A tenured law professor and a pioneer in Beijing’s pro-democracy movement was fired from his university position on Tuesday, less than a month after Beijing passed a new national security law in a semi-autonomous nation .
According to the South China Morning Post, Benny Tai, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong, was dismissed by an 18–2 vote by the university’s governing council.
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The report said the ruling was a reversal of an earlier decision by the University Senate that said there were not enough grounds for Tai’s dismissal, Reuters reported.
Tai, who was not present at the meeting, responded to her exit on social media.
“It marks the end of academic freedom in Hong Kong,” Tai said on Facebook. “Educational institutions in Hong Kong cannot protect their members from internal and external interference.”
Tai is sentenced to 16 months in prison in April 2019, as one of the nine leaders tested for his part in the 2014 campaign, known as the Universal Movement.
While the movement failed in its bid to expand democracy in a semi-autonomous Chinese city, protests returned last year after a proposal for local government legislation that extradited criminal suspects to face trial in mainland China Must have seen
The rapid rise in pro-democracy protests prompted the Chinese legislature to pass a national security law in June.
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Critics have cried the law as part of a major crackdown on political activity, free speech and academic freedom that has prompted a major opposition group to disband. Some books have been removed from libraries based on concerns they have violated the law’s restrictions on calls for greater autonomy for the city of 7.5 million.
China’s central government liaison officer in Hong Kong released a statement praising Tai’s removal. It said the shootings “punish for doing evil and uphold justice” and “maintain Hong Kong’s overall interests, meet public expectations and protect social justice.”
Tai remained optimistic in his Facebook post, writing that he planned to continue writing and lecturing on legal issues and sought support from the public.
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Tai wrote, “If we uphold our tenacity, we will one day see the revival of the rule of law in Hong Kong.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.