Fewer students from mainland China are applying to study in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University has received 2,300 applications for the 2015-2016 academic year that begins in September, down 34 percent from a year earlier after a drop of about 20 percent last year.
Lingnan University has 556 mainland applicants compared with 928 a year earlier, or a decline of 40 percent.
Ming Pao Daily is reporting that school officials are blaming the faltering numbers on “social movements” in Hong Kong last year.
Eight major Hong Kong universities have a combined 6,630 mainland students in the current academic year, or 71 percent of non-local students.
They account for about 9 percent of Hong Kong’s student population, according to official data cited by Ming Pao.
Joshua Mok, vice president of the Hong Kong Institute of Education, said mainland parents are worried about their children’s safety after last year’s democracy protests and a campaign against Chinese parallel traders this year.
Also, a strong Hong Kong dollar is making other countries more attractive to mainland students, he said.
Dr. So Kwok-sang, academic registrar of Hong Kong Baptist University which has also seen fewer mainland applicants, said safety is the main concern for mainland families.
Zhu Ziping, principal of the Affiliated High School of South China Normal University in Guangzhou, said mainland parents are reacting to online forums about anti-mainland sentiment in Hong Kong.
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