Universities under fire for politicising honorary degrees

British universities are under criticism for political bias, losing prestige over more than one case of stripping honorary degrees of foreign politicians, Chinese experts said, referring to how Chinese netizens were infuriated over a recent withdrawal of honour from Hong Kong pro-establishment legislator and lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu by a university in the United Kingdom, write Li Ping and Fan Lingzhi for Global Times.

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge withdrew Ho’s honorary law degree in October, claiming he “has caused increasing concern”, after a member of the British parliament urged the ARU to withdraw his degree based on an allegation of Ho shaking hands with individuals allegedly related to an attack on a passenger train at Yuen Long in July.

“This is not the first time that Western universities, which assert academic independence from politics and flaunt academic freedom, have used degree-stripping as a tool to crush Eastern politicians with different ideologies and political positions,” Zhang Yiwu, a professor at Peking University, told the Global Times. “This has been a long tradition in Western universities if you remember how Aung San Suu Kyi’s award was suspended by a UK union and Bristol University in 2017 over Myanmar’s crisis,” he said.
Full report on the Global Times site