A Hong Kong university has fired a professor who was researching the bloody suppression of pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 after city authorities refused to extend her visa.
Rowena He, an associate professor of history at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, wrote a book in 2014 about the exiles in Tiananmen, according to the website of the university’s history department.
Hong Kong has long been the only place in China, along with Macau, to a lesser extent, where the victims of the Chinese military’s intervention against these peaceful protesters, which left hundreds, even more than a thousand, were commemorated. , was tolerated.
But because of Beijing’s control over the formerly semi-autonomous region, candlelight vigils in memory of the victims have been banned since 2020.
The professor confirmed to Agence France-Presse that she was “dismissed with immediate effect.”
A spokesperson for the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) said: “Employment of non-permanent residents is conditional on the possession of a valid visa.”
“Visa decisions are made by the Department of Immigration and the University is not in a position to influence the allocation of visas,” the spokesperson added.
There was no immediate comment from the Hong Kong Immigration Department.
He took up his position at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2019 and is said to be seeking an extension for his visa.
She received her PhD from the University of Toronto and previously taught at Harvard University. She currently holds a research position at the University of Texas at Austin, according to the university’s website, which states that she was born and raised in China.
The topic of the suppression of the Tiananmen Square protests is extremely sensitive for communist leaders, and any commemoration of the anniversary is banned in mainland China.
In mid-2020, Beijing imposed a strict national security law on Hong Kong after months of massive and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.
Since then, authorities in the region have arrested organizers of the annual Tiananmen vigil, and statues erected on campus to honor the victims have been removed.
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