Ministry of Education organizes emergency flight to get Taiwan students out of Hong Kong after violence escalates

Taiwan’s Ministry of Education arranged a special flight for 85 students who requested help to return home, after violent conflicts between protesters and police spread to a university campus, yesterday, November 12.

Another 41 Taiwanese students purchased tickets on regular flights to Taiwan.

According to the MOE, there are a total of 1,021 Taiwanese students enrolled at universities in Hong Kong, including exchange students. Around 300 Taiwanese students are enrolled at China University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

CUHK remained barricaded today, after a police raid of the campus yesterday ignited a violent clash that saw Molotov cocktails thrown by protesters.

conflict at China University Hong Kong
Picture: Tommy Cheung Sau-yin 張秀賢 @tommycheungsy

Yesterday’s conflicts across Hong Kong saw police fire 1,567 tear gas canisters, 1,312 rubber bullets, and 380 beanbag rounds.

Ministry of Education officials took action this morning after receiving a request for assistance from staff based in Hong Kong. The Ministry of Education coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Mainland Affairs Council, and China Airlines, to coordinate a flight to depart Hong Kong this evening November 13.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong, which acts as a de facto embassy in the beleaguered territory, organized buses to transport the students from the besieged university to the airport.

CUHK announce suspension of classes today, and an early end to the semester. Students can continue their studies online, university officials said.

Other universities have also announced suspension of classes.

Some universities in Taiwan, including NCTU, are coordinating with the MOE to arrange for transfer courses that would allow Taiwanese students to continue their studies in Taiwan.

Taiwan President denounces threats to democracy and calls for international support

President Tsai Ing-wen called for international support for Hong Kong.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen today called on the Hong Kong government to cease “acts of repression” and threats to freedom and the rule of law.

President Tsai likened the police assault on students as similar to what was experienced in Taiwan during the years of martial law.

Taiwan endured the dictatorial rule of a single-party state after the government of the Republic of China retreated to the island in 1949. The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) enforced a period of martial law that was finally lifted in 1987.

After a long period of struggle for democracy, the first democratic elections in Taiwan were held in the early to mid 1990s.

“Our dark past, which we have worked so hard to put behind us, has become the present reality for Hong Kong,” President Tsai wrote on Facebook today, November 13.

President Tsai called on the international community and all who uphold the values of democracy and freedom to take action to support the people of Hong Kong.

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