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Employment of HKU vice-president followed the rules, university council head says

By Eleanor Huang in Hong Kong | | Updated: 2020-10-28 12:47
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The chairman of the University of Hong Kong Council said on Tuesday that the appointment of two mainland professors as university vice-presidents was made in accordance with the existing appointment system, which included a global search, as well as an elaborate review and consultation process.

Arthur Li Kwok-cheung's statement came after HKU's top governing body on Tuesday endorsed the appointment of two Tsinghua University professors — Max Shen Zuojun and Gong Peng — to the posts of vice-president for research and vice-president for academic development respectively.

Shen and Gong will assume their roles in January and serve five-year terms.

Li said in a statement that the sole aim of the appointment process is to attract the best-qualified individuals to fill the leadership positions at the university, and Shen and Gong are internationally recognized as top scholars in their respective fields of work.

Shen is the head of the Department of Industrial Engineering at Beijing-based Tsinghua University, and also a professor and department chairman at the University of California, Berkeley, where he co-directs an environment and new-energy center. Gong is head of Tsinghua's Department of Earth System Science, and a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley.

Li said that all allegations against the two professors' personal backgrounds and political affiliations are "unsubstantiated" since the professors have already offered satisfactory clarifications of these issues.

"The two professors had made a special effort to clarify their positions, including a statement from Professor Shen confirming that he is not a member of the Communist Party of China, nor a Party committee," he wrote.

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