A Taiwanese Students’ Association promotional stall at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology was vandalised last week, with a Republic of China flag torn down and replaced with the Five-starred Red Flag of mainland China.

Student societies at the university were promoting their groups ahead of an annual election this week. A proposed cabinet for the Taiwanese Students’ Association had set up the stall.

Patrick Hsieh, the proposed president of the association, said in a Facebook post that the stall was attacked last Thursday night.

Taiwanese Students’ Association
The Taiwanese Students’ Association stall before and after vandalism. Photo: Taiwanese Students’ Association.

He said the case has been reported to the school’s student union and the president’s office.

“We will also ask the security center to check the monitor, hoping that they can deal with the situation seriously to defend our rights,” he said in a Facebook post last Friday night.

“[The] Taiwanese Students’ Association has been devoted to enhancing the relationship between Taiwanese students and building a strong connection between students from other cultures. The 6th TSA Cabinet is extremely willing to take responsibility and continue to reach this aim enthusiastically.”

The student union condemned the incident in a statement.

“All associations are chosen through elections and mandated by HKUST students. Any attacks on the basis of politics, or other motives, are attacks on the democratic system of the HKUST,” it said. “We will not tolerate any attack on the core values of HKUST including the democracy and freedom of speech that we are proud of.”

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Photo: HKUST.

The student union said it will help the association check security camera footage, and provide assistance if it decides to report the case to the police.

A spokesperson for the university told Apple Daily that it received a complaint from the Taiwanese Students’ Association last Saturday. It said it has been investigating the incident and will handle it seriously in accordance with existing procedures.

It urged students to be tolerant and respectful when expressing opinions.

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.