The pro-democracy protest movement was very much in the air at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology on Thursday as graduates put up yellow umbrellas during their commencement exercise.
Around 10 graduates opened their umbrellas, symbol of the ongoing Occupy campaign, as the Chinese national anthem was being played, and as they walked up the stage and bowed to the university officials, faculty and guests, RTHK reported.
“Their move has not affected the ceremony,” university president Tony Chan Fan-Cheong was quoted as saying. “They are sensible, creative and showed respect for others as well.”
He urged students to “think independently” in this “chaotic era”.
The university had earlier asked the graduating students not to open umbrellas for a long time during the ceremony, but student group ProgressUST said the graduates could decide for themselves.
University officials eventually agreed not to forbid students from holding umbrellas and even suggested that they use it when guests enter or exit the venue, the report said.
The student group had prepared 689 yellow umbrellas for the occasion, the number representing the 689 votes that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying garnered from the 1,200-member election committee to win in 2012.
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