Twelve months ago, Drew Pavlou organised a sit-in attended by just 20 people to protest China’s anti-democracy activities in Hong Kong and its persecution of the Uighur minority, as well as to highlight concerns about The University of Queensland’s ties with Beijing.
Since then, he’s copped death threats and near daily abuse, earned the fury of the Chinese Government, and been expelled as a student by a “kangaroo court”.
This is the extraordinary tale of how a 20-year-old student from Brisbane’s eastern suburbs woke the angry Chinese dragon, and went to war with one of Australia’s most regarded unis. …
The heavy brutal hand of China turns up at the University of Queensland:
So inexperienced at protesting was Mr Pavlou that he was half-an-hour late to his own demonstration, having forgotten to organise a loudspeaker.
“I was running around trying to find a printer to print some flyers, I was trying to get a loudspeaker — it was pretty haphazard. And it was small. There were 15 or 20 of us.” …
They sat down on a walkway and began chanting — typical uni demonstration fare, like “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! Xi Jinping has got to go” and variations of it.
“We didn’t really notice at first that we’d been surrounded on all sides,” Mr Pavlou said.
An estimated crowd of 200 pro-CCP activists had descended on the St Lucia campus to counter his small rally.
Things quickly turned ugly, he said.
“There were two or three people with face masks and sunglasses, trying to disguise their faces, with earpieces in, who all approached me from different angles. They seemed to be co-ordinating the group.
“One ripped the megaphone from my hand. I got up to confront him and got punched in the ribs and thrown to the ground. I got up again and got punched again in the side of the mouth.
“As I was being attacked, this crowd started playing the Chinese national anthem. We were surrounded on all sides and it became this stand-off.
“This guy came up behind me and punched me in the back of the head, threw me to the ground and grabbed my poster and tore it up.
“Other Hong Kong students were punched and choke-slammed. A security guard tried to step in and he was bitten.” …
What China did next:
Among Mr Pavlou’s rag-tag group of protesters that day were two students from mainland China.
Within hours, one had images of his passport and citizenship documents, along with his residential address in Brisbane, shared on the Chinese social media platform WeChat.
“Another guy who was with us, his parents (in mainland China) got a visit from state security officials who told them to make their son stop protesting,” Mr Pavlou said.
“Within hours, the Chinese government had identified people at a protest in Brisbane and mobilised police thousands of kilometres away. It was really scary.” …
Global Times, the English language mouthpiece of the Communist Party, wrote a scathing article about his protest.
Mr Pavlou was named, alongside a photograph, and described as a “separatist” – a crime on par with murder in China, punishable by death.
“To be called a separatist by Chinese state-controlled media was kind of an invitation for people to go open season on me,” he said.
“I had all of these abusive messages and death threats flooding in.”
Every one of the 20-odd people who had taken part in Mr Pavlou’s protest was identified and received threats and abuse, he said. …
“There were threats against me and my family, someone said they’d rape my mother in front of me and then kill us… it was vile stuff.” …
And things just escalated from there. Read it all. They picked on the wrong guy when they bullied Drew Pavlou.
The university administration weighed in on China’s side, in no uncertain terms. Disagreeing with leftists or China’s communist government is so not allowed at the University of Queensland. What an awful university.
Drew Pavlou outside the Supreme Court after filing proceedings against UQ, Vice-Chancellor Peter Hoj and Chancellor Peter Varghese. Pic Annette Dew, Source:News Corp Australia