University students from mainland China and Taiwan are fleeing Hong Kong, while those from three Scandinavian countries have been moved or urged to leave as college campuses become the latest battleground 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.
Authorities announced that primary and secondary school classes would be suspended Thursday as clashes turn increasingly violent.
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 widely disrupted train service, blocked streets and rallied in the central business district. They hunkered down for possible clashes with police at university campuses.
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." Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology also recommended that its 26 students in the city leave.
Norwegian student Elina Neverdal Hjoennevaag told her country’s broadcaster NRK that students are being sent to a hotel, adding, "I don't really know what is happening. I must pack."
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 service was established in 2013 for recent graduates looking for jobs in the tech hub.
Taiwan arranged flight tickets for 126 of its students at Chinese University to fly home Wednesday night, public broadcaster RTHK reported.
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 suspended classes at primary and secondary schools 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. Of the more than 4,000 people arrested since the protests began, nearly 40% are students, police said.
Police subdued a few protesters as a crowd gathered for a third straight day in a central business and high-end retail district, RTHK reported. Office workers watched from the sidewalks.
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 clashes at the campus Tuesday were particularly intense. Police said protesters threw more than 400 gasoline bombs, more than on any other day in the protests.
Police fired 1,567 tear gas canisters, 1,312 rubber bullets and 380 beanbag rounds throughout Hong Kong on Tuesday. 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.”
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.
The injunction would also block police from using crowd control weapons, such as tear gas and rubber bullets, at the university.
Religious leaders 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 heads 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.
The movement began in June over a now-withdrawn extradition bill. Activists saw it as another sign of an erosion in Hong Kong's autonomy and 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.
North Korea’s supreme decision-making body lashed out Wednesday at planned U.S.-South Korean military drills and warned that the United States will face a greater threat and harsh suffering if it ignores North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s end-of-year deadline to salvage nuclear talks.
In a statement carried by state media, an unidentified spokesman for the North’s State Affairs Commission said the drills would violate agreements between Kim and President Donald Trump on improving bilateral relations and compel North Korea to raise its war readiness.
Kim is chairman of the commission, which he established in 2016 following years of efforts to consolidate his power and centralize governance.
The statement is North Korea’s latest expression of displeasure over the military drills and slow pace of nuclear negotiations with Washington. The talks have stalled over disagreements on disarmament steps and the removal of sanctions imposed on the North.
North Korea has also ramped up its missile tests in recent months and experts say it is likely to continue weapons displays to pressure Washington as Kim’s deadline nears for the Trump administration to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal.
Cheong Seong-chang, a North Korea expert at South Korea's private Sejong Institute, said the North’s decision to release a statement through its highest government institution indicates that it could be preparing more provocative military demonstrations, such as ballistic tests from a new launch-capable submarine it has been developing.
The North Korean spokesman said annual U.S.-South Korea military drills are continuing to cause a “vicious cycle” in relations between the U.S. and North Korea.
“The U.S. had better behave itself with prudence at a sensitive time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula could go back to the starting point due to the joint military drills,” the statement said.
The United States “will face greater threat and be forced to admit its failure, being put into trouble before long if it doesn't do anything to change the trend of the present situation,” it said.
The spokesman said North Korea has treated the United States sincerely as a dialogue partner and “halted different actions that the U.S. was concerned about,” apparently referring its suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests, which allowed Trump to claim a foreign policy win. The spokesman said North Korea feels betrayed by what it sees as a lack of corresponding measures by the United States.
“We, without being given anything, gave things the U.S. president can brag about but the U.S. side has not yet taken any corresponding step,” the statement said. “Now, betrayal is only what we feel from the U.S. side.”
Last week, senior North Korean diplomat Kwon Jong Gun said a joint aerial exercise planned by the U.S. and South Korea in coming weeks amounted to "throwing a wet blanket over the spark" of nuclear negotiations that are "on the verge of extinction." Kwon said North Korea’s patience was nearing its limit and that it will “never remain an onlooker" to "reckless military moves."
Since the start of the nuclear talks last year, the United States and South Korea have canceled or scaled back their regular military drills to create space for diplomacy. But North Korea says the smaller drills are still a rehearsal for an invasion and has reacted strongly to the exercises during stalemates in the negotiations.
The talks have faltered since the collapse of a February summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam, where the Americans rejected North Korea’s demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for the partial surrendering of its nuclear capabilities.
North Korea responded with intensified testing activity and Kim said he would "wait with patience until the end of the year for the United States to come up with a courageous decision." Kim has also said that North Korea would seek a “new way” if the United States persists with sanctions and pressure.
Two people have been diagnosed with pneumonic plague in Beijing, local health authorities confirmed Tuesday.
According to the government website of Chaoyang District in Beijing, two patients from north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region were diagnosed with pneumonic plague, which doctors in Beijing confirmed Tuesday.
At present, the two patients have received proper treatment in relevant medical institution of Chaoyang District and relevant disease prevention and control measures have been taken.
Chinese agricultural officials and scientists called for strengthening international cooperation to push forward green development in the agricultural industry and rural regions through the advancement of science and technology.
At the 6th Global Forum of Leaders for Agricultural Science and Technology (GLAST), held in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Qu Dongyu said the world is facing mounting challenges including persistent difficulties in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, the impacts of climate change, resource depletion and environmental pollution, and growing risks of trans-boundary animal diseases and plant pests.
Qu said agriculture will need to feed 10 billion people globally by the middle of this century, up from 7.7 billion today.
"We need to urgently act and move toward sustainable agriculture that produces food that is nutritious, safe and accessible to all while nurturing healthy ecosystems and supporting the sustainable management of natural resources," Qu said.
He said that science, technology and innovation are fundamental for achieving the sustainable development goals and science-based knowledge should be an integral part of all national sustainable development strategies.
In this regard, China has set a remarkable example battling unsustainable agriculture, through policy incentives backed up by scientific results obtained in pilot projects, Qu said.
Zhang Taolin, vice minister of agriculture and rural affairs, said green development has been high on China's agenda for its rural revitalization strategy and the modernization program for agriculture and rural areas.
Zhang said China has focused on controlling the total water consumption for agricultural use, reducing the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and recycling livestock manure, straw and mulching film.
He said the Chinese government and research institutions will double their efforts to achieve breakthroughs in areas such as the technical equipment and models for water-saving irrigation and the highly efficient use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, so as to shift agricultural research and technology from being production-oriented to green and efficiency-oriented, to realize high yields, high quality, high efficiency and multifunctional development of agriculture.
China is willing to share its experience and models in the green development of agriculture, and strengthen its R&D cooperation with other countries, Zhang added.
Tang Huajun, president of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), said the challenges facing global agriculture are interrelated and require comprehensive policies at the national level and coordination and cooperation at the global level.
He said the CAAS hopes to continue cooperation with organizations in other countries to jointly study major common and key technical issues and promote the green development of agriculture and rural areas on the basis of science and technology.
The worst dry spell in decades has dried up nearly a quarter of reservoirs in east China's Anhui Province, disrupting drinking water supplies and affecting the planting of crops.
Over 24 percent of nearly 6,000 reservoirs in the province have dried up, with the amount of water in the small- and medium-sized reservoirs down more than 40 percent from their level in normal years.
By Monday, the severe drought had affected the domestic water supply for 384,300 residents in 10 cities, according to the provincial department of emergency management.
Zheng Xiaoying, 79, is among more than 1,000 affected people in Xiangmingshan village in Taihu County. Local authorities now send water to the villagers twice a day, said Zheng.
A small reservoir one kilometer from Zheng's home has nearly dried up, with the amount of water having fallen to 500,000 square meters from 3 million square meters.
Meanwhile, the drought delayed the planting of 400,000 hectares of crops, and should it continue, it risks affecting the grain output next year.
From Aug. 12, the average rainfall in the province was nearly 70 percent less than the amount in normal years, hitting the second-lowest level since 1961 when weather records started, according to the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters.
The province on Saturday raised its drought emergency response to level III as the drought showed no signs of abating and threatened many areas with short water supplies and high risks of forest fire.
China has earmarked 605 million yuan (86 million U.S. dollars) to relieve drought and secure the water supply in provinces including Anhui, Fujian, Jiangxi, Henan, Hubei and Hunan, as well as Chongqing Municipality, according to the Ministry of Finance on Tuesday.