Time for a royal commission into university China links

Actually, it should be into the international students trade in its entirety but I’ll settle for China links. Why?

When your universities are capable of this:

And this:

The Australian director of Human Rights Watch says it is “deeply worrying” that the University of NSW pulled an article where she made comments critical of China’s human rights record in Hong Kong from its Twitter channel.

A tweet from UNSW sharing the article which quotes Elaine Pearson, who is also an adjunct law lecturer at the university, was removed following backlash from Chinese students. In the article, Ms Pearson called for the United Nations to establish a special envoy to investigate the deterioration of human rights in Hong Kong, following China’s crackdown on national security in the region.

“I think it is deeply worrying. Universities are the bastion of free speech and academic freedom,” she told The Australian.

“This is not just something with UNSW. There’s been lots of concerns at Australian universities around academic freedom and particularly around Chinese government threats to that.”

Ms Pearson called on the university sector in Australia to reflect on what academic freedom means to prevent institutions bowing to international pressure.

“It means not allowing yourself to be bullied or censoring the stories of staff,” she said.

“Clearly those pro-CCP supporters feel like they can bully the university into censoring certain views. I think the university needs to make it very clear that it is absolutely not negotiable.”

Then they have lost their social license to operate.

On top of that, universities have:

  • collaborated on military and surveillance technologies that aid and abet CCP power and persecution;
  • consistently put dollars ahead of lives during pandemic lobbying;
  • crashed pedagogical standards for foreign kids;
  • distorted policy and recruited policymakers in a classic case of regulatory capture, and
  • persecuted whistleblowers.

These institutions have been all but ruined in terms of their values, reason for being and licence to operate.

Time for a royal commission.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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Comments

  1. “Then [nuiversities[ have lost their social license to operate.”
    True, but in the last 20 years you can easily buy a social licence by spending money on PR, and unleashing cancel culture on your critics.

    Most large companies have found that it makes better business sense to carry on with immoral business and then spend a little on public relations to offset or confuse any bad press.

    • Incentivisation of immoral behaviour is the management paradigm forced upon the tertiary sector. You pay VCs vast sums to make profits at the expense of academic values and integrity. Money is compensation for being hated by those in your own institution as you and your corporate locusts sell out the integrity and self respect of academics to make profits. Could you ever imagine a government Minister or public sector authority making such a blatantly immoral CCP-biased decisions and heading to an election with this baggage?

  2. Luca BiasonMEMBER

    The RC should be expanded to broader governance and financial management, that’s when the full scale of the problem would be brought to the fore. The common misconception is that a university acts as an organic entity. This is far from the truth: it’s a bastion of feudalism and a disjointed archipelago of big and small kingdoms, held together by loose policy frameworks, lack of policy enforcement, inconsistent processes and individual initiative (for better or worse).

    Also I suggest to rephrase the drop down list: “On top of that, universities are:
    – collaborating on… etc etc