Asia Minute: Voices of Dissent in Hong Kong

Sep 6, 2017

Chinese University of Hong Kong campus
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Hawai‘i gets a relatively early start on the school year, compared to most schools on the mainland. For many universities, early September means back to school. That’s the case in Hong Kong, where a new academic year is bringing new protests against the government in Beijing. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

 


Monday was the first day of classes for the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the school year is starting with controversy.

The South China Morning Post reports at least three large banners were posted with the words “Hong Kong Independence” in both English and Chinese.

The signs were taken down and no one claimed responsibility. But similar messages went up on Tuesday, including “Fight for our homeland, Fight for Hong Kong Independence.”

The outgoing vice chancellor of the University said administrators would not “overreact” to the incident, adding “the university is a place with freedom of speech.”

That freedom may be relative, a university official later warned that any advocacy of independence would break the Basic Law governing Hong Kong—which says the city is part of China.

The on campus activities come at a time when critics say there’s growing push back against dissent.

Earlier this week, Hong Kong’s public broadcaster RTHK announced it is dropping its 24-hour stream of the BBC World Service, and replacing it with the China National News—a state-run media service based in Beijing.

An online petition to restore the BBC says its removal “makes the city feel more parochial and inward-looking.”

A spokesperson for RTHK said the programming decision was “not influenced by politics.”