Woman confronted by Hong Kong students after ripping off pro-independence posters at CUHK – China’s latest society and culture news

Society & Culture

A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for September 7, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - JUNE 20: (CHINA OUT; PHOTOCOME OUT) Graduates attend a graduation ceremony at Shanghai Jiaotong University on June 20, 2005 in Shanghai, China. According to the Ministry of Education, about 3.38 million college students will graduate this summer, 580,000 more than last year. Graduates face fierce job competition, as the number of graduates leaving colleges and universities have increased since 1999. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

After days of escalating tensions between the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s (CUHK) student union and school officials over pro-independence banners and posters spotted on the campus, a video surfaced on the internet on September 6 showing a woman being confronted by several Hong Kong students in front of the Democracy Wall, where controversial posts were clustered.

At the beginning of the three-minute video clip, the female student seemed surprised to find she was being filmed while holding a few torn posters, which read, “Fight for our homeland. Fight for Hong Kong independence.” Questioned by a male student in Cantonese, the woman replied in Mandarin, “I don’t understand what you are saying, but I know these things are not allowed to be posted.” Another female Hong Kong student then approached, explaining that they are members of the student union, and that Cultural Plaza, where the wall is located, is managed by the student organization. “If you don’t agree with the stuff we put on, you should put something that is against this on the wall,” she said in English.

However, the woman remained stubborn about taking down posters advocating Hong Kong independence and accused the student union of occupying the whole wall, leaving no space for opposing voices. “If you are talking about democracy, you can put it on and I can put it off,” she fired back, also in English. “You said you stand for the students, but I am one of the students and I don’t agree with this.”

According to the Hong Kong Free Press, pro-independence banners and posters started to appear at multiple locations around the CUHK campus on September 4 — the first day of the new school year. Shortly after their appearance, the materials were removed by the school authorities, who wrote a letter to the student union, stating that the discussion of independence “violated Hong Kong’s laws and also violated the school’s constant stance of absolutely opposing Hong Kong independence.” In response, the student organization said, “We cannot understand the reason why the slogan ‘HK INDEPENDENCE’ is so sensitive, since the university could never stand alone from the society, and it is our responsibility as well-educated citizens to be aware of social issues.”

Undeterred by warnings from school officials, seven student unions from universities such as the City University of Hong Kong and the Education University of Hong Kong condemned the removal of pro-independence posters at CUHK and spread similar materials on their own campuses.