A tweet posted on July 17 claimed the Hong Kong University Students’ Union (HKUSU) damaged its office and blocked the pathways to the HKU train station before handing over the office to the university.
Two pictures in the post showed barricades made of furniture and bins blocking an escalator and the MTR station exit. The tweet reads, “they used the same method to destroy Hong Kong in 2019” and it has more than 350 likes and 138 retweets.
A user on Weibo has used the same set of images in a post on July 16, one day before the tweet, and made a similar claim. This post also featured another image of a poster on a wall at the university including what appears to be an added hand-written slogan that reads, when translated to English, “the revolution of our virtue (明徳革命)”However, the claim is false. Although the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force conducted a search operation inside the HKUSU building on July 16, the HKUSU did not get evicted on that day.
Also, the two photos showing the makeshift roadblocks were taken two years ago. They have nothing to do with the recent eviction of the student body.
Annie Lab found a couple of photos taken on Nov. 15, 2019, at the HKU station on flickr that show identical objects used for the barricades, compared to the images in the tweet.
We also found another photo of the station from a different angle posted by Oriental Daily News on Nov. 18, 2019.
An HKU spokesperson has also confirmed to Annie Lab via email that no objects were seen in the area in the past week. “No barricades were spotted in the locations recently where the photos were likely to be taken,” she said.
Members of Annie Lab were on campus on July 16 and saw no damages or roadblocks around the HKUSU building or the MTR station entrance.
The two photos in question were actually taken during the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill movement in 2019. Protesters set up makeshift barricades to block the entry of the police to the HKU campus then.
The other photo used in the Weibo post is likely to have been taken two years ago as well. The poster in the image was clearly designed for the graduation of the class of 2019.
The hand-written words seem to refer to a part of the movement’s slogan “時代革命 (revolution of our time”) and the first two Chinese characters of the HKU’s motto written in its insignia “明德格物” along with its Latin equivalent “Sapientia et Virtus.”
The university administrators handed a seven-day eviction notice and requested the Students’ Union to vacate the building by July 21.