University of Kent students flown back to UK amid Hong Kong protests

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Image caption,
Clashes between police and protesters have grown increasingly violent

Exchange students in Hong Kong have been flown back to the UK amid rising tensions between protesters and police.

The University of Kent's Dean for Internationalisation met with those on their studies abroad last week.

Anthony Manning said: "We encouraged students to come home for their own wellbeing."

Protests over plans to allow extradition to mainland China and have become increasingly violent in recent months.

A number of clashes have broken out around universities in Hong Kong forcing many to close.

Image source, Google
Image caption,
Students from the University of Kent have returned from Hong Kong

Mr Manning said graduations planned for some of the students have been cancelled and plans have been made to pay for them to return to the UK.

In total, 15 students had been in Hong Kong, with one on a work placement.

He said: "It feels, at the moment, best to withdraw them. As the universities are closed it is best for them to come back."

The University of Kent has paid for the flights and Mr Manning added that the students' grades would not be affected.

"Many of them understand why their fellow students are behaving the way they are.

"They don't feel threatened by the students but it is the collateral damage."

On Wednesday, the Chinese University of Hong Kong said it would cancel classes for the rest of term after a violent stand-off between police and protesters.

In a statement published the same day, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said there had been "clashes around a number of universities, with a particular focus at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in Sha Tin" adding that students "should avoid areas where protesters are gathered" and "take extra care when moving around the campus".

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