A British university has confirmed that it has stripped pro-Beijing firebrand Junius Ho of his honorary doctorate, citing increasing concern that the man who has built a political career on violent, homophobic, sexist vitriol was perhaps not a “positive role model.”
Ho received the honor in 2011 for his legal work and his efforts as an ambassador for his alma mater, Anglia Ruskin University. But in a statement provided to British political magazine The Spectator, the university said: “ARU’s honorands must be positive role models to our students, alumni and staff, and to the communities we serve. Mr Ho’s conduct since he was honoured has caused increasing concern. Following an investigation, the university has withdrawn Mr Ho’s honorary degree.”
Demands for Ho’s honorary degree to be stripped go back to as far July, days after Ho was pictured getting chummy with some of the assailants connected with the Yuen Long MTR station attack on July 21. A Change.org petition was set up demanding Anglia Ruskin strip him of his honorary doctorate, but it only received 560 signatures.
Renewed calls came after David Alton, a member of Britain’s House of Lords — the upper house of the British Parliament that scrutinizes and reviews bills before they become law — wrote a letter to the university asking why it continued to honor Ho.
Alton was writing the letter as one of the patrons of Hong Kong Watch, an NGO that monitors human rights, freedoms, and rule of law in Hong Kong. He also recently led a parliamentary debate on Hong Kong.
The letter, dated Saturday, Oct. 26, reads: “As an opponent of no-platforming, and believing in the importance of upholding free speech and, as someone who is dubious about tokenistic removals of artefacts connected with historic events, I would suggest that a line is crossed when someone who enjoys academic privileges and honors – a living person – is involved in direct acts of oppression – especially when the victims are overwhelmingly young people, many of them university students.”
— Luke de Pulford (@lukedepulford) October 26, 2019
The letter went on to cite specific examples of Ho’s outrageous behaviors, from saying that same-sex marriage would lead to the acceptance of bestiality, to remarking in a Legislative Council meeting that pro-dem Claudia Mo is “used to eating foreign sausage” because she’s married to an Englishman.
Other greatest hits include Ho appearing to threaten the life of pro-dem lawmaker Eddie Chu, accusing foreigners of turning Hong Kong into “the next Syria,” and most recently, saying during a recent LegCo appearance that that Chinese University of Hong Kong “welcomed more than 300 cockroaches at their freshers week.” “Cockroaches” has been a term commonly used by police and pro-Beijing supporters to refer to pro-democracy protesters.
Ho has yet to publicly respond to the news of his honorary doctorate being stripped, but according to Benedict Rogers, the chairman and founder of Hong Kong Watch, one of Ho’s “henchmen” reportedly emailed several people, including Alton, saying: “An eye for an eye…. For all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”
After @ARU rightly withdrew Junius Ho's honorary doctorate, one of Mr Ho's henchmen emailed several of us, including Lord Alton, saying: "An eye for an eye…. For all who draw the sword will die by the sword." An unpleasant threat. The nature of China's regime #StandWithHongKong
— Benedict Rogers (@benedictrogers) October 29, 2019
The stripping of Ho’s doctorate comes hot on the heels of another attempt to hold the trash-talking pugilist to account for his words.
Pro-dem lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting this week sent Ho a formal notice that he will be initiating legal proceedings if Ho fails to pay him damages of HK$150,000 and legal costs of HK$20,000 (almost US$22,000 altogether) after Ho accused him of inciting the Yuen Long attack.
Despite the videos of Ho glad-handing suspected Yuen Long attackers — and a subsequent video in which he called their values “heroic” — Ho has continued to deny any involvement with the mob violence. Lam was among those injured that day.
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