Universities sold their soul for Chinese international students

Drew Pavlou, the student facing expulsion from the University of Queensland (UQ) over its sordid links with the Chinese Communist Party (see here, here and here), has penned an article in Foreign Policy on how Australia’s universities have ditched their values in pursuit of the Chinese student dollar:

After being an outspoken campus critic of Chinese state human rights abuses, I now face expulsion from the University of Queensland (UQ), where I am a fourth-year philosophy student, on the grounds that I “prejudiced” the university’s reputation by using my position as an elected student representative to express support for Hong Kong’s democratic protesters.

I am being threatened with this unprecedented move because of UQ’s particularly close relationship with the Chinese party-state; UQ enjoys perhaps the closest relationship of any university with the Chinese government in the Anglosphere. In addition to funding and controlling a Confucius Institute on campus, the Chinese government funds at least four accredited UQ courses that present a party-approved version of Chinese history to students, glossing over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and mainland China.

In addition to these state-backed courses, the Chinese consul general in Brisbane, Xu Jie, serves as an honorary professor at the university. Vice Chancellor Peter Hoj, meanwhile, is a senior consultant to Hanban, the Chinese government organization that oversees Confucius Institutes worldwide, and received a 200,000 Australian dollar ($130,000) bonus from the university for bolstering ties with China…

Confucius Institutes, educational institutes funded and run by the Chinese party-state, have come under intense scrutiny in recent years for “repeatedly straying from their publicly declared key task of providing Mandarin Chinese language training” in favor of disseminating Chinese state propaganda. In 2015, China’s then-vice premier awarded Hoj the Hanban “Outstanding Individual of the Year Award” for his “contribution, guidance and support to the UQ Confucius Institute and the Confucius Institute global network contributions to the promotion of the Confucius Institute network worldwide.” He only resigned from his position on the board of Hanban in December 2018 after being informed that his activities would have to be declared under Australia’s Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme…

Ultimately, my ability to complete my education at my hometown university in Australia is up in the air due to my political activities critical of the Chinese government’s human rights abuses. If I am expelled, I fear the terrifying signal it would send to students across the country. On reading the entire document, Clive Hamilton, a noted expert on CCP influence operations in Australia, wrote to me: “Most of the allegations are trivial; some are risible. In the context of the University’s documented discomfort with your political activism—especially your highlighting of links between the University, its Vice-Chancellor and various arms of the Chinese Communist Party—I can only read the threat of expulsion as an attempt to silence legitimate political activism on the campus.”

He’s right—it’s an attempt to intimidate students into self-censorship. Already, I know dozens of students at UQ who have told me they cannot join me in my activism for fear of university reprisals. If I lose the case and have my enrollment voided, who will dare speak out again?

Like many of Australia’s universities, UQ has become financially dependent on the fees from Chinese international students.

UQ has one of 13 China-backed Confucius Institutes operating on Australian university campuses. These Confucius Institutes are fully funded subsidiaries of China’s Ministry of Education. They provide participating Australian universities with partial funding, native language instructors, teaching resources, student exchange opportunities, and Chinese language and culture consultative services from the Chinese Government.

Their formal mission is to promote Chinese language and culture, and therefore give an uncritical view of Chinese society, as well as provide direct influence inside our universities.

Our universities have also signed agreements explicitly stating they “must accept the assessment of the [Confucius Institute] Headquarters on the teaching quality” at their centres.

Göran Lindblad, former vice president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and a former Swedish Parliament member, explains the dangers of these Confucius Institutes below:

Here’s the money quote:

“The main purpose [of Confucius Institutes] is to indoctrinate people and gather information for the totalitarian regime. These are the two main goals that are not spoken. And with budgets reduced, a lot of universities have been interested in having  Confucius Institutes paying for the education in Chinese language, Chinese culture, etc. Same in the 1930s with Mussolini’s language institutes…”

“These Confucius Institutes are integrated into the universities. So there is an excellent opportunity to do infiltration work, also spying, indoctrinating the students in the communist thinking. And all of the teachers from the Confucius Institutes are of course controlled from Beijing… The CCP controls the Confucius Institutes”.

In the pursuit of Chinese international student dollars, Australia’s universities have turned into useful idiots of the world’s most evil autocratic regime.

These Confucius Institutes must be shut down, as has occurred in Sweden, and CCP influence must be expunged. If the federal government has to threaten funding withdrawals to do so, so be it.

No amount of fees are worth the cost of selling-out Australia’s independence and democratic freedoms.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. DingwallMEMBER

    The Americans are stepping up the anger …….

    In a rare cross-party coalition, the National College Republicans and College Democrats came together Monday to demand that American universities take a stand against the Chinese Communist Party’s “long-term campaign” against academic freedom in the U.S. by closing all Confucius Institutes.


    • codeazureMEMBER

      Extraordinary in these times to see Republican & Democrat groups agree on anything.
      Good on them! Let’s hope their government hears this and acts.

      • I think you’ll find that muting threat of China has been basically the only thing that has had bipartisan support in the US. They obviously differ on how the threat should be treated, but it is definitely recognised by both sides (regardless of what Trump says about Biden).

  2. Know IdeaMEMBER

    “No amount of fees are worth the cost of selling-out Australia’s independence and democratic freedoms.”

    Not to you and me, perhaps. But neoliberalism puts a price on everything and, conversely, has it that if something cannot be given a price it is worthless. Freedom, liberty, rule of law, morals, culture, ethics et. al either have a price or they are worthless.

  3. Vice-Chancellor Peter Hoj appears to have learned something very early on – if he didn’t do it and get handsomely paid to do it, someone else would; so it may as well be him.
    That’s the dilemma many of us have faced, and I can tell you as someone who looks back on a life of saying “No. That’s not right, in fact, it’s illegal!” and seeing how well those who said Yes when I said No have done, I have to think I’ve chosen the wrong path.

    • I’d like to think not. Honour, integrity and dignity are everything.

      The finest food will turn into ashes in your mouth if you pay for it with stolen money.

      • 100%
        I fear though, his actions simply reflect the times we live in — unethical behaviour and brazen greed are almost expected (if not ‘accepted’).

        If your elected reps are up to their necks in it then how can you expect the public to behave any different.

        • bolstroodMEMBER

          Uh oh, we have a moral entanglement.
          For many years the slogan “Greed is Good” has been the guiding light of our world.
          Now we are confronted with the reality of our behaviour, it’s out with the moral compass and indignation.

    • As they say – money opens all doors.
      Thanks to the virus – the west has suddenly stirred from it’s stupor.
      China in a no growth world will now have to deal with their internal issues.

  4. Pavlou is a brave guy. I do worry about his safety though.

    Has anyone heard Dutton say anything about this? Or is he too busy worrying about 14 year old terrorists?

  5. Andrew2MEMBER

    Part of the blame must lie with the LNP defunding of universities and the ALP’s mantra of anyone who wants to go to university can get a place.

    And isn’t UQ one place that’s doing good things with Wuhan virus research. Whatever they find, it’ll be emailed to the CCP in double quick time.

    • Doing good Covid research at U Q? Surely you jest, funded by Bill Gates and research goes to GlaxoSmithKlein. the perpetrator of corticosteroids as asthma ‘preventers’, actually cortisol mimic, mimic of a hormone which is catabolic and so breaks the body down, and suppresses DHEA which normally reverses cortisol damage. UQ is a hotspot of evil. 666 postcode?

      • SchillersMEMBER

        For years one of the worlds major source of precursor chemicals used in making crystal methamphetamine was…
        GlaxoSmithKline factories in China.

        • The USA Supreme Court has upheld no liability for death by vaccine, and vaccines can be mandated. GSK had lots of deaths from its hepC vaccines in Georgia, Tblsi, Lugar Centre or whatever.

    • “Muh greatest ally” You mean who their key pawn is?

      Israel are far worse than China. To hell with both of them.

    • Yes Australia could learn a thing or two from Israel you know small country with big clout … it’s all about who you get into bed with and that shady Chinna lady isn’t the right choice.

  6. Well you either give it or you get it .. unfortunately this is the way of the world.

  7. Pavlou standing up to the Chicom Chihuahuas while our billionaire’s turn tricks for the CCP.

  8. Even more concerning is that ‘our ABC’ employs journalists to promote the idea the ‘racism’ motivates western criticism of China. The CCP has an open policy to use its diaspora to advance its interests and divide foreign communities on the basis of race. Unless journalists are prepared to expose racism and human rights abuses in China (which is profound), they have not earned the bone fides to report a tapestry of anecdotes that advance the notion that Australian discourse and values are predicated upon ‘race’. There is racism in every nation, but this has been weaponised by the CCP and the ABC have caved in lock, stock and barrel. Our friends of the far Left have been their attack dogs.

    • If you’re far left you’re alert to fascism and how the working class is being exploited. I see the ABC as centrist. But otherwise agree with your comments.

    • Is it just me or is the does idea of the Confucius Institute bring a smirk to the lips. Get Smart comes to mind:..gong struck loudly…86 ears ringing…man in silky robe with epic moustache slides out of shadows…86 says “Aah Confucius”
      1970’s Ray cyst programming for the west back to back with hello yellow peril sculpture installed in the much derided – now relocated City Square. Sculpture still exists in back blocks of South Melbourne/Domain area.
      Then there’s spelling & phonetics: Confucius Con fuse Us
      Con (m) fuc us ( Ironically wants to spell correct to ‘ fix us’

  9. Money and greed let this happen to Aus, the property infatuation and drive for material things has allowed Aus to turn a blind eye as long as it dint affect their wealth….nothing is going to change until the property market obsession has been smashed out of us…until then we will sell our country to China and they know that..

  10. Clayton Utz – acting against Pavlou for China = Australia’s enemy – take your business away