Intercultural Education and Reconciliation between Local Students and Mainland Chinese Students in Higher Education Campuses in Hong Kong

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Project Investigator
Dr Yuen Yuet Mui Celeste
The Chinese Unieversity of Hong Kong
Dr Hui Na Na Anna
City University of Hong Kong
Dr Lee Tai Hoi Theodore
The Education University of Hong Kong
Dr Zhou De Hui Ruth
Shue Yan University
Professor Leung Cheung Shing Sam
Technological and Higher Education
Institute of Hong Kong

Mr Tsui Chak Pong Gordon
University of of Hong Kong
Funding Source
PPRF(Special Round)
Project Duration
May to September 2020


This project addresses the burning issue of intergroup conflict between local students and Mainland Chinese students (MCS) in higher education (HE) campuses in Hong Kong. The intergroup tensions caused by cultural bias and prejudices have not been given due attention. As such, over the years they have deepened and manifested in different forms of exclusion and confrontation. This conflict has been exposed and escalated by the Anti-Extradition Bill and anti-government protests from June 2019, and now involves verbal aggression, direct assault and physical clashes with vandalism and graffiti on a large scale. All HE campuses have been affected, and only differ by degree. This disruption has led to the sudden departure of MCS and international students and the unprecedented early termination of the semester in some campuses. Internationalisation of HE is a cornerstone for the present and future development of Hong Kong society. As of 2018 - 2019, there are around 18,000 international students of which over 12,000 are MCS. Their wellbeing together with intergroup relations is crucial to the success of higher education. Being a special administrative region (SAR) of Mainland China, the HE sector should have as a top priority to the fostering of positive relations between local students and MCS. Such harmony is a strategic necessity for sustainable development of local HE. In addressing the problem, this study aims to:
  1. provide a deeper understanding of local student / Mainland student perceptions of and experiences in the recent social incidents across HE institutions;
  2. foster positive intergroup relationships through enhancing intercultural competence and reconciliation strategies to combat cultural stereotyping and prejudice among the two student groups; and
  3. provide evidence-based recommendations for policy change and intercultural education for safe and welcoming campuses for all.
Hence, this study will be informed by the following research questions:
  1. What are the institutional policies in place to promote intergroup harmony
    across HE institutions in Hong Kong?
  2. How do local students and MCS perceive intergroup relations and what are
    their experiences and emotions with regard to the recent social incidents?
  3. What are the deep-seated problems and what are the suggested solutions
    from these two student groups? and
  4. To what extent can intercultural education alleviate intergroup tensions
    and promote inclusive campuses in Hong Kong?