Author of US fund claims axed

Top News | Beatrice Siu 12 Dec 2012

Baptist University is severing ties with the professor involved in the "irresponsible and fictitious" claim that the teaching curriculum of the Chinese University of Hong Kong was funded and directed by the United States.

HKBU president and vice chancellor Albert Chan Sun-chi said Victor Sit Fung-shuen has been removed as director of the Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies with immediate effect and that his contract will not be renewed when it expires in a few months.

On November 1, the CUHK issued a statement saying the allegations contained in the so- called Hong Kong Blue Book were "irresponsible and fictitious."

HKBU then formed a four-member investigation panel to look into the complaint. The report was completed and submitted to Chan.

The panel upheld the complaint and found that Sit was the author of the statement and accused him of academic misconduct.

It said the "American fund" that Sit referred to was the Fulbright Scholar Program which provides support and advice instead of directing the setting up of general education programs.

It said Sit not only failed to provide evidence to support his claim but also failed to make a correction despite having the opportunity to do so after receiving letters of complaint from CUHK on September 20 and again in October.

It said Sit defended the ill-conceived information after receiving the complaint, misrepresented the authorship/editorship and attempted to shift the blame to his subordinates, and was no longer suitable to serve as director.

Chan accepted the report and adopted the recommendation to remove Sit with immediate effect.

Chan also expressed his sincerest apologies to CUHK on behalf of HKBU for any impact, adding that the statement was ungrounded and inaccurate.

"This incident has also had a negative impact on HKBU's reputation and aroused worries and concern among our staff, students and alumni," he said.

Professor of history Chow Kai-wing has been appointed as acting director.

CUHK general education director Leung Mei-yee welcomed the report and said it would not affect cooperation between the two universities.

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