The University of Exeter is known for being one of the well-diverse universities in England. The University is proud of having a wide range of students with different backgrounds, ethnicity, and culture. With this kind of environment, students from across the globe travel to study at the University of Exeter, Devon’s capital.
With this, it is also not surprising to witness kinds of protests lead by students about local and international issues.
Last October 1, a stand-off between Hong Kong and Chinese students happened in Exeter. Tackling the issue of activism and freedom, students had a heated debate. Hong Kong students participated and stood up for Hong Kong’s freedom over China. However, Chinese students defended their country’s Chairman, Mao Zedong.
Dramatic footage and a few pictures circulated on the internet showing the persistence and firmness of two groups of students. The Hong Kong students also used the pre-1997 Hong Kong flags and placards to show their support against China’s ruling. The face-off was more heated when a group of Chinese students wave Chinese flags and chanted “Chairman Mao” over them.
The protest was described that besides the loud chants, there is also an alleged pushing and shoving students from both groups.
“Free Hong Kong”, “We’ll fight for freedom”, and a pre-1997 flag was waved by the Hong Kong students.
Some believed that it was no coincidence to have the protest on the same day of celebration for China’s communist party. It actually celebrated its 70th anniversary of its ruling.
With the tension between China and Hong Kong, students did not control themselves to show their stand on the issue.
The protest is mainly to show that Hong Kong students are also rejecting China’s influence. They are concerned about Hong Kong’s future, especially with the possibility of China taking over in 2047.
The University of Exeter’s spokesperson claimed that the protest and counter-protest were monitored to keep the students’ safety. They also believed that the protest was held peacefully. It was made peaceful as possible with the help of the estate patrol team.