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Hong Kong localism and independence

Student caught tearing down Hong Kong independence posters called hero in mainland China, vilified in city

Youngster so scared since video surfaced that she hid for a day, she says

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 September, 2017, 10:37pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 September, 2017, 6:53pm

A mainland Chinese student captured on film earlier this week tearing down posters advocating Hong Kong independence has been called a hero on mainland social media.

But the female student said she had been living in fear after becoming a target of cyberbullying in Hong Kong, with some internet users in the city warning her “not to step out of her room”.

She said she had been so scared since the video surfaced online that she had hidden for a day.

The clip of her removing the posters on the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong went viral online on Wednesday. In it she is also seen arguing with two local students.

On Thursday, mainland online news site guancha.cn published an interview with the student, which was followed by an outpouring of support on social media from mainlanders applauding her actions.

The interview was also picked up and circulated by the WeChat account of the central committee of the Communist Youth League.

The student said a sense of injustice had driven her to tear down the posters.

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

“Hong Kong is part of China. That is common sense. Moreover, it was unlawful. It is not very good to see such things on display in broad daylight. I could not stand it, so I tore them down,” she said.

The calls for Hong Kong independence made her feel “sick”, she added, “as if there is a fish bone stuck in my throat or a thorn in my eye”.

She declined to be named for fear of retaliation, only saying she was from “the north” of the country.

“Because there are not many mainland Chinese students here, I fear [the independence advocates] may be able to find me.”

She said she did not often use Facebook or local online forums because she did not understand Cantonese, but said she could still tell many posts were critical of her.

“There was a lot of criticism. I am very scared,” she said.

Explain This: why all the fuss about Hong Kong independence?

She claimed she had read online messages warning her not to “step out of her room, not to leave Chinese University”.

But in sharp contrast, she has become an accidental hero on the mainland, where social media users posted comments including “good for you”, “great girl” and “you are just wonderful”. Some also praised her for her fluent spoken English, which they said was better than that of many Hong Kong students.

Many of her friends in Hong Kong also supported her, she said.