Proclaim The Truth and Do Not Be Silent Through Fear – Declaration of Students’ Unions of Higher Institutions on the Suppression on HKPUSU’s Right to Manage Democracy Wall by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

 

On 24th September, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students’ Union (hereafter “HKPUSU”) changed half of the Democracy Wall into “Lennon Wall” to allow students to express their opinions freely and to commemorate “Umbrella Movement”. Unexpectedly, two days later (26th September), As The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (hereafter “the University”) claimed that sensitive political topics shall not be discussed or mentioned on Democracy Wall, they intervene the management right of HKPUSU by requiring HKPUSU to abandon “Lennon Wall” within 24 hours. Otherwise, the HKPUSU’s right to manage Democracy Wall will be withdrawn by the University. Later, the University covered the Democracy Wall with red papers, tampering regulations on Democracy Wall without authorisation, forcibly taking over Democracy Wall, and suppressing students’ freedom of expression.

On 1st October, HKPUSU and its sub-organisations issued a joint statement to condemn the actions taken by the University. More than 2,000 students signed on the statement, urging for the University’s response. However, students’ opinions have consistently been neglected. As such, on 4th October, students went to the President’s Office to ask for a public response. Yet, they were refused by the University. Since the Democracy Wall incident involves the interests of all students and teaching staff, HKPUSU wishes to seek an open and transparent conversation. Therefore, on 5th October, HKPUSU invited the University to attend the open forum. It was hoped that in the forum, the incident can be discussed and a proper response can be given by the University. Yet, the University still refused to attend.

The unreasonable and unruly suppression, as well as refusals of the University, have driven students into a corner. On 5th October, Lam Wing Hang, President of HKPUSU and Yuen Pak Leung, Council Chairperson announced an indefinite hunger strike and occupation until a satisfactory response is received.

Students’ Unions of higher institutions hereby reaffirm, HKPUSU as the only organisation which owns the management right of Democracy Wall, the University has no right to prohibit students from expressing their opinions. Students have the right to post any slogan that complies with the regulations on Democracy Wall, and their speech is also protected by freedom of speech. The University unreasonably suppressed the freedom of speech, and consistently ignored students’ requirements. Students’ Unions of higher institutions strongly condemned the unruly actions taken by the University. The two students of the University have been driven into a corner, to go for a hunger strike. However, until now, the University only concerned about the arrangement of the Information Day, ruthlessly ignored students’ health. It is such a shame that the University thoroughly neglected the benefits of students.

The two students spare no effort to fight for students’ autonomy and freedom of expression in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Their assertion shall be appreciated. We hereby urge different sectors of the society to pay attention to the incident and support the two students. We strictly request the University to recognise the autonomy of HKPUSU, to promise not to interfere the management right of HKPUSU, and to fulfil the requirements made by HKPUSU and University staff, before there is no more room for negotiation.

City University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
Hang Seng Management College Students’ Union
Student Union of Chu Hai College of Higher Education
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Students’ Union
The Hong Kong University Students’ Union
The Provisional Executive Council of the Education University of Hong Kong Students’ Union
The Student Union of the Chinese University of Hong Kong

6th October 2018