Massey University removes posters supporting Hong Kong protests

The posters before and after they were torn down
The posters before and after they were torn down Photo credit: Supplied

Several posters supporting protesters in Hong Kong have been ripped from Massey University campus by members of staff.

The posters were pasted on advertising columns around Massey's Palmerston North campus on Thursday night by students originally from Hong Kong.

By the following morning, the posters had all been removed.

The students who posted them told Newshub they feel suppressed by the University.

"We are not even able to speak up for our own place and telling people about what happens in Hong Kong"

"New Zealand is a country that respects and values freedom of speech so it was very disappointing to see the University have acted otherwise," the students said in an email.

Hong Kong has been in turmoil for the past seven months with violent protests over a controversial bill which would allow criminals to be extradited to China.

The students wished to remain anonymous due to fear of retribution from their home country. 

They told Fairfax they wished to express solidarity with Hong Kong, and had intentionally made posters which were not graphic.

But one of the three designs showed an illustration of a police officer shooting a protester with the words "HK police murder".

"Any poster that is placed around campus that contravenes the approved and well-known processes is removed automatically by operational staff, regardless of content," Massey communications director James Gardiner told Newshub.

"We acknowledge that staff mistakenly removed posters from an area within the purview of the Massey University Students Association and we apologise to MUSA for that and recognise they have authority over those spaces."

ACT leader David Seymour says the "censorship of legitimate views" at the university is a concern.

"Massey has now developed a taste for shutting down views and opinions that don't fit with the 'woke' worldview of its leadership and staff," Seymour said in a statement on Tuesday.

Last week, Massey University's Wellington campus pulled out of hosting Feminism 2020, an event run by controversial feminist group Speak Up for Women. 

The University cited "health and safety concerns" as its reasoning for withdrawing the event, sparking debate about freedom of speech in New Zealand.

Massey University has been contacted for comment.