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)

Eight UVic students in Hong Kong amid tense protests, university siege

All the students have said they are safe

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The bill has since been withdrawn, but the protests have expanded into a wider resistance movement against what is perceived as the growing control of Hong Kong by Communist China, along with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

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

Expect rolling street closures, bus delays as truck convoy moves through region Saturday

The annual Truck Light Convoy will roll through the region starting at 5:45 p.m.

UPDATED: 64-year-old Victoria man David Atkins found

Atkins was found by Sooke RCMP on Saturday morning

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Most Read