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The bill has since been withdrawn, but the protests have expanded into a wider resistance movement against what is perceived as the growing control of Hong Kong by Communist China, along with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

Loud beats reverberate through the room as Total Fitness Zumba class participants follow along to the instructor’s moves during a drop-in fundraiser for the Shannon Sharp Learning Circle to be constructed at Salmon Arm West School. (Lachlan Labere/Salmon Arm Observer)
City-run fitness classes paused in Vernon

Greater Vernon Recreation Services pauses play in wake of province’s new health orders

Welcome Lars, the elf. Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation's newest representative for the Light a Bulb campaign. (Contributed)
Vernon hospital welcomes new elf for Light a Bulb campaign

The passing of candy cane from elf-to-elf warrants a colouring contest!

(Morning Star file photo)
Lumby bylaw complaints skyrocket in 2020

Bylaw officers have seen an 80 per cent increase in complaints over 2019, with two months yet to be recorded

Greater Vernon Water rates will increase an average of 2.4 per cent over the next four years after the Regional District of North Okanagan adopted a new water rate bylaw on Wednesday, Nov. 18. (File photo)
Regional District North Okanagan approves four-year water rate bylaw

Water rates for Greater Vernon Water users to climb an average of 2.4 per cent over the four years

A new primary health clinic at the Okanagan Indian Band Health Centre is now providing members with doctors on reserve. (Stock photo)
New Okanagan Indian Band primary care clinic now accepting patients

The clinic is giving OKIB members access to doctors and nurses on reserve

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Dani Barker, originally from Salmon Arm, is working with others in the New York City film industry to bring a script she wrote to life as a feature film called Follow Her. (Contributed)
Salmon Arm woman’s movie thriller nearing completion, in need of backing

Dani Barker wrote and stars in Follow Her which wrapped filming in New York in February

Axel Hasenkox, owner of OP Office Products in Penticton, is fed up after his store was tagged by an unknown person Monday Nov. 23, 2020. (Jesse Day - Western News
Penticton business hit by ‘senseless’ vandalism

Business owner disheartened after store tagged

The Smethurst kids Kai and Julia went door to door over two days spreading to cheer and handing out 200 treat bags full of home cooked goodies for a random act of kindness on Nov. 22 and 23. (Facebook)
Penticton family hands out 200 treat bags to neighbours

The Smethursts are also making Christmas meals for anyone who needs it

Police have identified this woman accused of spitting on an employee at the Skaha Liquor Store on Sunday, Nov. 21. She also is seen on video purposely dropping his phone.
Unmasked woman who allegedly spat on a Penticton employee has been identified

Police say thanks to the public, they were able to identify her

FILE - This May 4, 2020, file photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, shows the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.  Pfizer announced Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, more results in its ongoing coronavirus vaccine study that suggest the shots are 95% effective a month after the first dose. (Courtesy of University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP, File)
VIDEO: B.C. planning for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in the first weeks of 2021

The question of who will get the vaccine first relies on Canada’s ethical framework

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks during an announcement about a new regional cancer centre in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. Horgan is set to introduce his NDP government’s new cabinet Thursday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP cabinet built to tackle pandemic, economic recovery, says former premier

Seven former NDP cabinet ministers didn’t seek re-election, creating vacancies in several high-profile portfolios

Most Read