Australian universities become battleground over Hong Kong protestsWatch
Public rallies and other acts of solidarity have been staged at several campuses during the civil unrest, including the emergence of "Lennon walls" plastered with sticky notes extolling the virtues of free speech and democracy.
But that has angered some mainland Chinese students, who have physically confronted protesters, torn down message boards and demanded universities provide a safe space free of political messages that "insult" their homeland.
Chinese mainland activists listed a pro-Hong Kong demonstrator's home address in Melbourne on the popular messaging app WeChat, and discussed reporting mainland-born Chinese who supported the students to Beijing authorities for "welfare" when they get home.
Tensions have also been felt in New Zealand, with scuffles flaring at the University of Auckland.
The universities remain quiet, weighing support for free speech against the lucrative supply of mainland Chinese students.
The Chinese government does not appear to have tried to quiet the tensions, with consulates in Auckland and Brisbane praising the "spontaneous patriotism" of pro-Beijing students.
Applications from Chinese students to study at UK universities have gone up 30% since last year, with numbers exceeding those from Northern Ireland for the first time, according to official statistics.
I wonder if these conflicts will spill over here too, when summer is over?
A second pro-Hong Kong rally has been held in Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday after clashes with Chinese patriots on Friday night sparked a police warning that violence would not be tolerated.
A pro-China march has also been held in Sydney, with videos showing hundreds descending on the city’s Town Hall, chanting “Long Live China” and singing the Chinese national anthem.
“If Hong Kongers don’t love Hong Kong, get the **** out,” some protesters reportedly chanted. “If you don’t love China, you’re our enemy. Isolate them. Get the **** out.”
Rallies have also been held in Adelaide and Brisbane and follow months of demonstrations in Hong Kong.
In Melbourne, more than a hundred people gathered outside the State Library on Swanston Street on Saturday for a peaceful rally in solidarity with protesters in Hong Kong. Among them were members of Melbourne’s Uyghur community as well as Tibetan and Vietnamese groups, carrying flags, posters and signs reading “We love Hong Kong! We love Australia” and “Step Down Carrie Lam Puppet. Let the HK people vote.”
A handful of people began shouting at the group but were escorted away from the rally by police, who had an increased presence compared with an event held at the same location where violence broke out.
Some videos here: https://twitter.com/maree_jun/status...43983252529153