DAVIS -- Unrest in Hong Kong has created tension on the University of California, Davis campus.
A video shows “Free Hong Kong” signs posted around the campus being ripped down by suspected pro-Mainland Chinese supporters. Supporters behind the signs said recently a student on campus threw one of their Hong Kong flags in the garbage.
The protests in Hong Kong began this summer when the Chinese government threatened to extradite so-called Hong Kong dissidents.
Hong Kong was a British territory until the late 1990s and while now controlled by China, it has remained semi-autonomous in that time.
On Monday, Hong Kong supporters and UC Davis students presented Congressman John Garamendi with 373 signed letters at his town hall meeting in Davis.
The group asked the Northern California representative to vote for the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which would support Hong Kong’s pro-democracy stance.
“All we want to do is just get our message out and support Hong Kong. We are not attacking anyone. We are not attacking China. We just want to get our message out that Hong Kong people want freedom, they want democracy and they want Americans’ help,” said a student named Kimberly, who presented the letters to the congressman.
For the first time, Garamendi publicly voiced his support for the Hong Kong protesters Monday. He told them he would side with them when Congress votes on H.R. 3289 as early as this week in Washington.
As for the conflict the issue has created on campus, FOX40 reached out to UC Davis officials, who replied with a statement:
We have heard concerns from students on both sides of the issue. Student affairs, global affairs and services for international students and scholars are working to educate students on freedom of expression and will meet with students who wish to do so. We do hope that all students will treat others’ views with respect, in accordance with the aspirations of our principles of community.
FOX40 contacted students and student organizations on campus who share the ideology of the Chinese government, however, did not get a response from them by Monday night.
The pro-Hong Kong group said it will hold a rally Wednesday at 2 p.m. on campus.