Security guards had to remove a mainland student after he waved a knife at students staging a protest at their graduation ceremony, which was ultimately cut short this morning.
Videos and photos circulating online show the student — wearing a brightly patterned shirt — waving the knife and singing the Chinese national anthem at graduating students at the university mall, a well-known walkway at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Campus security arrived shortly afterwards to escort him from the premises; when asked by reporters why he was holding a knife, the student responded that he had it for “self-defense.”
Graduating students at CUHK marked their graduation ceremony today by staging a protest and march on campus in Sha Tin.
Students gathered at 9am in their graduation robes and marched through campus chanting slogans, holding banners, and singing songs like “Glory To Hong Kong.”
At the actual graduation ceremony, which began at about 11am, students also turned their backs to the main stage as the Chinese national anthem was played. The university then decided to cut the ceremony short because of “special circumstances.”
Graduates turned their back to the main stage and changed “liberate Hong Kong, revelation of our time” as the national anthem was played pic.twitter.com/ZFQYcqmxYB
— Timmy Sung (@timmysung) November 7, 2019
— Jessie Pang (@JessiePang0125) November 7, 2019
University events have become opportunities for students and graduates to make political statements since the ongoing anti-government protests began.
Last month, students at Hong Kong Polytechnic University wore Guy Fawkes masks from the film V for Vendetta after department heads refused to shake the hands of at least two students who wore surgical face masks on stage in protest of a controversial mask ban.
But using a graduation ceremony to make a political statement isn’t unique to the current protest movement.
In November of 2018, students at Lingnan University took to opportunity to show Chief Executive Carrie Lam — who sits as the chancellor of publicly funded universities in Hong Kong — how they really felt on a number of issues, from opposing spending millions to build an artificial island off the coast of Lantau, to the decision to re-appoint pro-Beijing firebrand Junius Ho to the university’s governing council.