The University of Hong Kong (HKU) posted a strangely cropped photo Tuesday night that some say deliberately cut localist activist Edward Leung out—prompting netizens to get creative with Photoshop skills of their own.
Upon news that Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho had passed away yesterday, the university published a post to commemorate his contributions to the institution. It shared a photo showing a group of students with Ho taken at the university’s Centennial Garden.
Netizens noticed that the photo—in which some students in the lower half of the shot had their foreheads sliced— was oddly cropped. They then dug up the original photo. In it, Leung, a former HKU student, is seen in the bottom half of the shot wearing a burgundy hoodie with a logo of Ricci Hall, where he lived when he was studying at the unviersity.
— William Lo (@williamontheway) May 26, 2020
The university then replaced the edited photo with the original one, but Facebook users had already began leaving comments accusing the institution of self-censorship.
“What’s wrong with Edward Leung in the photo? Isn’t he a graduate of HKU and a resident of Ricci hall???? Feel ashamed of my university for such self censorship and cowardice!!!!” Christine Zhu commented.
The university did not respond to Coconuts Hong Kong at the time of writing.
It wasn’t long before the Photoshop jobs started rolling in.
On LIHKG, netizens shared a photo cropping Edward Leung onto the heads of all the students in the original photo.
“We are all [Edward] Leung,” one user commented.
Another photo showed Ho, sitting in a wheelchair, holding a sign that reads “Hong Kong independence is the only way out.”
Here, Ho holds a sign with popular protest chant “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times.”
Leung, the former spokesperson of localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, is currently serving six years in jail for his involvement in the Mong Kok riots in 2016. That year, he was also barred from running in the Legislative Council election due to his pro-independence stance.
While the city’s social movements in the early 2010s generally shied away from violence and were largely peaceful, Leung was clear about his stance—that protesters needed to adopt a more confrontational approach in order to achieve their goals. Over the years, the sentiment appears to have entered the movement’s mainstream. The anti-government protests that began last year were markedly more violent, with protestors throwing petrol bombs and attacking police officers becoming almost a norm.
“A war or a battle is inevitable,” he told AFP in 2015.
The activist was a spiritual leader of sorts to protestors during last year’s demonstrations. The commonly-chanted refrain, “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times,” was originally Leung’s 2016 campaign slogan. When he appealed his sentence last October, hundreds turned up outside the court building to show their support.
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