Chinese students flee Hong Kong as campuses burn

Agency, 14 November : Having fled Hong Kong universities they had thought were a ticket to success, Chinese students from the mainland sit in hostels and noodle shops in the neighboring city of Shenzhen wondering how they’ll complete their studies.

With campuses turned into blazing battlegrounds, courses canceled and anti-China sentiment growing more virulent, students from mainland China are getting out of Hong Kong with little idea if they will ever go back.

“It’s really just not safe any more and I don’t see it getting any better,” said one twentysomething student leaning on a suitcase outside a restaurant in Shenzhen, which abuts Hong Kong.

Fears intensified this week because of a widely circulated video of a mainland student being beaten by protesters at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Anger boiled over there following after the death of a student who fell from a car park as police used tear gas against protesters.

“The discrimination toward mainlanders is growing worse,” said 22-year-old Frank, a postgraduate student who had just left the university for Shenzhen. “They’re so prejudiced toward us mainlanders and that’s not going to change, so why go back?”

Before anti-government protests erupted in Hong Kong more than five months ago, there were some 12,000 students among more than one million mainland Chinese living in Hong Kong, according to official figures.

The pace of departures accelerated this week as intensifying violence turned campuses into nightmarish scenes of blazing petrol bombs and swirling teargas.

Dozens of mainland students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong were so fearful they called police and fled by police boat from a dock near the Sha Tin campus on Wednesday to avoid having to use roads blockaded by black clad protesters.

Support groups in Shenzhen and Hong Kong-based associations with mainland ties have rushed to help.


8 months ago

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