Hong Kong Federation of Students

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Hong Kong Federation of Students
HKFS logo.svg
Formation May 1958
  • 9/F., Waitex House, 7-9 Mongkok Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Nathan Law Kwun-chung
Affiliations Pan-democracy camp
Website hkfs.org.hk
Hong Kong Federation of Students
Traditional Chinese 香港專上學生聯會

The Hong Kong Federation of Students (Chinese: 香港專上學生聯會, HKFS) is a student organisation formed by the student unions of four higher institutions in Hong Kong. The purpose of the HKFS is to promote student movements and to enhance students’ engagement in society.

It is currently led by Nathan Law Kwun-chung, the secretary-general of the federation.

The Council (代表會) is formed by the representatives from the student unions of the universities who are elected by university students. The standing committee is appointed by the Council.


Early years

The federation was founded in May 1958. Their purpose at that time was to promote students' participation in social affairs by representing students. There were originally four member university student unions, in its first term, the committee was made up of seven students.

In the Senkaku Islands dispute, at the time of the transfer of the administration of the Senkaku/Diaoyutai Islands from the United States to Japan in 1971, some Hong Kong students established the Hong Kong Action Committee in Defence of Diaoyutai Islands (香港保衛釣魚台行動委員會) on 14 February.[citation needed] The committee held demonstrations in front of the Japanese consulate in Hong Kong this led to twenty-one people being arrested, seven of whom were university students. On 17 April, the Hong Kong University Students' Union held a peaceful demonstration in which about 1,000 students took part however on 7 July, the federation held a larger-scale demonstration. As the federation was still an illegal organization at that time, some students were arrested by the Royal Hong Kong Police. On 13 May 1975, the federation held its last protest on the issue.

During 1975 to 1976, the standing committee of the federation voiced their support of the Cultural Revolution instigated by the Communist Party in mainland China. Mak Chung Man, who led students to protest against the communists, was criticised by the federation as being "against all the Chinese", this pronouncement caused great resentment among students, and the handling of diverging opinions became the main topic in the 1976 HKFS election.

In April 1977, the Hong Kong University Students' Union suggested removal of "anti-right wing" from the action guide of the federation but the standing committee refused to vote. All delegates from the Hong Kong University Students' Union withdrew in protest.

In April 1979, the federation held a memorial of May Fourth Movement, which was poorly attended.

During the 1980s, the federation started to support the democratic movements in Taiwan and mainland China.

In 1981 the Hong Kong Standard revealed that the HKFS had been on a 'Red List' in a classified Standing Committee on Pressure Groups (SCOPG) report, the report described the group as "pro-communist".

The federation reported Shue Yan College to the Independent Commission Against Corruption in March 1983 for serious corruption, however, ICAC chose not to prosecute the college.


After 1984, the federation fully changed its direction from supporting communism to supporting democratic development.

In February 1989, about 4,000 students boycotted classes to protest against the policy of the Education Department.

During the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, the federation took part in the demonstrations and the strike in China. On 20 May, when the tropical cyclone signal number 8 was hoisted, thousands of students took part in a massive demonstration. After the 4 June massacre, all universities' students stopped attending classes, since then, there are memorial activities every year. In 1991, there were protests to support Wang Dan; however, the police said it was an illegal protest and gave warnings to the committees, this angered the students.

Since the 1990s, the federation has taken an interest in daily events in Hong Kong, and no longer restricts itself to the areas of education and politics.

In 2003, 2004 and 2005, the federation actively took part in the 1 July marches. In the one in 2004, the federation was the largest group present.

Rapid disaffiliation

The federation, led by Alex Chow and Lester Shum, was a participating organisation of the Umbrella Movement in 2014, which demanded genuine democracy in future chief executive elections.[1] Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok were occupied by suffragists for two months.

Some democratic activists criticised the federation for failing to lead the movement. Five of its member organisations held disaffiliation referenda in early 2015, and four passed, reducing the number of member organisations from eight to four. The results are as follows:[2]

Referendums on disaffiliation from the Hong Kong Federation of Students
Voting period Member Yes No Absentation Invalid Total Turnout Result
9 Feb 2015 – 13 Feb 2015 HKUSU 2522 (41.39%) 2278 (37.39%) 1293 (21.22%) 6093 38.40% Disaffiliate
10 Mar 2015 – 12 Mar 2015 LUSU 363 (34.02%) 607 (56.89%) 87 (8.15%) 10 (0.94%) 1067 29.96% Affiliate
16 Apr 2015 – 22 Apr 2015 HKPUSU 1190 (68.67%) 403 (23.25%) 126 (7.27%) 14 (0.81%) 1733 10.40% Disaffiliate
20 Apr 2015 – 23 Apr 2015 HKBUSU 934 (55.66%) 613 (36.53%) 108 (6.44%) 23 (1.37%) 1678 14.36% Disaffiliate
28 Apr 2015 – 6 May 2015 CityUSU 2464 (76.12%) 527 (16.28%) 174 (5.38%) 72 (2.22%) 3237 19.31% Disaffiliate

Amidst the rise of localism of Hong Kong in 2015, the Federation was absent for the first time from the Victoria Park candlelight vigil commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.


The Hong Kong Federation of Students is formed by the student unions of four institutions:

Former member:

Period Years Secretariat Representative Council Standing committee
Secretary-General Other members Chairman Vice Chairman Secretary Central Representatives
54th 2011-12 Daisy Chan - Sam Wong Leo Tang - Fredrik Fan -
55th 2012-13 Samuel Li Ben Lam (Deputy) Jacky Lai Rowan Tang Leo Tang Queenie Chu
Daisy Chan
Sam Wong
56th 2013-14 Eddie Chan Willis Ho (Deputy)
Johnson Yeung (Deputy)
Chan Man-fai Law Kun-kit Lam Siu-kit Rowan Tang -


External links