“Endorse Terrorism”: Hong Kong Students Angered by the University’s HKPF Recruitment Post

21 May 2020

Over 1,300 people have signed an online petition demanding the University of Melbourne to remove a controversial Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF) recruitment listing from the Career Online Job Board, calling the University’s decision to keep the advertisement an act of “endors[ing] terrorism”. 

The petition, initiated by a group of Hong Kong students of the University on Sunday (17 May), condemned the University for continuing to list the HKPF recruitment post despite backlash from the pro-democracy Hong Kong-Australian community. 

The job advertisement for Probationary Inspector was posted on the University’s Career Online Job Board by HKPF on 8 May. The advertisement was also posted on the online career platforms of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) over the week. UNSW and UTS have since withdrawn the ads after receiving negative reactions. 

The HKPF has been criticised on grounds of alleged police brutality during the mass protests in Hong Kong last year. Last week, Hong Kong’s police watchdog released the results of its investigations, clearing all allegations of police brutality, which sparked outrage among activists and legal experts, as The Guardian reported

A University spokesperson said the recruitment was listed to address the interest of potential students. 

The student careers’ website is used by employers to post job advertisements for students at the University of Melbourne. These include job advertisements, like the one posted by the Hong Kong police, which may interest international students who are considering returning home after they complete their studies.”

In the petition letter, the students claimed that the University’s decision to maintain the recruitment post was “an endorsement of dehumanization and terrorism [from] whoever [is] allowing the promotion to go on”.

The University has the responsibility to facilitate a healthy and appropriate career path for all students, especially when being one of the top-leading universities in Australia, universal values of freedom, democracy, and justice should have made [sic] well-recognized within every individual,” the petition stated. 

Eugenie from the Victoria Hong Kong Tertiary Student Association (VHKTSA) said the University did not recognise the majority of Hongkongers’ concerns towards the HKPF. 

“We think that by posting this ad, means that [the University of Melbourne] recommends HKPF as a fine employer for its graduates.”

“Not only they’ve been on going reported [sic] and seen brutality attacking their citizens which I believe some unimelb graduates or students had been brutality treated by them as well but they’ve even voiced out their uphold [sic] to the [Chinese Communist Party],” Eugenie told Farrago

The VHKTSA has endorsed and promoted the petition, while Melbourne Hong Kong Public Affairs Society, a Melbourne-based pro-democracy Hong Kong student group, created a letter template and encouraged alumni and students to write letters to the Chancellery. 

“We hope that [the University of Melbourne Student Union] can show support to Hongkongers by promoting our petition and explaining our cause,” said Eugenie.

Featured image shows a screenshot of the HKPF recruitment post (taken at the time of publication). 

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