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)

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The bill has since been withdrawn, but the protests have expanded into a wider resistance movement against what is perceived as the growing control of Hong Kong by Communist China, along with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

Qualicum Beach resident Harold MacDougall won $75,000 off a Casino Royale II Scratch & Win ticket, purchased the ticket at Qualicum Foods on Memorial Avenue. (BCLC photo)
Qualicum Beach man $75K richer thanks to scratch-and-win ticket windfall

MacDougall plans on trips to Cape Breton and Scotland

Regional District of Nanaimo will be receiving $1.17 million from the B.C. government in COVID-19 safe restart grant money. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo directors getting started on budgeting decisions

Proposed tax requisitions for 2021 range from 7.3-per cent increase to 2.2-per cent decrease

David Darmadi, owner of Kalvas - The Log House restaurant, is offering a sweet initiative for SOS. Guests can bring in a new, unwrapped gift or financial donation for SOS, and receive a free dessert. (Lissa Alexander photo)
Sweet initiative to support Parksville Qualicum Beach residents

‘A lot of our guests are very generous and they want to help out’

The property at 113 and 161 Island Highway is currently being dismantled as the developer attempts to salvage ‘usable’ lumber for their development application to the City of Parksville. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Development application delayed for high-profile Parksville property

Council refers application to staff for further improvements

(File photo)
RCMP warn of counterfeit bill use in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Police have received four calls in November regarding bogus bills

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Penny Hart is emotional outside the Saanich Police Department as she pleads for helpt to find her son Sean Hart last seen Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: Mother of missing Saanich man begs public to help find her son

Sean Hart last seen leaving Saanich mental health facility Nov. 6

Most Read