China is infamous for suppressing free speech around the world. Not only in his own country, but also abroad, he has taken an aggressive stance against academics who speak out against China. Today, many teachers and students say that speaking out against China in the classroom has not been easy for them. Just days ago, Human Rights Watch released a report on Chinese government surveillance of Chinese and Hong Kong students studying at Australian universities.
Chinese experts censor themselves
It was said in this report that students and academics who criticize the Chinese Communist Party are threatened by Beijing supporters. They are harassed abroad. Interviews with 24 pro-democracy students from China and Hong Kong and 22 academics from Australian universities revealed that these students and scholars practiced self-censorship to avoid threats, harassment and surveillance.
Chinese students watch lectures on China
On the same topic, Associate Professor Joyce YM Knip and Senior Lecturer Andrew Ross of the University of Sydney wrote in The Conversation that during our little closed-door discussion at the University of Sydney in June, professors of arts and social sciences have made similar statements. Talk about experiences. Regarding ideological issues such as Hong Kong and Taiwan, speakers explained how a noisy minority of international Chinese students monitor teaching materials and class discussions. Because of these students, their classmates remained silent.
Speakers are challenged
Several speakers reported that they were challenged by some students to teach material and read material about China. A speaker explained diversity in an introductory art class discussion, making different references to the origins of university students. Later, the lecturer received an email from an international Chinese student. The student insisted that Taiwan and Hong Kong are not separate state entities (as noted in the demographic description) but are part of China and the information should be corrected.
Chinese student challenges professor over Corona’s origin
Another lecturer in a business studies course was arrested in class by an international student for calling the COVID-19 pandemic to originate from the Chinese city of Wuhan. On another occasion, an international Chinese student in a section of the Chinese media, instead of speaking on a defined topic during his presentation, called it a statement that the Western media was biased against China.
Teachers and students following self-censorship
Faced with such challenges, one speaker said she found herself forced to distance herself from controversial issues because if they are raised, the short time in class will not be enough for a productive discussion. She said this time contrasts with the mid-2000s when she first started teaching, when she felt free to raise any issue for class discussion. Often it is not the lecturer but the student who avoids conceptual problems.