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Image: The Boar

BREAKING: Warwick calls back all exchange students in Hong Kong

The University of Warwick has called back all exchange students at Hong Kong universities to leave the city for their “personal safety”.

Students have been advised to leave as soon as possible and the University will reimburse their travel costs.

An email seen by The Boar sent to a student on exchange in the city read: “The University has been closely monitoring the developing situation in Hong Kong and has reached the decision on the basis of first hand feedback and media coverage that is is no longer appropriate for our students to remain.

“The University puts the personal safety and security of its students ahead of all other considerations. Consequently, I am writing to confirm that Warwick is now strongly urging you to curtail your period of study or work placement abroad and to return to the UK, or wherever you are usually resident, as soon as possible.

Warwick is now strongly urging you to curtail your period of study or work placement abroad and to return to the UK, or wherever you are usually resident, as soon as possible

– University of Warwick

“You will need to book and arrange your own flights and, following your return to your home, the University will reimburse flight and airport transfer costs incurred for you to do so; please retain all receipts and travel documents including your original tickets.”

Various universities in Hong Kong have been stormed by the local police force in the past few days, particularly the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) which has been described as a “war zone” with over 1,000 rounds of tear gas fired and multiple arrests taking place. Mainland Chinese students were described to be “fleeing” the city by boat.

Responding to enquiries from The Boar, the University said: “Many universities in Hong Kong have suspended their operations due to the developing situation there.

“Like several other UK universities we are contacting Warwick students and staff in Hong Kong and offering them the opportunity to return to the UK and are advising them to do so.”

At Warwick, a Lennon Wall was put up by Hong Kong students during Wednesday of Reading Week. Part of it was taken down by campus security after being dubbed “racist” by mainland Chinese students.

UPDATE (17/11/2019 10:13am): The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has sent a message to “students who have accepted a place for Spring 2020 exchange”, including those from Warwick.

An email seen by The Boar read: “HKUST has decided to suspend the inbound exchange program for Spring 2020. That is to say, we will not be accepting inbound exchange students in Spring 2020.

“This has been a difficult decision, but one that is made for the best interest of students. We hope for your understanding, and we hope that this timing is sufficient for allowing you to make alternative plans.”

Fees that have been paid will be returned in full and instructions for the refund will be arranged soon, HKUST added.

They continued: “Our apologies for this situation. We do hope to have the opportunity to host you on our campus.”

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