A Hong Kong independence banner has been raised at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) for the second day in a row.

Pro-independence banners were spotted at multiple locations inside the school on Monday, the start of new school year, but were removed by the school within 30 minutes. One appeared at the Benjamin Franklin Centre’s Cultural Square, which is managed by the student union.

Hong Kong independence banner at CUHK on Monday. Photo: CUHK secrets.

The student union on Monday criticised the school for removing the banner without consulting it.

“School management is violating the union’s right to manage student areas – we issue our strong condemnation – the school must respect the student union’s autonomy,” it said in a statement.

The union said the school told them that the banner was removed because it was related to the “sensitive topic of Hong Kong independence.”

Hong Kong independence banner at CUHK on Monday. Photo: CUHK secrets.

“We are disappointed by the school – we hope the school will protect freedom of speech and academic freedom, and not be a puppet of the Hong Kong communist government,” the union said.

The school, however, only told local media that it did not support Hong Kong independence, without responding to questions about why it removed the banner.

A new banner appeared on campus on Tuesday, according to a CUHK student news site, CU Discovery.

文化廣場今晨再現「香港獨立」橫額【路邊社快訊】本報接獲同學通知,本日(九月五日)的清晨時段,「香港獨立」橫額再現文化廣場。昨日是中大二零一七至二零一八年度的開學日,校園內的各處都貼滿了「拒絕沉淪 唯有獨立」的單張,文化廣場則掛上了「HK INDEPENDENCE」之橫額,而校方則迅速將相關宣傳品清除。今日相關橫額再次於文化廣場掛起,未知是否同一批人士所為。據悉,暫時未有組織承認責任。

Posted by 中大路邊社 CU Discovery on Monday, 4 September 2017

The page said that the new banner was raised in the early hours of Tuesday at Cultural Square.

The student union shared the post on social media and wrote: “Facing the school’s crackdown on discussing Hong Kong independence, CUHK students are still without fear.”

On Tuesday, the secretary for the Staff-Student Centres Management Committee sent a letter to the president of the student union, saying that the discussion of independence “violated Hong Kong’s laws and also violated the school’s constant stance of absolutely opposing Hong Kong independence.”

The letter said that the school authorised students to run the square, and thus they must follow existing school rules. The secretary urged the student union to remove the banner, saying that they will take action to remove it otherwise.

HKFP has reached out to CUHK for comment.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.