Lawyers look at Chinese threats

September 15, 2018

A legal panel is considering a “snitching scandal” involving Chinese students at the University of Adelaide that saw some threatened with being reported to the Chinese embassy in ­Canberra for alleged anti-­communist activity.

It comes amid calls by Conservatives Party leader Cory Bernardi for the university to conduct an investigation and for any international students ­“dobbing in fellow ­nationals” for participating in democracy to be suspended or expelled, and stripped of elected positions. 

Chinese students at the university were threatened with being reported for allegedly campaigning against communism during student elections last month. A key complaint was that a threatening message was circulated via the messaging platform WeChat. 

The message targeted students who were promoting a political banner that said “Jobs not Socialism”. The WeChat message claimed the banner was “openly against socialism and communism”, and warned that participators’ details had been reported to the embassy. 

Chinese students told The Weekend Australian “intimidating behaviour” during the election campaign had left many “freaking out” and concerned about the consequences for themselves and their families.

A spokesman for International Student Association Inc said the issue had caused “genuine safety concerns for a variety of students, impression of foreign meddling and negative ­effects to the education industry among parents”.

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