Convocations all fired up

Top News | Sophie Hui 8 Nov 2019

Chinese University has cut short its graduation ceremony after more than 100 students and graduates protested and a mainland student pointed a knife at them.

The CUHK students and graduates, many wearing surgical or Guy Fawkes masks, marched from University MTR station at Ma Liu Shui, Sha Tin, at 9 am to the university mall, where the graduation ceremony was to take place at 10 am.

They carried placards and banners reading "CUHK stands with Hong Kong" and "Five demands, not one less," while chanting slogans.

When the national anthem was being played at the start of the ceremony at university mall, the graduates turned their backs on the main stage and chanted "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time."

About half an hour before the ceremony, a mainland student pointed a small knife at others while singing the national anthem as students chanted slogans at the Beacon in the mall.

The mainlander, 20, said he brought the knife along to protect himself following reports that a mainland student had been hit at a Hong Kong University of Science and Technology forum on Wednesday.

No one was injured and the mainlander was taken away by university security staff and the other students continued to chant slogans. He has been arrested for possession of an offensive weapon.

Graduates cheered and clapped as vice-chancellor Rocky Tuan Sung-chi gave his speech.

Tuan expressed deep regret, saying the happy occasion for graduates and their families had been compromised, and there was some defacement of university property.

He ditched his prepared speech as he said he wanted to talk to the graduates "directly from my heart."

"After you graduate, it is a time to share, it is a time to serve. You will be serving your community, whichever community you happen to be in," he said.

The ceremony was cut short after all degrees were conferred.

A spokesman said the decision was made after quarrels erupted and graffiti was sprayed.

On the knife-wielding student, the spokesman said the university had called in the police.

The university's student union condemned police for entering the university campus early yesterday.

Seven or eight students were stopped by police near the statue of the goddess of democracy at about

3.40 am yesterday because police said a restaurant near the university had been vandalized.

Police questioned some of the students and collected identity card details. No arrests were made.

Meanwhile, the HKUST had similar protests as it held its congregation ceremony at the HK Jockey Club atrium in the Clearwater Bay campus yesterday.

Students protested in support of the 22-year-old computer science student Chow Tsz-lok, who suffered brain injuries and remains in a critical condition at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

He fell four meters from a Tseung Kwan O car park building on Monday as police and protesters clashed near Sheung Tak Estate.

Students chanted protest slogans after the national anthem was played in the ceremony.

In his speech, university president Wei Shyy also talked about Chow.

"In our hearts, we also know one of ours is in hospital. Let's join his parents and all family members in supporting him," Shyy said.

Some graduates wore masks, and raised their hands as a symbol of the five protest demands, while some did not bow to Shyy.

About 20 students stormed the stage holding placards and chanting slogans before another ceremony in the afternoon.

Another 100 students gathered outside, asking Shyy to condemn police violence.

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