After 50 years of operation, the student union at the Chinese University of Hong Kong has voted to dissolve, citing increased pressure from authorities and concerns for member safety, the Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) reported.
In a statement published on Oct. 7 the now defunct union said, “For 50 years CUSU existed as an independent student organization whose representatives were elected through a democratic process. It is a matter of profound regret that CUSU is now history.”
The decision to dissolve the union, which was founded in 1971, was made at a general meeting on September 10 during which all student representatives resigned citing safety concerns.
The decision was made after university administration directed the union to register with government agencies for the new academic year. The union stated that it was having difficulty reconciling professional legal advice it had received with university management’s demands.
“We are now torn between following the legal advice or complying with the university administration’s demand,” the unions’ statement read.
Eight months ago, the university formally severed ties with the union.
Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung and Secretary for Security Chris Tang ignored questions about the union’s dissolution as they exited the Legislative Council chamber on Thursday.
The dissolution of CUSU is the latest in a series of setbacks for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy student movement.
Eight Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) students and alumni were arrested in December 2020 after staging a peaceful pro-democracy rally on campus.
Four former student leaders at the University of Hong Kong (UHK) were arrested and charged with “advocating terrorism” after they expressed sympathy for a police officer who committed suicide.
Two adjunct professors with pro-democracy affiliations were fired during the last week of September at Lingnan University.
The dissolution of the union is just the most recent of dozens of civil society organizations that have disbanded since the implementation of the Beijing-imposed national security law in June 2020.