Saturday, 9 September 2017

The Ironies of Free Trade

Free Trade and Intellectual Freedom Don't Mix--Apparently

It seems that for at least some Chinese students studying abroad, a Western education is not all it's cracked up to be.  Chinese students are not used to basic human rights such as freedom of speech, liberty of thought and conscience.  When confronted with views and opinions which are implicitly critical of the Chinese regime or contrary to its propaganda, often Chinese students are alarmed and disturbed by such heretical notions.

Tensions are rising at some Australian universities amid concerns that the Chinese government is infiltrating teaching methods across the faculties, according to a report from
The concerns have arisen after multiple incidents of Chinese students demanding changes to teaching methods, as well as demanding apologies from lecturers about the way they explore certain topics. The trend has led to concern across Australia of the growing threat of the Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarian ideology infiltrating universities and potentially influencing other students.

Some students have even posted footage online of lecturers going against the Chinese Communist Party’s ideology.  Last week, a student at the Chinese University of Newcastle uploaded footage of him arguing with a lecturer who referred to Hong Kong and Taiwan as independent countries.  “You are making us feel uncomfortable,” the student tells business professor Nimay Khaliani. “You have to consider all the students.”  “Exactly, all the students, not one set of students,” replied Khaliani. [Breitbart]
No doubt the Chinese government will attempt to put pressure on Australian schools and universities via the much vaunted free-trade agreement between Australia and China.  We anticipate the exchange will go something like this.

Chinese Government to Canberra.  To the Middle Kingdom South Pacific Vassal--Australia.  

Please be advised of a most egregious breach of our honourable Free Trade Agreement.  It has been discovered that previously most-loyal vassal, Australia is deploying deceptive and misleading education to Chinese students.

Australian Association of Honourable Universities to the Middle Kingdom--China.  

Please stop "importing" your citizens to Australian universities and colleges.  We find it a breach of our honourable Free Trade agreement that the esteemed Middle Kingdom would "import" closed minded students to Australia to study and be educated.  The transaction carries deceptive and misleading packaging.
And so it goes on.
Recently, the publishing company Cambridge University Press ceded to pressure from Chinese authorities to remove an academic journal named China Quarterly, pulling 300 articles from their archives. However, they recently announced that the articles had been reinstated.    Over the past decade, the number of Chinese students studying overseas has grown exponentially. As a result of their high economic status, many come from families with close ties to China’s Communist Party or the higher echelons of government.
It sounds like Chinese students studying in Australia are pretty much like many erstwhile US students studying  in the United States.  In that country, students have rioted over hearing things that "triggered" them.  They have demanded "safe spaces" at colleges where their precious-petal prejudices would not be challenged.  They have demonstrated repeatedly that they have come to "study" with a closed, totalitarian mindset.

They are just like their Chinese counterparts acting like precious petals in Australian universities.

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