A student union at the Chinese University of Hong Kong says it is angered by the school’s removal of Republic of China flags on campus.

Flags appeared in the campus of New Asia College on Tuesday, the 106th anniversary of the nation, apparently by students. New Asia is one of nine member colleges of the university. The founders have strong ties with Taiwan, as they moved to Hong Kong to establish the institution after the communists took power in mainland China in 1949.

Though the New Asia Student Union did not put up the flags, they demanded an apology from the college’s management.

Photo: Facebook/Chinese University Student Press.

It accused the college management of removing the flags – which were displayed in areas managed by the union – but not other promotional items. It also said the college did not communicate with the union beforehand.

“The college’s attitude in ignoring students is unacceptable,” it said in a statement. “The flags caused no safety issues, there were also no protest slogans – the union cannot understand why the college removed them.”

The college used to raise Republic of China flags on October 10 – national day – but it was stopped in 1960 after a compromise was made with the colonial government. Afterwards, the college celebrated its anniversary on September 28, the birthday of Confucius.

Previously, Ernie Chow, a former Chinese University central student union president and a New Asia student, courted controversy when he used the derogatory term “chee-na” when arguing with a mainland student. The clash was related to Hong Kong independence slogans in the campus.

Photo: Facebook/Chinese University Student Press.

The institution launched an investigation into his conduct, whilst college head Henry Wong issued a statement citing college co-founder Ch’ien Mu, saying Chow “should not forget he is Chinese, should not completely deny his culture.”

Ch’ien opposed Communist rule throughout his life. He moved to Taiwan in 1967 and lived there until he passed away in 1990.

【強烈譴責書院高層侵犯學生會權力及打壓學生自由表達意見之聲明】破壞師生共治本會得悉書院擅自拆毀同學自發掛起以紀念本校校慶的青天白日紅旗,並強烈譴責書院高層侵犯學生會權力及打壓學生自由表達意見。書院是次清拆的範圍包括本會管理的旗海宣傳…

Posted by 新亞學生會 NASU on Tuesday, 10 October 2017

“The union wishes to ask Mr Wong: Which China’s dignity are you defending?” it said. “You have betrayed the teaching of our fore co-founders, we are extremely saddened.”

The student union said it may raise the flags again in protest, and reserves rights to pursue offence of criminal damage.

New Asia College has been contacted for comment.

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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.