College students are easily triggered; they’ll protest just about anything.
A “cry in” to mourn Trump’s victory. An “Anti-Colonial Thanksgiving”. An attempt to disarm Campus Police. Even burning the flag.
With their affinity for protest, you’d think they would show solidarity with the brave protesters in Hong Kong.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
At Auburn University in Alabama, posters condemning the protesters in Hong Kong and professing support for police violence were plastered around campus:
One poster reads: “Shame on Hong Kong. What happened in Hong Kong is NOT peaceful protest. Against all acts of violence!”
The other in Chinese and English reads: “I support the HK police. You all can beat me now.”
It appears the university’s administrators approved the posters as they had a designated posting date (August 14th) and removal date (August 28th).
Pictures of the posters were circulated via the website Reddit, as the user who originally shared them described: “This is insane. The flyers are supporting the egregious human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese government in Hong Kong.”
The posters were placed around the Haley Center, “a classroom facility as well as home to the College of Education, AU Bookstore, administrative offices and one dining option”. The office of International Programs is also located there.
In a statement to campus news outlet The College Fix a university spokesperson said they were “aware” of the fliers and is “looking into the matter”. However, they failed to answer if they were launching a formal investigation into the posters or if they had violated campus policy.
The protests referenced by the posters started in response to a proposed extradition bill which would have given mainland China jurisdiction over Hong Kong, effectively eliminating the rule of law. But the protests quickly became about more than a piece of legislation, catalyzed by police brutality, growing discontent over sovereignty, and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) reaction to protesters.
Now, the protests, where American flags are often seen, have become synonymous with freedom and democracy. Even Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have issued statements supporting the protesters, representative of how West is broadly supportive of Hong Kong’s aspirations.
And while Auburn students were busy proclaiming support for police violence, thousands of college students in Hong Kong declared they would not attend class, so they could join the protests.