Pop star and activist Denise Ho has accused the National Gallery of Victoria of censorship after an event about the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests was cancelled.
Organisers say the venue cited security concerns as the reason for not allowing the event to go ahead, and that it was rejected by several of Melbourne’s cultural institutions on similar grounds.
The event, ‘Be Water: Hong Kong vs China’, seeks to bring together Ms Ho, political cartoonist Badiucao and other academics to discuss the months-long protests gripping Hong Kong and the future of the city.
The event promises a “talk on art and resistance in Hong Kong” and comes as violent protests in the Chinese city are on the brink of entering a third month.
Good grief. If we’re so at risk of CPC violence, then why is nothing being done at the policy level? Why is Manchurian Dan (Andrews) signing up to the BRI when it means we can’t even put on an arts show at home?
While the quivering Melbourne arts community hides under a blanket, the University of Sydney parades its corruption, also at Domain:
University of Sydney vice-chancellor Michael Spence has defended the university’s decision to continue hosting a Confucius Institute on campus, saying it is no different to other language-teaching bodies funded by foreign governments.
“The Confucius Institute is like the Alliance Francaise or Goethe-Institut. It teaches Chinese language and culture,” Dr Spence said. “This is not people sitting around reading the Little Red Book.”
…Jeffrey Gil, a Flinders University academic who has written a book on Confucius Institutes, said while Dr Spence’s description of the institutes as language teaching bodies was largely accurate, their presence on campus had raised concerns.
“The other language and culture promotion organisations are completely separate from universities,” Dr Gil said. “This arrangement is part of the reason Confucius Institutes are so controversial though – critics see their location on campuses as allowing them to influence academic research and discussion of China.”
Kick them out. It’s not that bloody hard. They are organs of “sharp power” and do not belong on campus. As eminent Sinologist Stephen Fitzgerald has previously argued at the ABC:
Mr Fitzgerald said he believed these centres, known as Confucius institutes, had no place in Australian higher education institutions.
“I just don’t think they should be in universities,” he said.
“Have them in Australia by all means; have them all over the country. I’d welcome them, but I don’t think they should be in universities.”
Meanwhile, as Australia kow tows, the CPC has stuck a gun to the head of another diplomatic hostage, at the ABC:
Australian writer and political commentator Yang Hengjun is potentially facing the death penalty or years in jail after Chinese authorities formally arrested him on suspicion of spying.
Dr Yang, 54, had been under investigation for harming China’s national security, but Australian diplomats have now been notified that he is under suspicion of committing crimes of espionage.
ABC correspondent Bill Birtles says Dr Yang has now been formally arrested, which is another step towards being charged in China’s opaque and secretive legal system.
He has been detained without access to family or lawyers since January.
But, at least a few individuals still have cojonies, also at the ABC:
While many foreigners are contemplating a move away from Hong Kong as widespread protests continue to grip the city of 7 million, one Australian expat is joining the fight against Beijing.
The unrest and uncertainty over what protesters might do — or what actions China might take — is leading some within Australia’s 100,000-strong expat community to question whether the city is still safe.
But Australian citizen Daniel, who classifies himself as a peaceful middle-class professional, joined the demonstrations in June and has continued to show his support for the movement.
“In Australia we have proper democracy but in Hong Kong, democracy is being slowly eroded away and I’ll try to do whatever I can to try and help the cause,” he said.
“I’ve been taking part in most of the rallies and the unlawful assemblies.”
Hong Kong’s property tycoons are hurting, the share market is tanking and the tourism sector has taken a beating as the pro-democracy movement continues to strangle the city.
The idea of violence as a legitimate form of political expression, hand-in-hand with peaceful protest, is becoming increasingly mainstream in the evolving tactics of a decentralised pro-democracy movement.
“The peaceful protests didn’t get anywhere, so people feel they have to take some more extreme measures and I understand that,” Daniel said.
He does not believe peaceful protests will get the attention of the Chinese communist party.
“You need something extreme to bring Hong Kong to a standstill, or to destroy Hong Kong’s economy for China to say ‘we don’t want a stake in Hong Kong’ and back off,” he said.
Born and raised in Western Australia, the financial sector worker is the same age as the twenty-somethings taking to the streets, allowing him to sympathise with their cause for a democratic future.
Despite having the safety of an Australian passport, the ABC cannot reveal Daniel’s full identity, because his support for the movement puts him at risk of being detained when he travels to the mainland for work.
“There are cameras everywhere. If China wants to identify you, it can,” he explained.
“Last week there were some police dressing up as protesters and the suspicion is, they are Chinese police. That just adds to the terror that Chinese police are coming down to Hong Kong to clear the protests.”
The protesters sport full battle-ready gear of hard hats, gas masks and protective clothing.
As the ABC followed Daniel at one of the protest rallies, he nervously looked around and frequently glanced up at the surrounding high-rise buildings, telling us there are security cameras capturing our every move.
“These cameras have 5G technology and do facial recognition. The government says it’s to monitor traffic, but I think it’s a load of bullshit,” Daniel said.
“People are covering their faces because they’re scared that one day if China does overtake Hong Kong, they’ll have to pay for their actions.”
Reports have emerged in recent weeks that those crossing the Hong Kong-China border have had their phones checked for materials related to the protests.
“We have heard stories of immigration searching through phones and if they find any anti-Chinese messages, they will lock you up and even take you to one of those brainwashing detention camps,” he said.
Good for you, mate. You’re an inspiration. But let’s not forget that there is every chance that UQ, UTS and Curtin are collaborating in your apprehension.
It’s time we launch a royal commission into university corruption. Initiate a federal ICAC. Seek to diversify trade risk. Cut immigration and deepen ties with the US and like-minded democracies.
You know, actually fight for our democracy for our kids.