«I’m not wearing this to make a political statement, I want to show my face,” says a masked man, from Hong Kong, now standing beneath the sandstone of the University of Queensland’s great court. “But even in Australia now we cannot be seen here at a protest. We are not out of sight of China’s government. They have made that clear.”
Last week, the Brisbane campus of the 110-year-old university became a flashpoint for the ongoing international backlash against the Chinese state, its influence on Hong Kong and its mass detention of its Muslim Uighur population. A protest last Wednesday, organised by Hong Kong international students against the controversial extradition law, turned violent. Pro-Chinese government students interrupted the sit-in, tearing down banners, punching and shoving.