The University of Hong Kong has stepped up security at its campus in Pok Fu Lam, with visitors having to go through identity and security checks, ahead of a plan by its student union to rebuild a so-called Lennon Wall there that was vandalised over the weekend.
In a letter to students and staff on Monday, executive vice-president Steve Lo Chit-ki said “stricter access control measures” would be imposed on the university’s main and centennial campuses.
“Students and staff are reminded to bring their valid [university ID] cards and visitors should produce relevant documents when coming onto campus through all entrances, as authorised personnel may perform checks as needed,” Lo’s letter read, noting that those entering the university by car would also be subject to the same measures.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
“Visitors without relevant supporting documents may be required to provide personal particulars for our records. Authorised staff at the entrances may conduct random checks of the bags and items brought with those entering the campus.”
Around 20 “outsiders”, most of them reportedly middle-aged, vandalised the Lennon Wall on the campus’ University Street on Saturday night, tearing down messages supporting last year’s anti-government protest movement, according to videos posted on the Facebook page of the student union.
In a separate post, the union asked its peers to join in the rebuilding of the Lennon Wall at 1pm on Tuesday, with students expected to replace the destroyed posters.
“The union strives to safeguard the freedom of expression of students. We shall never tolerate any vandalism of the Lennon Walls. We shall stand firm against tyranny and self-censorship in this last bastion of freedom of speech,” the post said.
The posters on the Lennon Wall had, among other things, called for “withdrawing criminal charges against all protesters”, and referred to the mainland Chinese government by the derogatory term “Chi Nazi”.
Saturday’s incident was the second time the Lennon Wall on campus had been vandalised in recent months. On July 11, at least eight white-clad people similarly tore apart posters hanging there.
Lennon Walls popped up throughout the city during last year’s protests – which were sparked by the now-withdrawn extradition bill, but evolved into a movement for police accountability and democratic reforms – as places for supporters to post slogans and notes of encouragement. However, the walls quickly became hotspots for conflict between opposing political camps in the city.
The original Lennon Wall was established in the 1980s in Prague, in the Czech Republic, and was covered with graffiti and lyrics inspired by the Beatles following the murder of band member John Lennon.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Hong Kong police arrest 10 people after fight broke out at a Lennon Wall over political differences
- Hong Kong protests: man fined for slapping passer-by in row over removal of messages on Lennon Wall
- Hong Kong protests: autistic man jailed for two weeks for assaulting two people at Lennon Wall last year