Top Australian universities admit China influence, but fear backlash if they do anything, by Primrose Riordan.
The peak body representing Australia’s elite universities has for the first time acknowledged there have been “isolated” instances of Chinese government interference on campuses but warned mishandling the issue risks the country’s third-largest export market.
In an interview with The Weekend Australian, Group of Eight chief executive Vicki Thomson said the response to China’s influence within universities must be countered in a “measured way” to prevent a backlash and protect the international education sector.
Unprecedented growth in international student enrolments, largely driven by the influx of approximately 170,000 Chinese nationals, resulted in a $22 billion boost to the Australian economy in the 2016-17 financial year — an 18.5 per cent increase on the year before.
In four prominent cases this year, academic staff at Australian universities have been targeted in Chinese social media campaigns after complaints from Chinese international students about “offensive” teaching material.
In the case at the University of Sydney, the institution issued an apology on behalf of the lecturer for using a map which did not show the Chinese interpretation of their territory.
The politically correct are politically corrected by the masters of PC, the communist Chinese.