UVic is the latest Canadian university to advertise Hong Kong Police Force jobs
Over the last few months, Canadian universities — from UBC to McMaster — have tried to recruit students to the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF).
Students have raised concerns, citing that HKPF is known for committing human rights abuses. Amnesty International says HKPF used tactics such as arbitrary arrests and torture during protests in Hong Kong last year. Following students’ complaints, UVic removed the posting.
The advertisement posted to the UVic Co-op and Career Portal stated that the HKPF was looking for 50 police inspector positions to be filled. Requirements included permanent residence status in Hong Kong, as well as a bachelor’s degree from a Hong Kong university or equivalent institution. Applicants had to be fluent in Cantonese, and proficient in both English and Mandarin. The base salary for a police inspector in the HKPF is $47,690 Hong Kong Dollars.
This ad is similar to others posted at universities across Canada, Australia, the U.S., and the U.K.. While McMaster and UVic have removed the postings, other universities such as UBC and U of T have not, arguing that the postings follow provincial and federal guidelines.
In an email interview with the Martlet, Andrea Giles, UVic’s acting Executive Director of the Cooperative Education Program and Career Services, outlined their protocols.
“To post a position to the career, general or casual job boards, employers must create an account and provide UVic with contact information,” said Giles. “Co-op and Career does not pre-screen career job postings or employers … postings will be declined or removed if an employer provides false contact information or if a posting is found to be unlawful.”
Students and student groups, such as the UVic Hong Kong Students’ Association (HKSA), urged the university to remove the application.
“We strongly urged the university to withdraw the [posting] as soon as possible,” said Marcus Ng, President of the HKSA, in an interview with the Martlet. “The Hong Kong Police Force is an unethical organization and has violated human rights many times.”
Giles said that the decision to remove the job posting was taken by a staff member who acted independently after receiving concerned emails from students.
The job postings may be the result of the HKPF losing staff from the toll of policing during the protests. The South China Morning Post reported in April that around 450 members of the HKPF have resigned since the protests began, citing mental and physical drain.
Davin Wong is the Director of Youth Engagement and Policy Initiatives for Alliance Canada Hong Kong, a non-profit and non-partisan organization that works to maintain Canadian relations with Hong Kong as well as provide advocacy and research regarding Hong Kong’s policies. Wong also says that recruitment at Canadian universities by the HKPF is not new, nor has it necessarily seen an uptick. Rather, Wong said the appearance of a large scale recruitment drive could simply be due to greater international attention towards Hong Kong and the HKPF.
“The HKPF has been putting job listings on Canadian universities’ career platforms to attract these Hong Kong students to go back and join the police force, so this practice has actually been [going on] for years if not decades,” said Wong. “After all the police brutality last year we witnessed in Hong Kong, the people, especially Hong Kong students, have been paying more attention [to] where the Hong Kong Police Force has been recruiting.”
Wong was impressed that UVic was “proactive” and took down the posting, but he also believes that universities should not be posting job applications from organizations that have been investigated for human rights violations.
“Other than what is happening in Hong Kong, Canada has a great imperative to look into Chinese interference in different aspects of our lives, including our higher education,” Wong said. “I also want to urge Canadian universities to take into, not only their bureaucratic consideration but also some general moral, ethical considerations when they are handling student affairs.”