HK official denies punishing universities after funding request withdrawal
Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, chief secretary for administration of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), denied accusations that the SAR government withdrew three universities' funding requests to punish them for their roles in the protest.
Cheung said the government's decision has no connection to the six-month-long protests, which saw students' involvement and even some prestigious universities in the city turning into battlefields between rioters and the police force.
"It's not the government doesn't want to do it (approve the requests) and it's not to target or punish any universities," Cheung clarified, saying the decision aims to buy more time to fully explain those proposals to councilors so that they would have a higher chance to pass the Legislative Council.
Funding plans from Hong Kong's Polytechnic University (PolyU), Hong Kong University (HKU), and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) were respectively pulled by the SAR government two weeks ago and earlier this week.
The plans include a 250 million Hong Kong dollars proposal for medical teaching facilities at CUHK and HKU, plus an expansion plan totaling 1.4 billion Hong Kong dollars for PolyU.
When asked about the restoration of the PolyU following the weeks-long siege, Cheung said the SAR government would assist if it's needed after thorough evaluations were done by the university itself.
As of Friday night, a total of 5,890 people have been arrested and 2,345 of them are students, according to Cheung. Among the 2,345 arrested students, 910 of them are under the age of 18, he added.
Cheung has called the young people not to ruin their future by breaking the law and asked all parents, families, schools, government and the whole society to take the responsibilities to bring up the next generation.
Protesters, mostly young people, are continuing their rally near Legislative Council Building on Saturday, the first weekend after the Hong Kong district council election. CGTN's Zhao Yunfei has the latest information from the scene.