A senior member of Beijing’s top think tank on Hong Kong warned on Monday that the central government may get directly involved in an ongoing ‘struggle’ against pro-independence forces at local universities – and it wouldn’t be surprising if this ends up in “some form of violence.”
Lau Siu-kai, the vice chairman of the Chinese Association on Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said in future, various "forces" including the central and SAR governments and members of the public could enter university campuses to counter calls for independence.
Lau said to protect the institutional autonomy of local tertiary institutions, university chiefs must take steps to "control" the situation themselves.
Lau expressed support for ten university chiefs, who issued a statement to say they oppose independence last Friday.
Since the start of the new academic year this month, pro-independence banners and posters have been unfurled at all public universities in Hong Kong.
Lau said hanging and putting them up is a political act and not part of an academic discussion, and the aim is to advocate separatist ideas. He said he expects it will become more difficult for universities to remain what he called "shelters" for independence advocacy.