|The Mirror Monthly article in January 2000|
This matter can be summarily dealt with as it has only marginal relevance to our enquiry.
The "Mirror Monthly Magazine", a left wing magazine, in its January issue published an article criticizing the surveys of the POP team saying that they were unprofessional and were part of a political conspiracy.
The Vice-Chancellor circulated the article to the Pro-Vice-Chancellors and others, including Dr. Chung, for comment. Dr. Chung wrote refuting the suggestions. He said that after discussion with Dr. Ng he considered that this "represented an escalation of the action on the part of the Vice-Chancellor".
Dr. Ng said that he did not come to that conclusion. What is perhaps pertinent to our enquiry is the minute of the SMT meeting on 6th January 2000 where the article was discussed. The relevant minute reads as follows:
"Social Science Research Centre (SSRC); The meeting discussed an article published in the January 2000 issue of "Mirror Monthly Magazine" criticizing the public opinion polling (POPs) conducted by the SSRC.
The Vice-Chancellor reported there had been concerns and criticisms expressed in the past and the article was an escalation of criticisms launched directly at the SSRC and indirectly at the University.
While there might be technical errors and exaggerations in the article, the meeting was concerned that the University would continue to be labelled as "colonial", as a "bastion of anti-China, anti-communist sentiments" and be marginalized in the Mainland's policies and strategies.
The public perception of the University created as a result of the POPs was unfortunate, and was detrimental and unfair to the University as a whole.
With the establishment of the Institute of Public Policies and Strategies, it was hoped that the SSRC POP team could be given more supervision and guidance, and be advised to focus more on policy research instead of POPs, as the latter, being of minimal academic merit, should be left to commercial marketing organizations. It might also be appropriate, for the overall development in this area, for Mr. Robert Chung to be seconded from SSRC to the new Institute."
As to paragraph 2(c) above, Professor S.L. Wong, when asked who had said those things, replied "If I remember correctly, it was mentioned mainly by the Vice-Chancellor"159. This indicates a clear fear that the work of POP was "detrimental and unfair" to the University.