In November over 170 people protested against the Carrie Lam's fellowship at Wolfson CollegeJoe Cook

Wolfson College has announced its Governing Body will be “considering Mrs. [Carrie] Lam’s position as an Honorary Fellow of the College”, following the enactment of a controversial National Security Law in Hong Kong, which many see as threatening freedom and autonomy in the city.

The Cambridge University college stated that it “strongly supports the protection of human rights and the freedom of expression of all its members” and “is deeply concerned by recent events in Hong Kong following the enactment of the National Security Law.”

As Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam has faced considerable criticism, however the move to reconsider her fellowship departs from the College’s previous stance on the matter when faced with a student inquiry and protests.

In November 2019 Wolfson told Varsity that college President Professor Jane Clarke had written to Carrie Lam to express concern over events in Hong Kong, but that the College had decided not “to take any action” over Lam’s Honorary Fellowship.

Lam was given the Honorary Fellowship in 2017. Wolfson states on its website that these fellowships “are awarded to persons of distinction whom the College holds in high standing”.

Many of those protesting in November held placards referencing Lam's Honorary FellowshipJoe Cook

A spokesperson for the College explained to Varsity in 2018 that, “Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is a Wolfson alumna, having completed a programme for senior government administrators in Cambridge.


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“It is this connection, and her many achievements in the Hong Kong administration, including being the first woman elected Chief Executive, that led to her fellowship.”

The College has faced ongoing protests from students against Lam’s fellowship. In November around 170 protesters marched to Wolfson labelling Lam a “murderer” and shouting “shame on you Wolfson”.

The November protest was also met by around 110 pro-Beijing counter-protesters, although few of these were Cambridge University students.

Three members of the House of Lords also wrote to the College and Cambridge University during the same period, calling on them to revoke the fellowship and describing the protests in Hong Kong as a “direct result of Ms Lam’s combination of incompetence and aggressive approach”.

Wolfson’s move to reconsider the fellowship comes two days after the enactment of Hong Kong’s national security law, which was passed unanimously in the National People’s Congress of China on 30th June, one day before Hong Kong’s Handover Anniversary Day.

While Lam has said the law is needed to “restore stability”, it has been condemned around the world, with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab labelling the new measures a “flagrant assault” on freedoms of speech and protest.

The law introduces four broad offences of “Secession”, “Subversion”, “Terrorist Activities”, and “Collusion with a Foreign Country or with External Elements to Endanger National Security”, all with the highest penalty of life imprisonment.

A Committee for Safeguarding National Security will be established to oversee the implementation of the law, and will be reporting directly to the Chinese government.


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As Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Lam will be chairing the committee, whose work will not be disclosed and its decisions ineligible for judicial review.

In instances where Hong Kong local law contradicts the national security law it will be bypassed, giving Beijing huge new direct powers over the city.

The British government today announced in response to the law that up to three million Hong Kong residents will be offered the chance to settle in the UK and the chance to become British citizens.