HONG KONG—Hong Kong students, many wearing banned black masks, chanted slogans at their graduation at the Chinese University on Nov. 7, with some holding up banners urging “Free Hong Kong, Revolution Now.”
The students defied a ban on masks that the government imposed last month in a bid to curb sometimes violent unrest that has rocked the Chinese-ruled city for more than five months.
Dressed in formal graduation gowns, many of about 1,000 students chanted as they walked to the hill-top ceremony, near the New Territories town of Sha Tin, calling for the government to respond to protesters’ “five demands, not one less” that include universal suffrage in choosing the city’s leader.
A man singing the Chinese national anthem and holding a knife during the graduation ceremony was taken away by security officers.
The protests started over a now-scrapped extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial, but have evolved into calls for democracy, an end to Chinese meddling in the city’s promised freedoms and an independent inquiry into perceived police brutality, among other things.
“Even though we are all exhausted, we should not give up,” said Kelvin, a 22-year-old information engineering graduate.
The university said it cut the ceremony short after the degrees were handed out.
The months of protests have plunged the former British colony into its biggest crisis in decades, with no sign the demonstrators plan to give up.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula, allowing it colonial freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland, including an independent judiciary and right to protest.
About 100 people, including candidates running in Nov. 24 district council elections, the lowest tier of voting, marched against violence on Thursday.
By Sarah Wu and Jessie Pang