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Hong Kong Violence Intensifies         11/13 06:17

   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.

   HONG KONG (AP) -- 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.

   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.


(KR)

 
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