Edinburgh University recalls exchange students from Hong Kong

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Protesters stand in front of a burning barricade at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) on Wednesday

Students on exchange programmes to Hong Kong have been ordered to return to Scotland amid increasing civil unrest.

The University of Edinburgh has recalled 21 students after Hong Kong University (HKU) cancelled classes for the rest of the term.

It follows escalating anti-government protests in recent days including violent clashes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

The University of Edinburgh has partnership programmes across Asia.

CUHK saw clashes overnight on Tuesday as police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at masked protesters, who in turn started fires and threw petrol bombs.

All schools and kindergartens were closed by the education bureau on Wednesday.

On Thursday, on the HKU website, a notice was posted which effectively closed the campus down. It said it would only maintain "essential and emergency" services on campus.

Image source, UHK
Image caption,
The announcement on the UHK website

It said: " In view of the uncertain and unsafe traffic conditions for travelling to HKU, we are suspending classes on the main campus for the rest of the semester and making teaching and learning accessible online.

"This will enable students to stay away from campus, and even leave Hong Kong should they wish, while at the same time completing their courses and assessments."

A spokeswoman from the University of Edinburgh said: "The suspension of classes at educational institutions in Hong Kong has affected 21 Edinburgh students, who are currently on exchange there.

"We are therefore requesting that all of our students in Hong Kong return to the UK, at their earliest opportunity.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Protesters in the grounds of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)

"We are providing advice and support to each affected student to ensure all are in a position to return to the UK."

Tensions rose on Monday after a weekend of vigils and demonstrations after a 22-year-old student protester died on Friday.

Alex Chow fell from the ledge of a car park during a police operation a week ago.

Images on Wednesday showed students and demonstrators still at the CUHK campus, some armed with petrol bombs or other weapons including bows and arrows.

In a statement, CUHK said it was shortening the academic term and would not resume classes until 6 January 2020, "in view of the escalation of social movements across the territory, the continuous disruption to public transport services [and] the severe damage done to facilities".