Protesters take cover with umbrellas from tear gas canister in the Kowloon area of Hong Kong, on Monday, Nov. 18. As night fell in Hong Kong, police tightened a siege at a university campus as hundreds of anti-government protesters trapped inside sought to escape. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

29 B.C. students in Hong Kong amid tense protests, university siege

Eight UVic and 21 UBC students still in Hong Kong

Despite a number of Canadian universities urging their exchange students in Hong Kong to consider returning home, eight University of Victoria students remain in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Carolyn Russell, director of global engagement for the university, told Black Press Media the students are on exchange programs at Hong Kong University, City University of Hong Kong, and The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She added all students have said they are safe.

The three schools have closed for the remainder of the semester due to the geopolitical and civil unrest, but according to Russell, alternate teaching arrangements have been made for students to complete their term studies through electronic education.

RELATED: Hong Kong police storm university held by protesters

Protests in the region were sparked in early June by proposed legislation that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to the mainland, which activists say is an erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy under the ‘one country, two systems’ formula implemented in 1997 when Britain returned the territory to China.

The bill has since been withdrawn, but the protests have expanded into a wider resistance movement against what is perceived as the growing control of Hong Kong by Communist China, along with calls for full democracy for the territory.

On Monday, police stormed into Hong Kong Polytechnic University after an all-night siege that included firing repeated barrages of tear gas and water cannons. Anti-government protesters barricaded themselves inside for days, fighting back with gasoline bombs and bow and arrows, as fires raged inside and outside the school.

RELATED: Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

So far only one Canadian school, Montreal’s McGill University, has reported a partnership with the campus at the centre of the tense police siege, while 11 of the University of British Columbia’s 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left the territory.

Russell noted UVic students travelling abroad are always advised to exercise “due caution, stay alert, be aware of their surroundings and trust their instincts to remain safe abroad.” Students in Hong Kong have been told they should enrol in International SOS to receive travel alerts, as well as the Registry of Canadians Abroad and to follow the Embassy of Canada to China or the Consulate General of Canada, Hong Kong on social media.

School officials will be reaching out to students in Hong Kong to determine how their situations are being impacted, their next steps and their travel plans, Russell added.

The Canadian government has issued a travel advisory for anyone planning to go to China, warning travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in Hong Kong, although Russell said this did not change the overall risk level, which remains at level two.

“As per the university’s off-campus activity risk management policy, there is no restriction on UVic students, staff or faculty travelling to a level one or two country,” she said.

– With files from the Canadian Press and the Associated Press



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Tofino shops set to sparkle during weekend’s Jingle Into Christmas celebration

“It’s like a family reunion. It’s nice to see the locals’ faces.”

Child care sector feels the squeeze in Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

There are five children for every licensed child care space in the ACRD

Surfrider Pacific Rim hopes unique wetsuit recycling program stays local to the Coast

“We really want to see someone locally or regionally take this on and use this material locally.”

Residents push back against renaming Ucluelet Secondary School

“We are just fine thanks, put the money into our children’s education.”

Local businesses step up in light of Christmas tree shortage in Tofino and Ucluelet

“I’m one of those ones where I’m really tenacious and I don’t like letting people down.”

VIDEO: MPs reflect on anti-feminist violence on 30th anniversary of Montreal massacre

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at Ecole polytechnique on the evening of Dec. 6, 1989

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

BC Hydro reservoirs see record low rain across Vancouver Island

Hydro electric watersheds are at a third of their normal levels

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

Most Read