Protestors react as police fire tear gas near Hong Kong Polytechnic University after police gave protestors an ultimatum to leave the campus in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. University of Victoria exchange students have all left the territory and returned to Canada, according to the school’s office of global engagement. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Island students return from Hong Kong amidst growing tension

All eight University of Victoria exchange students have returned to Canada

All eight of the University of Victoria (UVic) students on exchange programs in Hong Kong have returned to Canada.

A statement from Carolyn Russell, director of UVic’s office of global engagement, says the students – who were on exchange programs across three partner universities – have returned to Canada and UVic students planning to travel to Hong Kong in January are working with the school’s staff to find alternative exchange options.

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

Russell says the program has been advised that three campuses – Hong Kong University, City University of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong – are closing for the rest of the semester as geopolitical and civil unrest continue.

Protests have been ongoing in Hong Kong since June but escalated over the last month, impacting the territory’s post-secondary institutions. The protests were sparked by a proposed – and later retracted – legislation that would allow the extradition of suspected criminals from Hong Kong to China. Over time, the protests transitioned to opposing the government in power and its ties to China.

The Government of Canada’s latest travel advisory says since Nov. 10, the territory’s university campuses “have become the scene of intense clashes between police and protesters … Demonstrations have become more frequent and less predictable since then. Acts of vandalism have also increased.”

RELATED: Hong Kong police storm university held by protesters

The city remains at a ‘risk level 2’ or ‘exercise a high degree of caution.’ UVic’s off-campus activity risk management policy does not restrict students from travelling to level 1 or 2 countries.

“The safety of students is our first priority at the University of Victoria,” Russell says. “We always advise our students to exercise due caution, stay alert, be aware of their surroundings and trust their instincts to remain safe while abroad.”

Russell says exchange students are encouraged to enrol in the International SOS program and Registry of Canadians Abroad to receive travel alerts and stay on top of changes.

– With files from Canadian Press.

RELATED: UBC exchange students offered $1,000 to help with leaving Hong Kong



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

‘I love my animals very dearly,’ says man at centre of Saanich park allegations

Man accused of assault after being approached for allegedly mistreating his dog

‘Someone knows something’: a look into Vancouver Island missing persons with interactive map

There are more than three dozen people listed as missing throughout Vancouver Island

Author chronicles churches built by pioneers in the Salish Sea

B.C. author Liz Bryan preserving a little bit of pioneer history in her latest book

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

UPDATED: Saanich firefighters investigate early morning fire at elementary school

Fire crews remain on scene at Strawberry Vale Elementary

Fire damages home on Fifth Avenue in Port Alberni

Fire crews spend late morning hours knocking down blaze

Swim advisory issued at Cadboro Bay beach due to high bacteria levels

Island Health advises against water activities, swimming

MISSING: Victoria police search for high-risk missing woman last seen June 24

Amanda Williams is a 34-year-old Indigenous woman with short black hair and brown eyes

Plans for pot shop in Sidney spark back to life

Changing provincial regulations could clear the way for Sidney’s first ever pot shop

Most Read