onsdag 30. juni 2021

China is threatening academic freedom in Australia, says HRW

Human Rights Watch has accused Australian universities of failing to protect the academic freedom of Chinese students who support democracy, saying many of them have altered their behaviour and practised self-censorship in order to avoid harassment and being “reported on” to authorities back home. In a new report released on Wednesday, HRW said Australian universities – which depend on the fees that international students bring – were “turning a blind eye to concerns about harassment and surveillance by the Chinese government and its proxies”.

The group said it interviewed 24 pro-democracy students from mainland China and Hong Kong, and verified three cases in which police in China visited or asked to meet their families regarding the students’ activities in Australia. In one case, Chinese authorities threatened a student with jail after they opened a Twitter account while studying in Australia and posted pro-democracy messages. The student told HRW that the police in mainland China “contacted my parents … and issued an official warning and they told me to ‘shut the f**k up’.”

“They said I must shut down my Twitter, stop spreading anti-government messages and if I don’t cooperate, they may charge me with a crime,” the student said. “I deleted the Twitter account. Because I’m worried for my parents.”