A state-run newspaper has accused the Chinese University's student union of promoting Hong Kong independence, saying freedom of speech cannot be used as a fig leaf to cover up separatism calls.
The paper says the union has been recruiting students via social media for a new group which is to allow members to discuss the feasibility of Hong Kong breaking away from the mainland.
It's not clear who is behind the group, whose name translates into English as "Hong Kong Independence Research Society", or how many members it has. But the group is believed to have been registered under the student union, as required by university rules.
In its overseas edition, the People's Daily says the union's actions are a call for civil disobedience and self-determination, hiding under the guise of academic discussion.
The newspaper says freedom of speech cannot be cited as a defence for separatism calls which are illegal and violate the mainland constitution and the Basic Law.
The article also says students and lecturers in Hong Kong have hijacked the city's public institutions for their own ends, using freedom of speech as a shield while turning campuses into political stages.
On Wednesday, the university issued a statement reiterating its opposition to Hong Kong independence.