Hong Kong protests: Scottish universities recall exchange students

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Students are seeking to have police banned from entering campuses

At least 66 Scottish university students who were studying in Hong Kong are being brought back to Scotland amid increasing civil unrest.

Glasgow, Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Stirling, Dundee and Queen Margaret are recalling a total of 56 students.

The University of Aberdeen is also recalling 10 of its students in Hong Kong as a result of the disruption.

The University of St Andrews said it was in regular contact with its students there.

The move to recall students follows escalating anti-government protests in recent days including violent clashes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

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

On Thursday a notice was posted on the University of Hong Kong website 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

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not advise against travel to Hong Kong but warns of the potential for "clashes between police and protesters involving significant violence."

BBC Scotland has found that:

  • The University of Edinburgh has asked 21 students to return to Scotland, after Hong Kong University cancelled classes for the rest of the term
  • Ten students from the University of Aberdeen on exchange programmes in Hong Kong are being brought home
  • The University of Glasgow has 19 students in Hong Kong and it said most have made arrangements to return
  • A total of five students with the University of Stirling are being recalled to Scotland
  • The University of Dundee has asked its six students in Hong Kong to return and is covering the cost of their travel
  • One student from Queen Margaret University is planning to return early next week
  • Four Strathclyde University students are also being recalled.

Meanwhile the University of St Andrews would not confirm the exact number of its students and staff in Hong Kong but said it was in contact with them and will "continue to monitor the situation."

Hong Kong has been racked by five months of anti-government protests.

The campaign started in opposition to a now-withdrawn plan to allow extradition to mainland China, but it has since morphed into wider demonstrations backing democracy and opposing the actions of the police.

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