TAIPIE (Taiwan News) — Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said on Monday (Oct. 14) that the ministry will not ban Taiwanese students in Hong Kong from taking part in anti-government protests on campuses out of respect for their freedom of expression.
More than 7,000 Taiwanese students are currently studying in Hong Kong, where protests against the Hong Kong government and the police’s handling of demonstrators have lasted for four months.
When asked about the education authorities’ stance on Taiwanese students getting involved in on-campus protests during a Legislative Yuan session this morning, Pan said that students exercising their freedom of expression should be respected. He added that the ministry has repeatedly reminded students to be safe and remain contactable.
Pan said the ministry and its representative office in Hong Kong have kept in touch with student representatives in the city to monitor Taiwanese students’ situations at school. It will also work with the Mainland Affairs Council to provide legal assistance if they have trouble with the Hong Kong authorities, he added.
Protests against the now-withdrawn extradition bill broke out in Hong Kong in June. They have grown to include other demands over the last four months, including the establishment of an independent inquiry into police brutality and the adoption of political reforms to ensure a more democratic process of electing the city’s leader and lawmakers.
However, conflicts between protesters and law enforcement personnel and pro-China supporters have turned increasingly violent, especially after a policeman shot a student in the chest with a live round on Oct. 1 and, a few days later, Chief Executive Carrie Lam invoked a colonial-era mask ban.