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What you need to know – Axios

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Authorities say hundreds of student protesters have been arrested at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, but about 100 were defying authorities’ orders to surrender as the standoff entered a third day on Tuesday, AP reports.

The latest: City CEO Carrie Lam Dozens said 600 demonstrators had left the campus, including 200 who are younger than 18, AP notes. Dozens of demonstrators managed to escape from the campus by “shimmying down plastic hosing from a bridge and fleeing on waiting motorbikes as the police fired projectiles,” per Reuters.

  • Police had told the protesters they should put down their weapons and surrender or face a bombardment of tear gas and rubber bullets, the New York Times reports.
  • Students inside the university threw petrol bombs to stop police from storming the building over the weekend, per the Times.
  • Local hospital officials said Monday “at least 116 people” were wounded in the campus clashes, per the NYT.

What they’re saying: The police issued a threat to use live bullets against dissidents after protesters shot arrows and threw petrol bombs at them outside the university Sunday. The police said an officer was shot in the leg with an arrow. They urged people to avoid the area near the university because of the “deteriorating situation.”

Why it matters: The past week has seen some of the bloodiest clashes between police and protesters since the massive pro-democracy demonstrations began in June — “and schools have become a driver of the city’s uprising against China‘s ruling party,” the Wall Street Journal notes.

  • More than a third of the 4,000 protesters arrested are ages 21 and younger, per police records, the youngest of whom is 11, per the WSJ.
  • Beijing holds the school system responsible for failing to impart a strong sense of Chinese national identity to Hong Kong’s young people, with some officials blaming educators specifically. It’s written new new education guidelines with “the goal to build a stronger national identity for students in Hong Kong and Macau,” WSJ notes.
  • More than 390 high schools, about 80% of which are secondary schools, established “concern groups” to organize protests. Educators fear a curriculum push for Communist Party ideology could be re-upped in classrooms, per WSJ.

The big picture: Five months of unrest intensified last Monday, which marked the start of daily demonstrations lasting from the morning, as police opened fire on protesters during rush hour, injuring a 21-year-old man.

  • The protest focus has shifted to Hong Kong Polytechnic University, though protests have also taken place elsewhere in the city.

The impact: Activists have vandalized police stations, train stations and shopping malls, Reuters notes, and schools have closed amid concern for students’ safety.

  • Chinese army troops stationed in the semiautonomous territory cleared streets on Saturday, which protesters clogged with debris to slow down police. An official said the Chinese army operation was a “voluntary community activity,” per Reuters.

Background: Authorities hoped the October withdrawal of an extradition bill that triggered the city’s protests would quell the unrest.

  • However, protesters are concerned China may suppress the high degree of autonomy they’ve enjoyed since the former British colony was returned to the country in 1997.

Go deeper:

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.





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