The recruitment email follows protests in Michaelmas term against violence by Hong Kong Police ForceUniversity of Cambridge & Sir Cam

Students have raised concern about the decision by Cambridge University Careers Service to circulate a recruitment programme from the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF).

This follows criticism of the HKPF in recent months. Their alleged use of excessive force in response to pro-democracy protests, which have been ongoing since June 2019, contributed to protests by students in Cambridge in Michaelmas term.

One student from Hong Kong, who wished to remain anonymous, told Varsity that the Careers Service “should’ve known of the general sentiment and shown some more sensitivity”.

The Police Mentorship Programme Outreach (PMPO) is described as “a proactive recruitment strategy to inspire high calibre Hong Kong students … to join the Force as Inspectors”.

The Cambridge University Hong Kong and China Affairs Society told Varsity that while they understood that the Careers Service is “seeking to improve graduate employment prospects” by circulating the programme, they “should be more aware of the region-specific concerns and the possible repercussions of their recommendations”.

The Force has struggled to attract and retain officers since the protests began. Speaking to Varsity, another Hong Kong student described the overseas recruitment drive as “desperate.”

“It’s hilarious that they think they can find people to serve a human-rights abusing, rule-breaking institution among a Hong Kong student body who is in general quite passionately against them”.

The Careers Service circulated the programme saying that ‘in these challenging times in the graduate labour market it may well be of interest’.

Many Hong Kong students found the decision to promote a Police Force recruitment programme inappropriate and several took to social media to express their frustration.

The PMPO is open to any Hong Kong student who is studying at, or has recently graduated from, a University in mainland China or an overseas university. The programme involves being mentored by a senior officer who also graduated from a university outside Hong Kong, as well as participation in several workshops. Participants will enhance ‘their competitiveness in the recruitment selection process’.


Mountain View

“It’s the people of Hong Kong who are leading the struggle, but they deserve our support”

The Careers Service told Varsity that although there were “obvious sensitivities” around the issue, “for the Service to have taken a unilateral decision to censor the opportunity would be problematic in itself”. They emphasised that they were happy to discuss concerns with students.

The University has previously faced scrutiny for its relationship with the HKPF. In January, the Institute of Criminology defended their MSt in Applied Criminology and Police Management which was developed in collaboration with HKPF.