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Overseas Students: Hong Kong

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th October 2019.

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Photo of Lord Pendry Lord Pendry Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent supporters from mainland China bullying and intimidating fellow students from Hong Kong in British universities who are carrying out legitimate activities in support of those demonstrating in Hong Kong in favour of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

Universities have a duty of care to all students, domestic and international, and must take reasonably practicable steps to ensure freedom of speech, within the law, is secured for staff, students and visiting speakers.

Studying for a degree gives students from different backgrounds and perspectives the freedom to explore contrasting views and the skills to evaluate information, including that about the current situation in Hong Kong. It is critically important that we protect this freedom. That is why we extended the existing freedom of speech duty to all providers registered with the Office for Students (OfS) through the Higher Education and Research Act. The approach of the OfS is to implement regulation as outlined in their regulatory framework, as attached.

We expect all institutions to ensure that freedom of speech is not restricted as a result of bullying or intimidation.

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