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The bill has since been withdrawn, but the protests have expanded into a wider resistance movement against what is perceived as the growing control of Hong Kong by Communist China, along with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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School District 82’s first week of in-person class is in the books

First classes held since schools closed March 17 due to COVID-19 pandemic

Skeena Valley Farmers Market looks to reopen

Market switched to online format earlier this year in response to pandemic

Two per cent hotel tax coming to Terrace and Thornhill

Tax comes into effect on Sept. 1, will support Kermodei Tourism

‘Busier than we’ve ever seen’: Mountain biking around Terrace jumps

Terrace Off Road Cycling Association opened new trails on June 2

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘Great Regional Air Hug’ being organized by the Vanderhoof International Airshow Society

A multi-aircraft flyover over the region is being planned for August 15.

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

Most Read