SCMP Thursday, September 7, 2000

Example now set for aide to follow


The decision of the two professors to stand aside may also trigger the endgame against Andrew Lo Cheung-on, a figure in the Robert Chung affair who still has a cloud over him.
And the university council's ambiguous position on adopting the inquiry panel's report may do Mr Lo no favours, begging more questions.
As the new school year started yesterday, there was a feeling evident among staff and students that the eventful summer could now be put behind them.
The decision of Professor Cheng and Professor Wong to tender their resignations while disagreeing with the panel's findings was a show of belated courage to put the university's interests first.
The courage of the dons to bear "full moral responsibility" for their involvement in the saga, however, is in direct contrast with Mr Lo's aggressive position.
His case was shored up by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's swift rejection of the criticism of Mr Lo, his closest aide, in the report last week.
In a submission to the council meeting, Mr Lo reserved the right to seek further action and challenged the legality and contents of the report, a political gesture to counter panel claims he was a "poor and untruthful" witness.
Now that the council has failed to formally endorse the report, it appears to have provided Mr Lo an escape hatch. But that will not ease the political pressure for Mr Tung to sack him. Over the past week, Legco contenders of diverse political affiliations have made it clear that Mr Lo is no longer fit for the job and should go.
Pressure will be building on the Chief Executive and Mr Lo to show the same moral courage and spirit of accountability and bring the saga to its conclusion.