28th June, 2013
HK Academy for Performing Arts Graduates Call for CY Leung’s Step Down
Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts hosted its graduation ceremony yesterday. Some graduates protested to CY Leung by showing him the bid, crossing their arms above their heads, and shouting “689* Step Down” as they went on stag to receive their honours. A student at the seat burst into tears as she shouted “I was REAL universal suffrage”, which won a round of applause. The graduates said “We are sorry, but we simply cannot bow to a person who has no shame and morals for the sake of the ‘stability’ (of the society)” When asked about the graduates’ protest, Leung said with a smile, “our young students, we shall achieve this goal (universal suffrage) together.”
(a short video also available here, a more detailed video here)
It was CY Leung’s first appearance as Chancellor of all tertiary institutes in Hong Kong to attend graduation ceremony yesterday. The graduating students from Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts set up a Facebook page “HKAPA Students Show 689 A Warm Welcome“, encouraging graduates to express their unwelcome of CY Leung’s attendance with different methods.
The Chief Executive Office arranged over a dozen body guards in black suits to guard the area where Leung enters the venue. Some of the body guards were at the media zone to stop journalists from leaving the area. These body guards discussed multiple times on how to handle protesters. A number of police vehicles were parked within the HKAPA campus. However, no additional security was imposed by the academy.
Around 250 degree, master and diploma graduates from various schools including Opera, Theatre & Entertainment, Dance, Drama, Film & TV and Music attended the ceremony. Students from the Drama, Film & TV and Theatre & Entertainment schools were the boldest, all protests were completed smoothly with no interference.
Seven Drama School graduates prepared their lines before getting onto stage instead of bowing to Leung, including: “carry on, people in the arts space!”, “I love drama” and “daddy and mammy I’m graduating!
Graduates from the Films & TV School focused on universal suffrage. 27 out of the 36 graduates refused to bow to Leung. A student majored in movie directing pulled up his gown and showed his bottom to Leung as he walked in front of where he sat. Some PhD students crossed their arms above their heads to show that they do not welcome Leung at their graduation ceremony. A student turned his back to Leung and said loudly to the audience “this is a better use of my time” and bowed to the audience to show that he thinks it’s a waste of time to bow to CY Leung. When Leung announced to grant the degrees to students from the Movie & TV School, around 20 students stood up with simple a placards that says “I want REAL universal suffrage”. A student busted into tears as he/she was shouting the slogan. The students voice was much louder than Leung’s announcement, and was rewarded by a round of applause.
Only 6 out of the 78 students from the Music School did not bow to Leung. A student majored in trumpet bowed to Leung three times (it is a tradition to bow three times when one attends a funeral), a student majored in string instruments shouted “689 step down!”. Half of the 65 students from the Theatre & Entertainment School crossed their arms above their heads. A student even gave Leung the bird. Leung maintained his signature smile throughout the ceremony despite the protests, whilst the teaching staff next to him were in shocked. A female student gave him a piece of paper with “Rehabilitation 4th June” written on it and said “some already expressed their desire for universal suffrage, then I’ll express my demand for the rehabilitation of 4th June crackdown!”
Over 60 students expressed their discontent to Leung during the ceremony. Ng Ka-chun, the owner of the Facebook group “HKAPA Students Show 689 A Warm Welcome”, said “Leung does not respect the people of Hong Kong. He took office after winning in a small closed group election. He lied to the people of Hong Kong and made empty promises.” Ng emphasised in the group that “we entered HKAPA because of a dream… All we only wanted was probably the recognition from the audience when we’re standing on the stage. If we are to bow to a person with no shame and morals in order to ensure stability (of the society), sorry, we cannot do it!”
Ng also revealed that the HKAPA issued memo with multiple new “rules at the ceremony” after it learnt about the Facebook group, including demanding all graduates to give a 90 degree bow to Leung, and each student must walk pass the stage within six seconds. Ng also said “the best memory for a student is we can decided who will tap on our head to grant us our degrees, and this person is definitely not CY Leung!”
Leung answered four media questions after the ceremony, and first responded to the behaviour of the students, “different students have different ways to express themselves. Some simply stood still, some gave three bows, some nodded their heads as they walked pass, and some demanded real universal suffrage.” He added, “(I) will work with people across different space, including our students to achieve this goal.” HKAPA said that they hope students would treasure the rare opportunities that their friends and family could witness (their achievements) and would respect ceremonious occasions. The HKAPA did not give any negative comments about the students’ protest.
689 is an alias for CY Leung which is meant for insulting him as he won the Chief Executive seat with 689 votes cast by the CCP selected committee