|The "Lennon Wall" set up by a student organization named "Student society for spreading truth about Hong Kong" on Seoul National University campus, Friday. /Yonhap|
By Bahk Eun-ji
More university students are showing support for the Hong Kong protests by setting up symbolic democratic message boards at their campuses.
An association of local college students set up the Lennon Wall at a central library of Seoul National University (SNU), Wednesday. The organization is committed to spreading the truth about Hong Kong and urging the Korean government to back the pro-democracy movement.
According to the student group, the wall drew more than 30 messages supporting the protesters overnight. "As human beings, we have a strong sense of solidarity with you," one message reads.
The first Lennon Wall was established in the 1980s in Prague, capital of then Czechoslovakia, and was covered with graffiti and lyrics inspired by the Beatles. The colorful collages of sticky notes became a landmark feature of the 2014 Occupy protest in Hong Kong, and have returned for the latest protests there. They have also sprung up across university campuses in Seoul, in support for the protesters against a contentious extradition bill.
"We set up the wall to show our support for Hong Kong citizens who try to achieve freedom, and to condemn the Chinese government suppressing them," said Lee Soo-bin, a member of the association and president of the student council of SNU's liberal art college.
"We believe solidarity is more powerful than conflict."
The association has decided to erect another Lennon Wall at Yonsei University and it is now taking care of last-minute details such as its location and size.
"We will also try to set up more walls in other campuses."
Citizens are also showing their support for the protest movement. A civic group advocating for democracy in Hong Kong also set up a Lennon Wall last week near Hongik University after a rally there.
"We attached posters promoting the rally in a number of places in the Hongdae area before the rally on Nov. 2, but many of them had been destroyed by Chinese people from the mainland. The wall was set up to show our strong will to keep holding the rally no matter what," said Lee Sang-hyun, a member of the civil society organization.
The organization will hold another rally today at a square near Hongik University Station, with participation from 11 nongovernment organizations including Lawyers for Democratic Society, Asian Companions Against Brutality, and Korea Democracy Foundation.
Meanwhile, banners hung up by students at Yonsei University campus in Seoul to show their support for the Hong Kong protests were torn down earlier this week, according to a student group who identified themselves as Korean students of Yonsei University advocating for Hong Kong.
The members of the group said they put up four banners bearing slogans like "Liberate Hong Kong," "Free Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times," Monday, but all of them were removed within just a few hours. The student group said it was the second time those pro-Hong Kong banners had been removed on the campus. The same banners, set up on Oct. 25, were also discovered to have been removed just a day after.
The school officials denied their involvement in the removal.
"We were even not aware of the banners being put on display. Students of Yonsei are allowed to put up signs related to school activities on campus without needing approval from the school," a school official said.