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.

About the author
David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal. He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.