CUHK professor apologises for uproar caused by controversial protest remark on ethnic minorities

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Ethnic minorities group accuses CUHK professor of remark laden with racial discrimination during lecture.

Photo Credit: Don North

Mr Lam Wai Choi, a Catholic school master and professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), recently made a statement during a lecture implying that ethnic minority students are paid to participate in protests. He made this statement on 3 September during the first lecture of the course “Classroom Management and School Discipline”, which is part of the Postgraduate Diploma in Education programme. His alleged claim was that “ethnic minority students are poor and the only way they could afford themselves a pair of new shoes is to participate in recent protests”, and then receive payment from a third party. 

A group of ethnic minority students at CUHK slammed Mr Lam’s statments in a post available on Facebook, calling it “naked racial discrimination” and “slander” to ethnic minorities who earn an honest living in the city. The group posit that although he advocates for love as the prime element of student growth on the TWS St. Bonaventure Catholic Primary School website, Mr Lam should acknowledge his hypocrisy in his defamatory statement and issue a formal apology, and promise not to repeat the same mistake during future lectures. 

In response to this statement, Mr Lam released one of his own in Chinese apologising for the reaction his comments caused, clarifying that there was no intention to racially discriminate against ethnic minorities. He remarks that his controversial comment was intended to be an example of many used to portray challenges a teacher may face on the job. “The entire classroom focuses on class management and the role of the class teacher”, he explains, “and there is no discrimination or labeling of any ethnic group.”

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