The government has officially appointed Arthur Li as the new chairman of the Hong Kong University's governing council – despite strong opposition from alumni groups and the University's student union.
"Professor Li is a veteran academic with extensive experience in teaching as well as the management and development of the university education sector," Education Secretary Eddie Ng said in a statement. He added that he was sure HKU "will go from strength to strength with Professor Li at its helm".
Li said in a statement that he would strive to maintain the traditions of HKU and hoped that his experience would help elevate the university further.
A statement from the HKU president, Peter Mathieson, and senior management, said they're pleased the chairmanship has been filled and look forward to working with Li to further the best interests of the university.
However, the deputy convenor of the HKU alumni concern group, Mak Tung-wing, was strongly critical of the appointment, saying the group was "furious" about the appointment and accusing the Chief Executive, C Y Leung of "brazenly" imposing his will on the university.
Li will assume the post from New Year's Day for three years.
The executive councillor had been widely tipped for the job, which has been vacated since Leong Che-hung left the role in early November.
Opponents of Li’s candidacy have said he will not defend academic freedom or institutional autonomy.
The work of the university council, and its composition, has come under increased scrutiny this year, particularly during its discussions on whether to appoint liberal legal scholar Johannes Chan as a pro-vice-chancellor.
The decision not to appoint Chan was seen by critics as political retribution for his ties to Occupy Movement co-founder Benny Tai.
Last updated: 2015-12-31 HKT 10:45