Exchange students asked to return from Hong Kong

The University has advised all students in Hong Kong on exchange programmes to leave for their own safety.

The University has told York Vision that the small number of University of York students on exchange programmes in Hong Kong this semester have been strongly advised to leave, with the University putting into place travel arrangements to get them home as soon as possible.  

The University is also working on alternative arrangements for exchange  students to have a different placement next semester, in order to minimise disruption to their studies.  Only a small number of students were on programmes in Hong Kong.

York is not the only university to advise its exchange students to return early, with other universities in the UK, such as Sheffield, Warwick, and Edinbrugh, and universities all around the world, such as the University of Sydney, all recalling students from exchange programmes in Hong Kong.

This comes only a few weeks after the Times reported on DoorSafe, the YUSU run security service, allegedly taking down the Hong Kong protest wall.

Commentary by Harry Clay

Slowly but surely, the universities of the UK are forming a united front.

By issuing recalls and facilitating the safe return of their exchange students, UK universities are drawing a line in the sand over what is and isn’t acceptable in Hong Kong.

It’s easy to say that political differences are secondary to ensuring students’ safety, and that’s certainly true to some extent, but it doesn’t paint the full picture. 

We as a nation can’t continue acting like all we need to do is preserve our own nation’s safety. 

Protecting our citizens is the easy job; protecting those abused in Hong Kong, and exposing the attempts to hide atrocities being committed is a much harder task, but one we should try and commit to. Innocent people are suffering and this nation has the capacity to do more.

Whether or not students can expect to return to Hong Kong is a hard call to make. The grip of the mainland is ever-present, but the enormous swing towards pro-democracy candidates in the district council elections could mean that a diplomatic solution is within reach, as they will influence the larger scope of the government.

Featured image by Studio Incendo