Armed campus police conducted bag checks at an event about the protests in Hong Kong presented by prominent Umbrella Movement member, Alex Chow Yong-kang.
Alan Cheng, De Anza College alumnus who grew up in Hong Kong, believed the security was important.
“It is necessary.” he said. “It is necessary.”
Students stood divided between those who sided with mainland China, and those who sided with the Hong Kong protesters.
Emotions ran high as students crowded outside of the event before it began, with people from both sides of the argument discussing and holding posters with phrases such as “This is not democracy.”
Jennifer Huang, 19, math major, in tears, said no one is talking about the violence that the protestors are inflicting.
“No one knows about that,” she said.
The Hong Kong protests started in June, over the possible extradition of Hong Kong into mainland China.
The latest round of protests still occurring in Hong Kong grew from a proposed amendment to an extradition law that protestors believed would lead to political dissenters facing trial for speaking against the Chinese government.
Now, protestors have five demands that include a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, dual universal suffrage, and withdrawal of criminal charges against protestors.
The event included a lecture along with a question and answer period.
“Many mainland Chinese students have questions, very good questions. As you might know, people from Hong Kong, people from China, they receive information from very different channels and have very different perspectives about the ongoing movement in Hong Kong,” Chow said.
Some students disagreed with how the lecture was presented and the message it was giving.
“I see the flag and the picture in the lecture. It’s very misleading,” said Max Chen, a pro-mainlander, 21, economics and business major.
But others respected how the presentation was displayed.
Clara Chan, 20, music major, who was born in Hong Kong, said she appreciated that Chow provided a historical perspective.
“In Hong Kong, we are mainly focused on what is happening now,” said Chan.
Chow was part of a pro-democracy movement in 2014 that occupied various parts of Hong Kong for 79 days and whose members used umbrellas to defend themselves against police tear gas. Since then, Chow was imprisoned by the Chinese government for seven months.
Chow said he is not demanding the independence of Hong Kong from China, but that protestors are trying to advance agreements that were made in the 1980s as Hong Kong transitioned from British rule back to China.
It is important to go beyond one’s own emotions and think about the emotions that others are feeling, Chow said.
Protestors have had incidents of violence, Chow said, but the intention of the movement is a peaceful one. He believed the anger and distrust was a sad development referencing the third point of a new slogan, “Cheer up. Resist. Revenge.”
“I have students who are like ‘I can’t sleep, their getting shot and no one is reporting it,’” said Jesus Quintero, English professor.
Though the event involved many strong opinions on both sides of the issue, there were no incidents of violence.
“The students here are the future leaders,” Chow said. “You can see many young generation students, they are changing and shaping the world while they are students. No matter if it is an issue of gun control or the environmental crisis, you see many youngsters working for the future they hope to realize.”