Chinese students flee Hong Kong as violence intensifies

  • A student hurls a molotov cocktail into a train parked inside the Chinese University MTR station in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong battled police on multiple fronts on Tuesday, from major disruptions during the morning rush hour to a late-night standoff at a prominent university, as the 5-month-old anti-government movement takes an increasingly violent turn.

    A student hurls a molotov cocktail into a train parked inside the Chinese University MTR station in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong battled police on multiple fronts on Tuesday, from major disruptions during the morning rush hour to a late-night standoff at a prominent university, as the 5-month-old anti-government movement takes an increasingly violent turn. Associated Press

  • Students with their homemade gears take their position outside the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong battled police on multiple fronts on Tuesday, from major disruptions during the morning rush hour to a late-night standoff at a prominent university, as the 5-month-old anti-government movement takes an increasingly violent turn.

    Students with their homemade gears take their position outside the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong battled police on multiple fronts on Tuesday, from major disruptions during the morning rush hour to a late-night standoff at a prominent university, as the 5-month-old anti-government movement takes an increasingly violent turn. Associated Press

  • Protesters look out from a raised platform on a barricaded bridge which leads into the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. University students from mainland China are fleeing Hong Kong, and classes in primary and secondary schools have been suspended as clashes turn increasingly violent in the city's 5-month-long anti-government unrest.

    Protesters look out from a raised platform on a barricaded bridge which leads into the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. University students from mainland China are fleeing Hong Kong, and classes in primary and secondary schools have been suspended as clashes turn increasingly violent in the city's 5-month-long anti-government unrest. Associated Press

  • Protesters build additional barrier on a bridge which leads into the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. University students from mainland China are fleeing Hong Kong, and classes in primary and secondary schools have been suspended as clashes turn increasingly violent in the city's 5-month-long anti-government unrest.

    Protesters build additional barrier on a bridge which leads into the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. University students from mainland China are fleeing Hong Kong, and classes in primary and secondary schools have been suspended as clashes turn increasingly violent in the city's 5-month-long anti-government unrest. Associated Press

  • A pro-democracy protester with protection gears holds a bottle of molotov cocktail on a bridge outside the Chinese University campus in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters.

    A pro-democracy protester with protection gears holds a bottle of molotov cocktail on a bridge outside the Chinese University campus in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters. Associated Press

  • People walk by a road scattered with bricks and barricades by pro-democracy protesters outside the Hong Kong Baptist University, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters.

    People walk by a road scattered with bricks and barricades by pro-democracy protesters outside the Hong Kong Baptist University, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters. Associated Press

  • Molotov cocktails and lighters are prepared by pro-democracy protesters at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police have increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters.

    Molotov cocktails and lighters are prepared by pro-democracy protesters at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police have increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters. Associated Press

  • People walk by a road scattered with bricks and barricades set by pro-democracy protesters outside the Hong Kong Baptist University, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police have increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters.

    People walk by a road scattered with bricks and barricades set by pro-democracy protesters outside the Hong Kong Baptist University, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police have increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters. Associated Press

  • Pro-democracy protesters walk by a vandalized Starbucks cafe on the campus of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police have increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters.

    Pro-democracy protesters walk by a vandalized Starbucks cafe on the campus of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police have increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters. Associated Press

  • A man crosses in front of a roadblock set up by pro-democracy protesters outside the Hong Kong Baptist University, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police have increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters.

    A man crosses in front of a roadblock set up by pro-democracy protesters outside the Hong Kong Baptist University, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police have increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters. Associated Press

  • A student pushes his luggage past pro-democracy protesters as he leaves the Chinese University of Hong Kong following a clash in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. University students from mainland China are fleeing Hong Kong, and classes for primary and secondary school students have been suspended as attacks and clashes turn increasingly violent in the city's five-month long anti-government unrest.

    A student pushes his luggage past pro-democracy protesters as he leaves the Chinese University of Hong Kong following a clash in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. University students from mainland China are fleeing Hong Kong, and classes for primary and secondary school students have been suspended as attacks and clashes turn increasingly violent in the city's five-month long anti-government unrest. Associated Press

  • A pro-democracy protester takes a rest near umbrellas placed on a road outside the Chinese University campus in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters.

    A pro-democracy protester takes a rest near umbrellas placed on a road outside the Chinese University campus in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters. Associated Press

  • Pro-democracy protesters take rest near barricades set on a bridge outside the Chinese University campus in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters.

    Pro-democracy protesters take rest near barricades set on a bridge outside the Chinese University campus in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters. Associated Press

  • Pro-democracy protesters take rest on a bridge outside the Chinese University campus in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters.

    Pro-democracy protesters take rest on a bridge outside the Chinese University campus in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Police increased security around Hong Kong and its university campuses as they brace for more violence after sharp clashes overnight with anti-government protesters. Associated Press

  • Pro-democracy protesters set up their barricades at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong in the early morning on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong battled police on multiple fronts on Tuesday, from major disruptions during the morning rush hour to a late-night standoff at a prominent university, as the 5-month-old anti-government movement takes an increasingly violent turn.

    Pro-democracy protesters set up their barricades at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong in the early morning on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong battled police on multiple fronts on Tuesday, from major disruptions during the morning rush hour to a late-night standoff at a prominent university, as the 5-month-old anti-government movement takes an increasingly violent turn. Associated Press

  • A pro-democracy protester cheers on a bridge as they block a road outside the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong battled police on multiple fronts on Tuesday, from major disruptions during the morning rush hour to a late-night standoff at a prominent university, as the 5-month-old anti-government movement takes an increasingly violent turn.

    A pro-democracy protester cheers on a bridge as they block a road outside the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong battled police on multiple fronts on Tuesday, from major disruptions during the morning rush hour to a late-night standoff at a prominent university, as the 5-month-old anti-government movement takes an increasingly violent turn. Associated Press

  • Pro-democracy protesters vandalize a train parked inside the Chinese University MTR station in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong battled police on multiple fronts on Tuesday, from major disruptions during the morning rush hour to a late-night standoff at a prominent university, as the 5-month-old anti-government movement takes an increasingly violent turn.

    Pro-democracy protesters vandalize a train parked inside the Chinese University MTR station in Hong Kong, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong battled police on multiple fronts on Tuesday, from major disruptions during the morning rush hour to a late-night standoff at a prominent university, as the 5-month-old anti-government movement takes an increasingly violent turn. Associated Press

 
 
Posted11/13/2019 7:00 AM

HONG KONG -- University students from mainland China are fleeing Hong Kong, and classes in primary and secondary schools have been suspended as clashes turn increasingly violent in the city's 5-month-long anti-government unrest.

Marine police used a boat Wednesday to help a group of mainland students leave the Chinese University of Hong Kong, which remained barricaded by demonstrators after violent clashes with police on Tuesday.

 

The Technical University of Denmark urged 36 students in Hong Kong to return home, saying "some of our students have been forced to move from their dormitories because they were put on fire."

The protests have taken on a strong anti-China bent, with radical demonstrators trashing branches of mainland banks, China's official Xinhua News Agency and restaurant chains whose owners support the Beijing government.

Hong Kong is part of China but has its own legal system and greater freedoms than the mainland. The protesters say those freedoms are under threat from a city government that is beholden to Beijing. China says the protesters are rioters who want to break away from Chinese rule.

For the third day in a row, protesters caused major train service disruptions, blocked streets and rallied in the central business district. They hunkered down for expected clashes with police at university campuses.

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Mainland students have said in online posts that they are being targeted by protesters who have broken into their dormitories, spray-painted insults on walls and banged on their doors, the Beijing Evening News reported.

Many are taking advantage of a program that offers a week of free accommodation in one of a dozen hotels and hostels in the neighboring mainland city of Shenzhen, Chinese media reported.

The "Grads Home" service was established in 2013 to provide short-term accommodations for recent graduates looking for jobs in the tech hub.

Many subway and rail stations were closed after protesters threw debris on tracks and vandalized train cars. University classes remained suspended.

Hong Kong Baptist University told students that instruction and exams would be conducted online for the two remaining weeks of the semester, with arrangements for students who have returned to the mainland to join in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Education Bureau said initially that parents could decide whether to keep their children at home, then later announced that classes at primary and secondary schools would be suspended Thursday for safety reasons.

Describing the situation as outrageous, the bureau said students should stay at home "and must not participate in any unlawful activities."

Many of the masked protesters are thought to be high school and university students.

Police subdued a few protesters as a crowd gathered for a third straight day in a central business and high-end retail district, public broadcaster RTHK reported. Protesters and police remained in the area, and office workers watched from the sidewalks.

At the Chinese University of Hong Kong, students and others readied for another possible clash with police. Gasoline bombs and fires lit up parts of the campus Tuesday night, as police battled back with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Police said that over the course of Tuesday, police fired 1,567 tear gas canisters, 1,312 rubber bullets and 380 beanbag rounds. A total of 142 people were arrested and 10 people were taken to hospitals with injuries.

Security Secretary John Lee said the use of force at Chinese University was needed because protesters were dropping objects onto a roadway below.

"The police have a duty to ensure that this public safety is maintained," he told reporters. "That is why they had to ensure that they would take charge of this bridge, which previously was occupied by the mobsters."

Groups of riot police were deployed around central Hong Kong and its outlying territories to try to contain new violence. Many students at Chinese University on the outskirts of the sprawling metropolis were armed with gasoline bombs while some carried bows and arrows.

"We are afraid the police will come to attack our home and our school, and we have to protect our home and our school," said one student, who gave his name as X Chan.

The university's student union president, Jacky So, appealed for an injunction from the High Court to ban police from entering the campus without a warrant or the school's approval. Police raided the campus and fired tear gas and used a water cannon late Tuesday.

The injunction would also block police from using crowd control weapons, such as tear gas and rubber bullets, at the university. A decision was expected late Wednesday.

The city's religious leaders appealed Wednesday for an end to the violence and called on both police and protesters to show restraint.

"At this very critical point, the people of Hong Kong must unite and say no to violence," the leaders of Hong Kong's six major religious groups said in a statement.

The Chinese government's liaison office in Hong Kong said the semi-autonomous territory is "slipping into the abyss of terrorism." It called the setting of a man on fire an act of "flagrant terrorism."

On Monday, a police officer drew his gun during a struggle with protesters, shooting one in the abdomen. In another neighborhood, a 57-year-old man who was defending China was set on fire after an apparent argument.

The man remained in critical condition Wednesday, and the protester was in serious condition, the Hospital Authority said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said members of the U.S. Senate should stop trying to promote bills on human rights or democracy in Hong Kong.

"I want to reiterate that Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong. Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs and cannot be interfered by any external forces," he said at a daily briefing.

Recent weeks have been marked by escalating vandalism of train stations and shops, and assaults by both protesters and pro-Beijing supporters.

Police have arrested more than 3,500 people since the movement began in June over a now-withdrawn extradition bill.

Activists saw the bill as another sign of an erosion in Hong Kong's autonomy and civic freedoms, which China promised would be maintained for 50 years under a "one nation, two systems" principle when the former British colony returned to Chinese control in 1997.

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Associated Press journalists Yanan Wang in Beijing, Alice Fung in Hong Kong, and Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen contributed to this report.

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