Officers from Hong Kong’s national security police department entered the Chinese University campus on Friday after over 100 graduating students rallied, chanted slogans and raised flags that were deemed pro-independence a day before.
They displayed flags that read “Hong Kong, the only way out” and “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times,” sprayed graffiti of the slogans and sang the protest anthem Glory to Hong Kong. They marched peacefully from the local train station to the “Million Boulevard” walkway.
The university called the police and condemned the “illegal acts and irresponsible behaviour,” prompting the force’s national security department to take over the investigation. Officers entered the campus on at 3pm on Friday via Bridge No 2 – the scene of a fierce protest battle last year.
Around 40 plainclothes officers from the department were on site, according to Oriental Daily. They obtained CCTV footage from the university security office and took photos along the route of Thursday’s march whilst some officers visited residential halls.
Around seven to eight police vehicles were parked on campus.
During the investigation, a security guard claimed to have fell to the ground during a scuffle with a citizen journalist. The journalist said he would willingly accept any police investigation.
Police officers left the scene at around 5pm.
CUHK was one of the battlegrounds that was severely damaged during a police operation to curb protests in November last year. The annual congregation was scheduled to take place on Thursday, but the ceremony was changed to an online event whilst students called for a rally on the day to show support to the pro-democracy movement and the 12 Hongkongers currently detained in China.
Gov’t and Liaison Office condemn rally
The government released a statement late Thursday alleging that graduates were violating the national security law: “Police attach great importance to and severely condemn the blatant violation of the National Security Law and criminal damage at the campus,” the government spokesperson said.
Beijing’s Liaison Office also condemned graduates who participated in the rally for “promoting” independence and blatantly “tearing society apart.” The spokesperson also slammed the graduates as being brutal and tainting the campus with their graffiti: “We firmly support the special administrative region’s national security bodies to enforce the law resolutely and speedily handle the case in accordance with law.”
“After the enactment of the national security law, over a year of disorder and threats to citizens’ safety was just beginning to improve,” it read. “A small number of them deluded students to provoke trouble with their wicked political motives. They will not win popular support.”