Poster celebrating 9/11 appears at HKU

Local | Amy Nip 15 Sep 2017

Tertiary students yesterday continued to challenge the limits of democratic freedom with a fresh poster in the University of Hong Kong to "celebrate" the 16th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack.

The HKU students' union, which manages the wall, said it did not agree with the poster's message, but would leave it alone to respect freedom of expression.

Such controversial posters have been appearing on "democracy walls" of universities, with some advocating Hong Kong independence and others mocking Undersecretary for Education Christine Choi Yuk-lin over the death of her eldest son as well as Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo who died recently. While the poster mocking Choi has since been removed, public pressure is mounting on universities to tighten their grip on independence advocacy.

Lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu will organize a rally in Admiralty against independence advocacy in universities, and to demand that HKU sacks Occupy founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting from the law faculty.

Police have issued a no objection notice for the rally. Ho expects up to 2,000 people to attend.

But some HKU staff have accused him of interfering with academic freedom. Yesterday he retaliated by calling them "fake academics."

Chinese University pro vice chancellor Dennis Ng Kee-pui said posters could stay up "for now" while the university sought to communicate with students - meaning the posters may be removed after discussions.

Conflicts between mainland and local students over postings on the democracy wall in Chinese University also triggered a storm in the mainland. A mainland female student who tore off a pro-independence poster from the wall has been hailed as a heroine on the internet. In contrast, another mainland student, Tang Lipei, in his 20s, who was skeptical of her and used a derogatory term when arguing with other netizens, was singled out by state media Global Times.

His alma mater Luzhou Tianli International School in Sichuan even removed his name from its website.

Tang posted an article on his Weibo page saying the female student had "twisted democracy."

When netizens accused him of supporting independence, he scolded them as "shi maggot" - a combination of "Shi- na and maggot."

A week after he published the first article, Tang deleted all his postings and declared that he was a Chinese who "loves his motherland."

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