Students who repainted anti-Beijing slogans on their campus have won support from professors. The protest messages on Swire Bridge say: 'Never end the democratic movement'. They had been removed by university authorities last month, but students painted fresh slogans on the pavement between buildings on Saturday. 'The slogans did not greatly destroy the university's property,' said Professor Peter Lee Nan-shong of the Department of Government and Public Administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. 'I think the university should be lenient enough to allow students to express opinions on the bridge. 'It is encouraging to see students repaint the slogans which show their great concerns towards China.' Professor Lee also said students should be encouraged to learn more about China before the handover. The political messages were originally painted after the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown and have been repainted in white each year. Professor Joe Lau Yen-fong, at the Department of Philosophy at Hong Kong University, said: 'University is a place for assurance of freedoms and democracy. The slogans are not meaningless drawings, but have special meanings.' He said the authorities should leave the messages alone, granting an exception to their usual rules about graffiti. 'The university authorities should arrange another place for the slogans if they insisted on removing them,' he said. Professor Joseph Cheung, who has taught Chinese politics at City University for more than 20 years, also said the students' action was acceptable. He said students should be encouraged to think more about China. 'The universities have put enough efforts in encouraging students to learn more about China. There are thousands of books in libraries and seminars on Chinese affairs are held everyday.' Student union current affairs committee chairman Wong Chun-sing said: 'We are just following a long-held tradition of repainting the slogans every year. It would not have the same meaning if we did something else. 'If the university had said right from the very beginning that the paint dirtied the property and asked students to remove it, it would have been more reasonable then. But now it has developed into a tradition. 'However, it doesn't mean everyone should splash paint around everywhere. I think students' freedom of expression should employ appropriate channels,' he said. The union plans open meetings when term starts, to invite university authorities to explain their position. An HKU spokesman said: 'The University of Hong Kong maintains that any defacement of university property is against university regulations. It is our policy to make sure university property is not defaced. 'We respect students' right to free expression and speech, but students should use normal ways as indicated in activity guidelines. 'We should have washed away the graffiti right away if it were not for students' sentiments over the June 4 incident.'