An outspoken pro-Beijing politician from Hong Kong has been stripped of his degree by a British university over his comments about anti-government protests in the city.
Junius Ho, a member of the city’s Legislative Council, is famous for making sensational political remarks.
The 57-year-old sparked controversy in July after being caught on camera praising suspected triad members for beating protesters at a train station.
This month he insulted a female pro-democracy legislator whose husband is British by saying she was ‘habitually eating foreign sausage’.
Junius Ho (pictured in August) has been stripped of his honorary degree by his alma mater in UK. Anglia Ruskin University said Mr Ho’s conduct ‘has caused increasing concern’
Mr Ho was booted out of a meeting in the city’s Legislative Council earlier this month after insulting pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo (pictured). He accused her of ‘habitually eating foreign sausage’, referring to the fact that Ms Mo is married to an Englishman
The lawmaker – no stranger to drama – also had to face investigation in 2017 after claiming the city’s pro-independence activists should be ‘killed mercilessly’.
He described his alma mater’s decision as ‘political repression in the open’.
Mr Ho was awarded an honorary doctorate degree in law in 2011 by Anglia Ruskin University, which at the time described him as ‘a top name in law who has achieved great success’.
But the institute today confirmed that it had withdrawn the degree from Mr Ho because his conduct had ’caused increasing concern’.
The university said: ‘ARU’s honorands must be positive role models to our students, alumni and staff, and to the communities we serve.’
It added: ‘Mr Ho’s conduct since he was honoured has caused increasing concern. Following an investigation, the university has withdrawn Mr Ho’s honorary degree.’
The university did not specify the incidents or comments that had led to the decision.
However last week, crossbench peer Lord Alton of Liverpool wrote to the university, demanding that the institute withdraw Mr Ho’s degree.
Benedict Rogers, chairman of UK-based human rights group Hong Kong Watch, shared Lord Alton’s letter on Twitter.
According to Mr Rogers’s post, Lord Alton cited Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong’s description of Mr Ho as ‘an extremist who is elected to the Leg Co only because of support from Beijing’.
He also pointed out that Mr Ho had ‘congratulated triad attackers for their for outrageous violence’.
Lord Alton was referring to a brutal assault in late July carried out by suspected triad members against pro-democracy protesters in a train station in Yuen Long.
An online video purported to show Mr Ho shaking hands with the suspected gang members after the attack, praising them as his ‘heroes’.
The pro-Beijing lawmaker was seen applauding the alleged assailants in white shirts, giving them a thumbs up and saying ‘thank you for your hard work.’
One video purported to show pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho (above) shaking hands with the a gang member after a horrific attack against anti-government protesters in a train station in Yuen Long in July. Mr Ho can be heard in the video praising the suspects as his ‘heroes’
Mr Rogers, a human rights activist specialising in Asia, supported the university’s decision.
He said: ‘Anglia Ruskin University has made exactly the right decision, and has responded with impressive speed. I welcome their decision.’
He added: ‘Junius Ho’s long-standing track record of hate-filled, racist, bigoted, violent speech, sometimes with genocidal tones, is completely unacceptable and no respectable institution should be associated with him, let alone honour him.’
Mr Ho claimed Lord Alton’s accusations were untruthful.
‘He only knew hearsay and did not probe the facts, [that was] very careless,’ he told China’s state-run Global Times, calling the incident ‘regrettable’.
He also threatened legal actions.
In a statement on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, Mr Ho expressed his disappointment in the university, claiming it had withdrawn his degree without checking Lord Alton’s allegations with him.
Mr Ho was awarded an honorary degree in law in 2011 by Anglia Ruskin University (pictured). The university had described him as ‘a top name in law who has achieved great success’
‘The member of the House of Lords brazenly intervened and openly put pressure on the university to crack down on the freedom of speech enjoyed by a Chinese Hong Konger through the [Hong Kong] Basic Law,’ Mr Ho wrote in reference to Lord Alton’s complaint.
‘This is political repression in the open and abuse of academic freedom and autonomy.’
‘My behaviour and comments reflect the truth and facts and [I] dare to fight Hong Kong separatists and hanjian,’ Mr Ho added, using a derogatory term for a race traitor to the Han Chinese.
Riot police stand off against protesters during a demonstration against alleged police brutality on Sunday. Hong Kong has been battered by nearly five months of pro-democracy protests
The city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said there would be no political solution until the violent protests end. ‘For the government to resort to measures that will appease the violent rioters, I don’t think that is the solution,’ Mrs Lam told reporters
Mr Ho said it was heart-breaking for him to see that academic repression and political unfairness had taken place in UK where democracy was held highly.
Earlier this month, Mr Ho was kicked out of a meeting in the city’s Legislative Council after claiming that Claudio Mo, a lawmaker from the pro-democracy camp, was ‘used to eating foreign sausage’.
The term is a common insult in Cantonese against women who have romantic relationships with foreign men.
Ms Mo is married to Philip Bowring, a renowned British journalist who has reported from Asia for nearly 40 years.
She called Mr Ho’s description of her ‘blatantly sexist and racist’.