A video of a student ripping down pro-democracy posters at a university in Hong Kong has gone viral amid widespread concerns about Beijing’s tightening grip on the semi-autonomous city.
The woman, who claims to be a student of Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), is shown being confronted by student union representatives for removing posters that read “Fight for Our Homeland. Fight for Hong Kong Independence.”
The incident took place at the “democracy wall” in Cultural Plaza at the university, which is managed by the student union, reported South China Morning Post.
Posted on Facebook, the video has been watched more than 190,000 times. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, you can put it here, I can like, pull it down, okay?” says the angry student busted for tearing down the posters.
“If you’re talking about democracy, you can put it up, I can pull it down.”
“You should put something that is against this on the wall, not pull it off” responds one of the student union representatives, to which the perpetrator asks: “Who gave you the right?”
The exchange was conducted in English and Mandarin – the latter being the language of mainland China, as opposed to predominantly Cantonese-speaking Hong Kong.
“Are you guys going to expose me?” says the woman responsible for tearing down the posters, and grows angry about being videoed by the cameras.
“I already told you guys, I don’t approve of this kind of thing,” she says before walking off with a man.
The incident occurred after a “giant banner” and pro-independence posters had appeared on campus. The next day, the student union said it would respect the autonomy and freedom of speech of its students, reported South China Morning Post.
Hong Kong switched from British to Chinese rule in 1997 under the promised “one country, two systems” form of government. Beijing has increasingly tried to assert its influence over Hong Kong in recent years, leading to the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.
Last month, 20-year-old student democracy activist Joshua Wong was jailed for six months along with two other pro-democracy demonstrators, after Hong Kong’s government said an initial sentence was too lenient.
On Monday, the BBC World Service’s broadcast in the city was replaced by the Chinese Communist Party’s state-run radio programming in Mandarin. The move was widely seen as further evidence of the mainland’s efforts to encroach politically upon the Hong Kong.