Police storm universities in Hong Kong

November 20, 2019
Inside the Chinese University of Hong Kong students build brick walls to defend themselves against police bullets on November 13. Photo: Wlam.

Hong Kong riot police stormed the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), one of the prestigious universities in Hong Kong, on November 12, despite making several promises to the university administration that they would not.

Students are continuing their campaign for democratic measures, following their successful push to force the Carrie Lam administration to retreat on the unpopular extradition bill.

Police fired more than 2000 rounds of tear gas and projectiles, which led to large numbers of injured, including students and journalists. Multiple arrests were made.

This happened despite the university's vice chancellor and president repeatedly trying to negotiate with police representatives.

Police justified the operation, saying they needed to take over No. 2 Bridge, accusing protesters of trying to obstruct the bridge to block the Tolo Highway and the Mass Transit Railway tracks.

The police also claimed that, according to the Public Order Ordinance, the university is not private property and therefore “enforcing the law” at the CUHK campus is legal even without a search warrant. That claim is disputed.,

Despite numerous promises to leave the campus, police repeatedly marched onto it to fire tear gas. A Facebook video shows police firing tear gas onto the sports field. The next day, they continued their assault, breaking a deal with the university's management that they would leave.

The CUHK president attempted to negotiate with police, but to no avail. He was escorted away.

It is believed that police broke the second promise to retreat at about 6pm.

CUHK lecturer Leung Kai-chi’s Facebook post describes how protesters only threw petrol bombs after being tear gassed by police.

At about 10pm, the police unleashed their water cannon. In several rounds of fiery clashes, many protesters and some journalists were injured, suffering burns, broken bones and skull fractures.

At midnight, the police finally retreated and the clashes ceased.

The following day, clashes broke out at several other universities, including the University of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the City University of Hong Kong. All universities and several other higher education institutions announced they were either suspending classes, or making course work available online for the rest of the semester.

 [*Wlam is a Hong Kong student who is currently studying in Sydney. His name has been changed for security reasons.]

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