Australian university under attack for article 'interfering' HK affairs

By Zhao Yusha Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/1 16:27:43

Photo taken on July 16, 2020 shows the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui of south China's Hong Kong. Hong Kong witnessed a resurgence of COVID-19 cases over the past weeks, prompting the government to step up preventive and control efforts again, including mandatory mask-wearing on public transport and closures of some entertainment venues. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

An Australian university is under attack from its Chinese student cohort after publishing an article denouncing the "human rights issue" in Hong Kong. Although the article was soon deleted, students who are still outraged have said the university's behavior brings "shame to Chinese students" and demanded an apology. 

The controversial article, titled "China needs international pressure to end Hong Kong wrongs," citing opinion from its professor Elaine Pearson, was published on the University of New South Wales' (UNSW) website on Friday. Later the piece was further promoted by the university's Twitter account with the comment -  "Now is a pivotal moment to bring attention to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Hong Kong."

The post soon agitated Chinese students at UNSW who labeled the move as blatant interference in China's internal affairs and support for "Hong Kong independence." Some even said online that "this is the first time I am ashamed of being an UNSWer."

After overwhelming criticism flooded in regarding the university's tweet, it commented under the post that "the opinions expressed by our academics do not always represent the views of UNSW. We have a long and valued relationship with Greater China going back 60 years." 

However, the university soon deleted the tweet. But the swift change failed to buy Chinese students.

"The UNSW is eager to promote itself on the Chinese Twitter-like platform to appeal to more Chinese students, while supporting Hong Kong rioters on Twitter… such hypocritical and two-faced behavior. I feel shamed by my university," a student from the Australian university told the Global Times under the condition of anonymity.

A student, Lin Xia (pseudonym) told the Global Times that they are still negotiating with the university, and demanding an apology for its twitter post.

Lin said the Chinese students did not buy into the university's explanation as "it's ridiculous for the university to say one thing in the morning but overturn its previous statement in the afternoon."

"If the university maintains its tough stance, I will quit the school instead," Lin claimed.

The university failed to reply to an interview request from the Global Times as of press time.

Ties between Beijing and Canberra have soured since Australia took the leading role in cooperating with the US' anti-China acts, including on topics regarding Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

Canberra said earlier this month that thousands of Hong Kong students and workers in Australia could obtain permanent residency if they passed security and character tests, a "punishment" they exerted in response to the enactment of the National Security Law for Hong Kong. 

It was soon criticized by Hua Chunying, spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  as a bare display of double standards from Australia and inconceivably undisguised hypocrisy..

China will never accept Australia's wrong remarks and measures with regard to Hong Kong as they ignored the basic fact that the National Security Law for Hong Kong is conducive to the stability  and sustainable development of the "one country, two systems," Hua said.

According to Hua, the Australian side has said that it opposes "foreign interference," but abused its anti-foreign interference laws to intimidate overseas Chinese students, experts and related personnel, and it even resorted to inappropriate and insensitive behavior toward them.

Media reported that the number of Chinese applicants for student visas in Australia has decreased by 20 percent compared to last year.

Newspaper headline: Australian university under fire for article interfering HK affairs


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