China Threatens Students Living Abroad

China Threatens Students Living Abroad

( – China’s Communist regime is well known for suppressing the free speech rights of its citizens at home and abroad. For example, in late 2019, a Chinese exchange student received a six-month prison sentence for posting tweets critical of President Xi Jinping while studying at the University of Minnesota. However, the practice of terrorizing students living abroad is nothing new and continues to this day.

On June 30, Human Rights Watch published a stunning article discussing the plight of pro-democracy Chinese students enrolled at Australian universities. Many of them reported they had to “alter their behavior and self-censor” their activities to avoid harassment from classmates and being “reported” to officials back in China.

That practice has been happening for a long time, but the students say efforts to control them using fear tactics have intensified in recent years. Sadly, the students claim university officials have failed to protect them and their academic freedoms.

Sophie McNeill, a Human Rights Watch Researcher and author of the report, said “it was really heartbreaking” to observe how alone and vulnerable the Chinese student felt.

According to her, the lack of support from university officials only serves to worsen the situation. She also stated that Australian universities “fear a backlash from Beijing” and sweep concerns “under the carpet” as part of an ongoing effort to avoid potential problems.

This mounting problem serves as a sad reminder of China’s warped approach to pushing back against democracy and the exercise of free speech.

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