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Hong Kong localism and independence

Video shows woman tearing off Hong Kong independence posters at Chinese University

She looks surprised to be filmed in the act, as student union members try to dissuade her

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 September, 2017, 11:46am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 September, 2017, 10:47pm

An online video has surfaced showing a woman speaking Putonghua and English while tearing off posters advocating Hong Kong independence at Chinese University on Tuesday evening.

In the three-minute clip, a woman – who claims to be a student at the university – stands in front of the “democracy wall” at Cultural Plaza, an area on the campus managed by the student union. She is holding some torn posters and seems surprised about being filmed.

Pro-independence banners spotted at more Hong Kong universities as defiance escalates

The wall is plastered with posters stating “Fight for Our Homeland. Fight for Hong Kong Independence”.

Earlier on Tuesday a giant banner and the posters with the independence theme had reappeared at the campus. It was the second day in a row that similar materials had created a stir when they mysteriously surfaced on the school grounds.

In the video, the woman quarrels with members of the student union, who confront her for destroying the posters.

“I think these [posters] should not be displayed,” the woman says in Putonghua.

When a union member explains to her that the posters should be left untouched, she justifies her actions in English.

“If you are talking about democracy, you can put it on, I can put it off,” she says. “I am one of the students and I don’t agree with [the posters].”

Student union threatens ‘escalating action’ in Chinese University banner row on Hong Kong independence

A union member suggests that she can put something else up to express her opposing stance, but she continues to state that she does not approve of the current posters being displayed in public.

She then turns her anger on reporters at the scene for taking photographs of her without her approval.

The woman then leaves with a man.

No one had claimed responsibility for the banners and posters. The materials were removed on Monday but they resurfaced the following day.

The university had earlier warned any advocacy of independence would be a breach of the Basic Law, which states that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China.

On Tuesday the university appeared to pin the blame on the student union for not enforcing rules on the act. Later in the day, after a meeting with Office of Student Affairs director Raymond Leung Yu-chiu, the union reiterated in a statement that it would respect the autonomy and freedom of speech of students.

It then threatened “escalating action” if heads of the university did not respond by Wednesday 7pm to the row.

By 8.30am Wednesday, the banners were still hanging in the area. Two students were seen stationed at the site to prevent the materials from being removed.

A similar confrontation was recorded at the Education University. A Facebook post on the university’s students’ union page at 7.23pm on Tuesday revealed that a “Putonghua-speaking female student” was spotted trying to destroy a pro-independence banner at the campus. She was stopped by union members and left without making any response.

Another post at 8.35pm said the banner had been removed.

“We strongly condemn whoever interfered with the union’s autonomy and hurt the freedom of speech of others … we will hang a new banner again and not succumb to such barbaric acts,” the post read.

The new banner they had since put up also vanished one hour later.