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BYU STUDY GROUP TO LEAVE NANJING MONDAY BY AIRPLANE

SHARE BYU STUDY GROUP TO LEAVE NANJING MONDAY BY AIRPLANE

A Brigham Young University study group plans to leave Nanjing, China, next Monday - the soonest they could get on a flight because of the many foreigners rushing to leave the country.

Stephen Wadley, an assistant BYU professor in Asian languages, was able to get through jammed phone lines from China Tuesday to tell university officials that he and 17 students are scheduled to leave by plane Monday from Nanjing to Hong Kong, said Ted J. Warner, director of BYU's travel-study programs.The students have been in Nanjing since early May when they began an intensive Mandarin-language program at Nanjing University. The group had intended to stay in China for two more weeks to tour after classes ended on Friday. They changed plans Monday when U.S. embassy officials urged students to leave and Nanjing University canceled the tour, Warner said.

In addition, BYU officials had made unsuccessful attempts Monday and Tuesday to contact Wadley and instruct the group to leave. The Deseret News was also unable to get through phone lines to talk to members of the group.

"Stephen Wadley called about 1 a.m. (Wednesday) China time. He said all is calm in Nanjing. There had been rumors of troops, but they have seen none. Nanjing University had already informed him that it could not handle a tour because of what was happening. That being the situation, he went to the airlines on Monday," Warner said.

He said previous groups of students had taken the train from Nanjing through Shanghai to Hong Kong. Because of the unrest reported in Shanghai, the group decided to wait to travel by air.

Warner said that all of the students, 10 women and seven men , are safe.

Warner said the group will likely stay in Hong Kong for several days before returning to the United States.

The study group includes 12 students from BYU, two from Utah State University, one from the University of Utah, one from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., and one from Citrus College in Azusa, Calif.

Most other major colleges and universities in Utah reported no students or faculty members in China. USU officials said Tuesday that one student, the editor of the student newspaper, is in China. A Salt Lake resident, a teaching assistant with Grinnell College in Iowa, was also reported studying at Nanjing University.