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Beijing determined to tighten grip on Hong Kong

Retribution against universities over protests indicates a mindset that opposes academic freedom

Beijing determined to tighten grip on Hong Kong

People gather at Victoria Park for a pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong on Dec. 8 in a display of support for the movement on its six-month anniversary as organizers warned the city's pro-Beijing leaders they had a 'last chance to end the crisis. (Photo: AFP)

The overwhelming victory by anti-government parties in Hong Kong’s recent council elections, combined with the signing of legislation by US President Donald Trump designed to put the city’s human rights under a close annual spotlight, is unlikely to have any effect on Beijing’s relentless campaign to curb freedoms in the finance hub.

Indeed, Beijing and its puppet Hong Kong government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam have already begun retribution for the protests by way of pulling funding for the territory’s universities. The protests have included many students and had universities at their heart as they moved to a more violent phase.

And here’s the thing: Western universities have genuine academic freedom, meaning no question is out of bounds, no inquiry or theory too bizarre. Young adults learn how to learn, inquire, critique their arguments, draw conclusions and think outside the box.

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