Chinese monitoring questioned
An international student at uni in Brisbane has received a warning from Chinese authorities.
The student participated in a rally supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and condemning Beijing’s brutal repression of the Uighur ethnic minority group.
The rally at the University of Queensland rally also criticised the its links to the Chinese government, including a sit-in of the Beijing-funded Confucius Institute.
The day became violent when protestors were confronted by student supporters of the Chinese Communist Party.
Two days after the event, the student says Chinese authorities visited his family home and warned his parents of the potential consequences of political dissent.
It creates the disturbing suggestion that the Chinese government was monitoring the demonstration at the University of Queensland to record who attended.
“I was in the protest. When people were recording I was doing my best to hide my face or stay away from the crowd,” the student told reporters.
His mother said authorities warned him not to “join any events where people are gathered together”.
“As long as you do that, we can make sure you're safe and we're safe,” his mother told him.
She said the family assured officials that they and their son were loyal to the Communist Party.
Australian director of Human Rights Watch, Elaine Pearson, says Chinese authorities often monitor students and academics around the world.
“Australia is no different. Academics here described to me similar instances where students from China said their families were harassed or intimidated in response to what those students had said in the classroom,” she said.
“So this is not surprising or unusual. The question is what are universities doing to counter such retaliation?”