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

Conservation officers put down fawn blinded by BB gun in Nanaimo

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area

UPDATE: One person dead after crash on Nanaimo Lakes Road

One person dies, another was injured in the accident which happened at about noon Wednesday

Vancouver Island universities raking in the cash from foreign students

B.C. universities post $340 million worth of surpluses thanks to international student tuition

Algae bloom kills over 200,000 farmed fish near Tofino

Month-long die-off appears to over, DFO and Cermaq confirm

‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash

Area where the plane went down is primarily a residential neighbourhood, RCMP say

Royal Jubilee getting 15 new end-of-life care beds

New patient beds in hospice and acute palliative care to be in place by spring 2020

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Almost 14,000 Canadians killed by opioids since 2016: new national study

17,000 people have been hospitalized for opioid-related poisoning

Chevron’s move to exit Kitimat LNG project a dash of ‘cold water’ for gas industry

Canada Energy Regulator approved a 40-year licence to export natural gas for Kitimat LNG

B.C. cities top the list for most generous in Canada on GoFundMe

Chilliwack took the number-two spot while Kamloops was at the top of the list

Most Read