Complaint filed over removal of pro-Hong Kong messages on campus

10/06/2019 06:56 PM
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A Lennon Wall set up at National Taiwan University of Arts  for people to express their views on Hong Kong
A Lennon Wall set up at National Taiwan University of Arts for people to express their views on Hong Kong's protest movement.

Taipei, Oct. 6 (CNA) A Hong Kong student at National Taiwan University of Arts filed a complaint with police Sunday against two Chinese students who tore down messages posted on campus in support of the ongoing democracy movement in Hong Kong.

Gary Cheung (張俊豪), a Hong Kong student enrolled in the school's Motion Picture Department, said the two Chinese students' actions severely infringed on other people's right to free speech and asked that they offer a public apology.

According to video footage provided by students, the two Chinese students were seen on Oct. 2 at around 4 a.m. tearing down post-it notes on a campus Lennon Wall, set up for people to express their views on Hong Kong's protest movement.

Cheung said Hong Kong students at the school tried to solve the problem through the university by seeking to communicate with the two Chinese students through its international affairs department.

He said they wanted to learn the motivation behind the Chinese students' actions in the hope they would make a public apology.

Fearing conflict between the two student camps, however, the school said it was not an opportune time for talks even though the Hong Kong students promised no recording of the process and no privacy leaks and agreed to sign a non-disclosure agreement, according to Cheung.

On Saturday, Hong Kong students heard that the two Chinese students were only willing to give a written apology but were reluctant to meet with them, Cheung said.

He felt, however, that anyone who expressed their opinion by posting messages on the wall deserved an apology for the breach of freedom of speech, leading him to file a complaint at Banqiao Police Precinct.

In addition to tearing down messages, some people posted empty post-it notes to cover messages on the wall, which Cheung said was no different from damaging the posted messages and showed disregard for freedom of expression.

In a separate case Saturday, Tainan police referred a man to prosecutors for tearing down posters in support of the Hong Kong democracy movement on a Lennon Wall set up outside National Cheng Kung University.

Surveillance footage showed the man removing posters from the wall, according to police authorities. It was the first report of Lennon Wall vandalism received by police in Tainan, they said.

NCKU Secretary-General Lee Ching-chang (李俊璋) said Sunday that students applied to set up a Lennon Wall outside the school campus, and the school granted them permission based on the principle of administrative neutrality and respect for freedom of speech.

(By Shen Peng-da, Yang Sz-ruei and Evelyn Kao)


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