TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Student associations in Taiwan are voicing support for pro-democracy protesters and condemning the police, as the unrest at Hong Kong's universities becomes a battlefield and more students are injured.
The violent clashes are spreading to campuses as a fourth day of mayhem hits the city, leading to a spike in injuries among protesting students. Hong Kong's education bureau on Thursday (Nov. 13) announced the closure of kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, while the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) said it would shorten the term due to the escalating violence.
Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets in a tense standoff, the school said, with a number of students and faculty members injured. The most common injuries include bruises, sprains, bone fractures, inflammation from tear gas, and rubber bullet gunshot injuries.
In a joint statement issued by student associations from over 40 universities across Taiwan on Wednesday (Nov. 13), it called attention to human rights violations taking place on the streets of Hong Kong and on campuses. It also condemned Hong Kong police for using disproportionate force over calls for democracy, turning campuses into battlefields, attacking students relentlessly, and causing injuries to civilians.
The statement says intellectuals in Taiwan should not remain silent over the human rights violations. It urged Taiwanese universities and local civil groups to voice support for the students in Hong Kong and for the pro-democracy social movement.
Student groups also called on the Taiwan government to ensure the personal safety of Hong Kong students studying in Taiwan, as well as Taiwanese students in Hong Kong, and to provide the necessary assistance. Finally, the statement requested the Hong Kong government should follow procedural justice and establish an independent investigation unit to look at human rights violations.
The petition was launched jointly by National Chengchi University Student Association and National Chung Cheng University Public Affairs Club.