PolyU bans screening of documentaries on bloody siege ahead of protest anniversary

The 13-day siege at the Polytechnic University was one of the most violent events during the anti-extradition protests. Photo via Apple Daily
The 13-day siege at the Polytechnic University was one of the most violent events during the anti-extradition protests. Photo via Apple Daily

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has banned its student union from screening two documentaries to mark a key anniversary of the city’s anti-extradition protests: last year’s bloody university siege.

In an email sent by the Student Affairs Office on Wednesday and shown to Coconuts, the school said they would not allow the screenings of “Inside the Red Brick Wall” and “Save PolyU” originally scheduled for next week, to go ahead.

“We urge [the union] to call off the promotion and implementation of the planned/future activities that are at the risk of violating the laws of Hong Kong, the rules and regulations of the university,” the student office wrote.

The office added that if the union did not comply, it would stop collecting membership fees on behalf of the group, and would not offer venues for the union to hold events. It said the school would also take “disciplinary actions” accordingly.

In a Facebook post, the student union condemned the administration for “suppressing their freedom” and “wip[ing] out the bloody scenes in our campus.”

Coconuts has reached out to the university’s student office but has not heard back at the time of writing.

Later this month, Hong Kong will mark one year since the siege, which saw thousands of protesters locked in a tense stand-off with police at the university for almost two weeks.


The Kowloon campus became the site of some of the most violent scenes since demonstrations broke out in the summer. Protesters manned petrol bomb-making assembly lines outside university cafeterias, and some armed themselves with bows and arrows as they fought tear gas-clouded battles with police.

Three days into the siege, hospitals were so overwhelmed by injured protesters requiring urgent medical care that they appealed to the public not to go to accident and emergency departments unless absolutely necessary.

Police arrested more than 1,300 people, many with the severe offence of rioting.

Almost 4,000 petrol bombs and around 570 “offensive weapons” were recovered on the campus.

Earlier this week, protestors added padlocks to the barricades that now line pedestrian bridges leading to the university, arranging them such that they read out protest slogans like “liberate Hong Kong” and “Save 12,” referring to the 12 Hongkongers who have been detained in Shenzhen since their ill-fated escape to Taiwan in August. (The dozen protesters have been held and denied access to lawyers for more than 80 days.)

Personnel have since cleared the padlocks, according to HK01.

The student union said on Facebook that it would make alternative arrangements for the documentary screenings.

“The students in PolyU will not blindly accept the injustice. We truly hope that everyone in the society can pay more attention towards this issue and please never forget the siege of PolyU,” the union wrote.

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