Students have been forced to hold a forum on methods of resistance at a small student union room after both the Hong Kong Shue Yan University (SYU) and The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA) refused to provide venues for the event.

The forum was able to take place on Thursday in a small HKAPA room which did not require prior booking with the school. More than 70 guests and members of the press gathered at the public area outside the room. HKAPA Director Adrian Walter told journalists before the event began that the forum was not approved by the school and that they should go. During the event, the school broadcast announcements every five minutes asking attendees to leave.

The forum was held at a small student union room at the HKAPA.
The forum was held at a small student union room at the HKAPA. Photo: Facebook/Au Nok-hin.

The academic forum, entitled “Models and pathways of resistance – a debate between peaceful non-violence and valiant”, was organised by the Hong Kong Shue Yan University student union and originally scheduled to be held on the SYU premises on Thursday.

However, last week the student union said that the school banned the event and took the venue back, saying that it did not approve of the forum’s guests as they may promote “violent and illegal acts”. The forum’s guest speakers included Hong Kong Indigenous spokesperson Edward Leung Tin-kei and Hong Kong National Party convenor Chan Ho-tin – both of whom are pro-independence.

The poster with the modified title of the forum, and the original title below it.
Poster for the student forum. Photo: Facebook/HKSYUSU.

The event organisers then worked with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts’ student union to move the event to the school’s Jockey Club Amphitheatre instead. However, HKAPA also refused to provide the venue, claiming that it was “not available”, Ming Pao reported. The school first told journalists that it was because the premises were already booked by another party, but later notified students that the theatre was undergoing maintenance.

HKAPA Director Adrian Walter also said that the school had not received any official application regarding the event and he has yet to decide whether to punish the students for hosting a forum not approved by the school, Apple Daily reported.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.