Chinese Student Caught Tearing Down Pro-Hong Kong Democracy Posters From Australian University

An overseas Chinese student has been captured on video tearing down posters supporting democracy and freedom in Hong Kong and China at the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia—an incident highlighting the ongoing influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) indoctrination has had on the Chinese people. The video was posted on the Twitter account of student activist Drew Pavlou on Feb. 17 and showed a young Chinese woman—presumably a student—angrily tearing posters, some already old and tattered, off a “Lennon Wall” on university grounds, which was set up by students in 2019 in solidarity with pro-democracy rallies in Hong Kong at the time. Pavlou credited the video to Billie Krugelman. A man can be heard in the video engaging in conversation with the lady whose face was blurred out. The woman initially asked if the camera had been turned on. “Your camera has been on? You are ruining my liberty,” she said in the video. BREAKING NEWS: Chinese international student caught on video ripping down posters supporting Hong Kong democracy and criticizing Chinese dictatorship at University of Queensland Lennon Wall, laughs about Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps and denies Tiananmen Massacre pic.twitter.com/7qX1jcqtzY — Drew Pavlou For Senate (@DrewPavlou) February 17, 2022 He responded, “I’m allowed to film here.” “I don’t want to show my face,” she continued. “I just want to show that I’m not (afraid) to show my freedom. This is my freedom to ruin this.” The man responded calmly, asking why she thought it was right to rip the posters down. “I don’t think I’m right, but you think you are right to tell these lies to the students, especially those teenagers?” she responded. “I don’t think they are lies,” the man replied. “I don’t think that any of those are lies, can you point to a specific one that is?” “You don’t think they are all lies, and I think you have the time to figure out what lies to show here,” she said. The man then points to a partially ripped image of the famous “tank man” incident where a man stands in front of a line of tanks during the Tiananmen Square Massacre. “Are you aware of what happened then?” he asks. People post notes on a makeshift Lennon Wall to support the Hong Kong democracy movement at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, on Aug. 9, 2019. (Patrick Hamilton/AFP/Getty Images) “No, I don’t know about that because I haven’t been born yet; it happened 40 to 50 years ago, right … It happened decades ago,” she replied. “Why are you concerned about things that happened decades ago? I’m just thinking about now; I’m thinking about the students and teenagers; they will be influenced by this wall.” The man responded that the poster was to help people “think twice” about incidents such as the persecution of the Uyghur minority in China’s western Xinjiang province. “As far as I’m aware, there are Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps,” the man said. “Concentration camps. Ha, ha, ha,” the woman responded. “Do you have jails in Australia, you have jails in Australia.” She then ran off. In a later Twitter post, Pavlou revealed the Lennon Wall was being put together again. “We are never going to accept Chinese government censorship on Australian university campuses,” he wrote on Feb. 20. This is not the first time the Lennon Wall has been the subject of anger from Chinese international students. In August 2019, not long after the Wall was set up, four masked men were caught on surveillance footage tearing down the display. The incident occurred just two weeks after violent clashes were instigated on university grounds by Chinese students against Hong Kong pro-democracy supporters. University of Queensland (UQ) student and activist Drew Pavlou participated in a protest in support of Hong Kong outside the Chinese consulate on May 30, 2020, in Brisbane, Australia. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, an analyst at the Australia Strategic Policy Institute, wrote in October 2019 of how the concept of nationalism had been “hijacked” by the Chinese regime to “indoctrinate its citizens and the diaspora.” Xu said pride in China’s achievements was distorted to represent “pride in the CCP,” which was a narrative channelled into schoolchildren and the public—causing them to lash out against any perceived slight against the party or country. “They have also been manipulated to believe that criticism of the Chinese authorities is an attack on the Chinese people and motivated by anti-Chinese racism,” according to Feng Chongyi, associate professor of China studies at the University of Technology Sydney, in an interview with The Epoch Times. Feng had spoken about how overseas students, who were away from family and networks, were even more susceptible to the influence of CCP propaganda, mainly when they engaged with WeChat or Chinese associations. “In reality, they have little contact with [local] students, are not involved in local culture, and do not

Chinese Student Caught Tearing Down Pro-Hong Kong Democracy Posters From Australian University

An overseas Chinese student has been captured on video tearing down posters supporting democracy and freedom in Hong Kong and China at the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia—an incident highlighting the ongoing influence of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) indoctrination has had on the Chinese people.

The video was posted on the Twitter account of student activist Drew Pavlou on Feb. 17 and showed a young Chinese woman—presumably a student—angrily tearing posters, some already old and tattered, off a “Lennon Wall” on university grounds, which was set up by students in 2019 in solidarity with pro-democracy rallies in Hong Kong at the time.

Pavlou credited the video to Billie Krugelman.

A man can be heard in the video engaging in conversation with the lady whose face was blurred out.

The woman initially asked if the camera had been turned on.

“Your camera has been on? You are ruining my liberty,” she said in the video.

He responded, “I’m allowed to film here.”

“I don’t want to show my face,” she continued. “I just want to show that I’m not (afraid) to show my freedom. This is my freedom to ruin this.”

The man responded calmly, asking why she thought it was right to rip the posters down.

“I don’t think I’m right, but you think you are right to tell these lies to the students, especially those teenagers?” she responded.

“I don’t think they are lies,” the man replied. “I don’t think that any of those are lies, can you point to a specific one that is?”

“You don’t think they are all lies, and I think you have the time to figure out what lies to show here,” she said.

The man then points to a partially ripped image of the famous “tank man” incident where a man stands in front of a line of tanks during the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

“Are you aware of what happened then?” he asks.

Stand with Hong Kong Wall University of Queensland
People post notes on a makeshift Lennon Wall to support the Hong Kong democracy movement at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, on Aug. 9, 2019. (Patrick Hamilton/AFP/Getty Images)

“No, I don’t know about that because I haven’t been born yet; it happened 40 to 50 years ago, right … It happened decades ago,” she replied. “Why are you concerned about things that happened decades ago? I’m just thinking about now; I’m thinking about the students and teenagers; they will be influenced by this wall.”

The man responded that the poster was to help people “think twice” about incidents such as the persecution of the Uyghur minority in China’s western Xinjiang province.

“As far as I’m aware, there are Uyghur Muslims in concentration camps,” the man said.

“Concentration camps. Ha, ha, ha,” the woman responded. “Do you have jails in Australia, you have jails in Australia.” She then ran off.

In a later Twitter post, Pavlou revealed the Lennon Wall was being put together again.

“We are never going to accept Chinese government censorship on Australian university campuses,” he wrote on Feb. 20.

This is not the first time the Lennon Wall has been the subject of anger from Chinese international students.

In August 2019, not long after the Wall was set up, four masked men were caught on surveillance footage tearing down the display. The incident occurred just two weeks after violent clashes were instigated on university grounds by Chinese students against Hong Kong pro-democracy supporters.

Epoch Times Photo
University of Queensland (UQ) student and activist Drew Pavlou participated in a protest in support of Hong Kong outside the Chinese consulate on May 30, 2020, in Brisbane, Australia. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Vicky Xiuzhong Xu, an analyst at the Australia Strategic Policy Institute, wrote in October 2019 of how the concept of nationalism had been “hijacked” by the Chinese regime to “indoctrinate its citizens and the diaspora.”

Xu said pride in China’s achievements was distorted to represent “pride in the CCP,” which was a narrative channelled into schoolchildren and the public—causing them to lash out against any perceived slight against the party or country.

“They have also been manipulated to believe that criticism of the Chinese authorities is an attack on the Chinese people and motivated by anti-Chinese racism,” according to Feng Chongyi, associate professor of China studies at the University of Technology Sydney, in an interview with The Epoch Times.

Feng had spoken about how overseas students, who were away from family and networks, were even more susceptible to the influence of CCP propaganda, mainly when they engaged with WeChat or Chinese associations.

“In reality, they have little contact with [local] students, are not involved in local culture, and do not join the union of local student organisations,” he wrote in a blog.


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Daniel Y. Teng is based in Sydney. He focuses on national affairs including federal politics, COVID-19 response, and Australia-China relations. Got a tip? Contact him at [email protected]