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 cancelled, 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 the death of a student who fell from a car park as police used teargas against protesters.
“The discrimination towards mainlanders is growing worse,” said 22-year-old Frank, a postgraduate student who had just left the university for Shenzhen. “They’re so prejudiced towards 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.
The Shenzhen Youth Community, operated by the Communist Youth League, said it had been deluged with calls after offering free temporary hostel accommodation for mainland students fleeing Hong Kong.
Peking University HSBC EMBA’s student association said it would host some students from Hong Kong so they could continue studies near a Shenzhen university campus with up to seven days accommodation for free.
Within hours of the offer, it had received more than 300 requests, according to a staffer running the hotline side.
Victor Mou, 35, chairman of the Hong Kong Nanjing Youth Association, told Reuters the group had already helped about 100 mainland students get to Shenzhen.
Some students hoped they would not be away for long.
“If the government can control the situation I’ll go back to Hong Kong next week,” said Shuai a 22-year-old postgraduate student from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology squatting on the steps of a hostel in Shenzhen.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر