Now, instead of celebrating the work of a former student, the University is acting as a blunt instrument on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as it advances its campaign to extinguish any remote suggestion of dissent. Concerningly, the library is now asking readers to register with their name and personal information to gain access to the book along with several others deemed ‘politically sensitive.’ Titles now under restriction include the English version of Joshua Wong’s Unfree Speech: The Threat to Global Democracy and Why We Must Act, Now and Nathan Law’s Freedom: How We Lose It and How We Fight Back. The new policy is a blatant attempt to intimidate students and prevent them from seeking information about the crackdown on democracy and freedoms in the city of Hong Kong and monitor those who do. Not only is this latest attack on education an effort by the CCP to silence those who oppose the regime and wish to learn more about the city’s democratic past, but a depressing acknowledgement that the University has foregone its academic values as it seeks to appease Beijing. CFHK Foundation President and HKU alumnus Mark Clifford said: “For a university to block access to information is appalling and outrageous and a sad indictment of the lack of importance assigned to inquisitive academia at HKU today. The University is home to some of the brightest scholars but has now given in to the city’s policy, implemented by Beijing puppets. Universities are meant to encourage free speech, education, the spread of ideas and further debate. ​ “It is a truly sad day to see that my own alma mater has effectively banned my book and is stifling academic values, values which are meant to be at the core of any self-respecting university.”

About the CFHK Foundation The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation presses for political and economic consequences for China’s failure to keep its promises to respect Hong Kong’s freedoms; supports the rule of law, freedom of expression, and the release of political prisoners; and urges the business community to stand against China’s assault on freedom and the danger it poses to Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre. Hong Kong’s fate is linked to the preservation of freedom, democracy, and international law in the region and around the world. ​For more information, please contact: ​ @thecfhk

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