Taiwan Welcomes Hong Kong College Students Fleeing Violent Protests
Taiwan has officially welcomed students affected in the Hong Kong protests to its colleges and universities.
Violent clashes reached Hong Kong campuses earlier this month, including the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which saw police firing rubber bullets and tear gas, and protesters launching petrol bombs and arrows.
In a statement on Nov. 20, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education, headed by Pan Wen-chung, announced that affected students can flee to the island to continue their studies.
“Regardless of whether they are from Taiwan or not, university students in Hong Kong whose studies have been interrupted by the protests in Hong Kong are welcome to register with a number of our universities here if they want to continue their studies,” the ministry said, according to the South China Morning Post.
The ministry has also established an interagency task force to help Taiwanese students in Hong Kong, vowing assistance when needed.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed by Joseph Wu, has instructed its branch offices to assist the education ministry and the Mainland Affairs Council to bring Taiwanese students home.
Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Joanne Ou said that the offices would “do whatever possible and whatever they must” to bring the students back home safely, according to the Taipei Times.
Recent government data show that more than 60% of the 1,021 Taiwanese studying in Hong Kong have already returned home.
However, many have yet to decide whether or not to continue their studies on the self-governing island, according to Taiwan News.
At least six of the territory’s top universities have welcomed Taiwanese and other international students in Hong Kong to take their courses, including National Taiwan University (NTU), National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), National Chengchi University (NCCU), National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) and National Dong Hwa University (NDHU).
NTU, which is based in Taipei, has received applications from 417 affected students: 240 from Taiwan, 100 from Hong Kong and the rest from Macau, mainland China and other places.
The students are permitted to sign up for courses without credits for the rest of the school term, which runs from early December to Jan. 3, SCMP noted.
They are also granted free tuition, but must pay a registration fee of NT$600 ($19.65) — which includes internet access — and shoulder accommodation expenses.
Meanwhile, all affected students who wish to qualify for a degree must pass a review of the education ministry.
Feature Image via Getty
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