Welcome to Australia?

By Sophia Zhu Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/16 22:59:40

Recent news about politically motivated setbacks for Chinese PhD candidates who wish to study in Australia caught my attention. A group of Chinese PhD candidates and visiting scholars with offers from Australian universities have been waiting for their visas for over six months, an abnormally long period. They have received no explanation and no further instructions from the Australian government.

I lived in Australia for six years and completed my master's and bachelor's degrees there. I never had any trouble getting my student visa so I was shocked and angered by this news. If the Australian government no longer feels safe having Chinese people in their country, they should do this through proper diplomatic channels. If Australia has good reason to reject an application, they should have informed the applicant. Instead, they chose this passive-aggressive way. Students have contacted the consulate many times without receiving a single reasonable answer.

I have always liked Australia. I spent my best years there. It is a society that labels itself multicultural and I made friends there from all over the world. Education is one of the most important sources of income for Australia. They have a great system and attract students from almost everywhere. However, a certain level of racial discrimination still exists. Minorities are under represented in mainstream media. I haven't seen any reports of the Chinese students' woes in the Australian media. It is easy to say that you welcome diversity but difficult to do it.

Digging deeper into this news, I have noticed changes in the Sino-Australian relationship since the beginning of talk of China's "silent invasion." Australia's former defense secretary, Dennis Richardson, has repeatedly said that China is "actively engaged in spying" on Australian Chinese communities and controlling Chinese language media in Australia. This fear and speculation has led to the ugly consequence of the delays in visa applications.

 As a former overseas student there, I hope the Australian government finds a better way to deal with this issue, after all, applying and going overseas for your education is a big deal to many people. Their personal lives and dreams should not be ruined like this.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.



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