The student union at the City University of Hong Kong has accused the school of political suppression after it was blocked from selling merchandise from a pro-independence political party.
The products from the Hong Kong National Party were previously banned at Hong Kong’s largest Lunar New Year fair by the government. The student union, in response, started to prepare documents in January to provide a rent-free space to display the products for the party. All revenue generated was intended to go to the party.
The student union passed the proposal through its internal mechanism and started the sale on Wednesday, but the school told them to stop because no commercial activities were allowed inside the union’s office.
In a statement, the student union’s executive committee said it proposed to the school that the products could be moved to its cooperative store, but the school responded the store was intended to benefit students and was not for commercial activities.
The student union said if no commercial activities were allowed, all official souvenirs from the school sold at the cooperative store should be taken away as well.
“This is obviously real political suppression,” its statement read. “We will not surrender to the pressure.”
The student union said it will continue displaying the products at its office until June 30. The products included calendars, hoodies, folders, booklets and tote bags, among others.
According to the university’s student media, members of the student union executive committee also posted protest banners on the school’s public discussion boards condemning the school’s actions.
HKFP has asked the City University of Hong Kong for comment.