RUG students in Hong Kong affected by protests
‘Rubber bullets in the student residences’
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a ‘code yellow’ for Hong Kong, warning of security risks in the region. There are protests and roadblocks, especially around police stations, government offices, universities, and underground stations, often leading to violent confrontations between protesters and the police. There were some violent confrontations between police officers and protesters around the universities as well.
Student of arts, culture, and media Nora Leidinger is on an exchange at the City University of Hong Kong. ‘The situation is really difficult right now’, she says. ‘The universities are shut and the police is shooting with teargas and rubberbullets on campus and in the student residences.’
The campus currently looks more like a refugee camp than university property, says Leidinger. ‘We are going to bring some first aid supplies and food to the campus.’
She is trying to book the quickest flight home, but it’s not easy. It’s also difficult to obtain any reliable information. ‘Almost all news we receive here goes via Instagram, but that means I will open my feed and not only see the necessary Hong Kong updates, but everydays posts about fashion, 11.11 and the likes. Which creates a surreal mental splitscreen on the current events in Hong Kong versus back home.’
The university has been contacting students through letters and emails. They’re advising them on what to do and where to go if they get into trouble, said RUG president Jouke de Vries during a university council meeting this Thursday. The RUG will also help out financially if students need money because of the situation, for instance to book an earlier flight home. ‘We’re closely monitoring the situation.’
The protesters in Hong Kong are fighting for more democracy and less influence from the central government in Beijing. Since the unrest started, approximately three thousand people have been arrested.
Vertaling Sarah van Steenderen