UQ and China

A colleague wrote to me today asking about the case of Drew Pavlou, a student suspended by the University of Queensland for two years as a result of actions in the course of protests against the policies of the Chinese government in Hong Kong. Here’s my reply

I don’t know any more about it than what I read in the papers, but it certainly looks bad for UQ. To the extent that anything has come out about the reasons for suspending the student, they seem to be political stunts that are fairly typical of student activists. A sensible university management would ignore this kind of thing, not make a martyr of the student.
As you say, the more the Chinese regime deteriorates into a personal dictatorship, the more problematic it is to bend (or be seen to bend) to pressure in matters of this kind.

23 thoughts on “UQ and China

  1. It’s about free speech and student protest, and stupid authoritarian reaction by UQ.

    No doubt, there will be something in the case papers about ‘harassing’ or ‘ trespassing’, ‘bullying’ etc. Employer codes of conduct can be twisted very easily to justify draconian findings.

    Imagine the findings that could have been made against students in the 1960s,

    And how can you seriously believe that the disciplinary process could not have been stopped (or even not started) by the senior management of the University. They will say ‘we had to do it because complaints must be investigated..’ But there are always point of discretion and intervention available to the highest level of management.

  2. Are you sure JQ that this disciplinary action is about his protest against HK and UQ’s relationship with China? The Weekend Australian reports that he has been accused of harassment and bullying, and lists other allegations such as:

    The document said under Allegation 7: “On or about 13 March 2020, you: (i) approached the Office of the Vice-Chancellor in the Brian ­Wilson Chancellery Building at the University of ­Queensland St Lucia campus… You were dressed in clothing consistent in appearance with an orange biosafety suit. You posted a sign on a glass door that accesses the Office of the Vice-­Chancellor which read as follows: COVID-19 BIOHAZARD: CONDEMNED.” That stunt earned the following rebuke from UQ: “It is also alleged that by engaging in such conduct, you failed to treat the Vice-Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor’s staff, and UQ Security with respect and courtesy in your online communications, and in a fair and respectful manner regardless of individual differences.”

    Then there are the particulars of Allegation 3: “It is alleged that on or about 26 February 2020 at approximately 12:30pm, at the Secondhand Texts and Stationery shop located on the University of Queensland St Lucia campus, you purchased three (3) sheets of card. You picked up a saleable black marker from a shelf, lay the card on the ground in front of the shop’s counter and wrote messages on the card with the black marker, thereby blocking customers from being served. You then placed the black marker back on the shelf. Staff requested that you pay for the black marker but you exited the shop without doing so.”

    I don’t see any evidence that UQ kicks out people associated with BDS, even though it seems to have a campus or some kind of weird investment in Tel Aviv. Could it be that the HK thing is a diversion from the fact that this dude is a serial pest? What on earth is going on with the COVID demonstration in allegation 7 and what harassment and bullying has he been doing? Perhaps you should find out more before you judge.

    Also, do you really think that the Chinese government’s aggressiveness on HK is because it is a personal dictatorship run by one guy? Do you think that any democratic nation would behave differently if universities around the world were hosting demonstrations and movements demanding the dismantling of its territorial integrity? Your insistence that the root of China’s problematic behavior is its one-person leadership misses the possibility that there is a broad-based, nationwide support for the restoration of China’s territory and its ascension to what its people see as its proper place in the world. You also don’t consider the possibility that if China were genuinely democratic it would be way, way more chauvinist than it is now. Every time China relieves the pressure on its really nationalist and chauvinist elements things get nasty very quickly, and people saying that China is amplifying chauvinism because it’s a dictatorship should maybe consider the possibilty that China is actually squashing chauvinism through its dictatorship. What you see on Australian campuses are the people Chinese people sometimes laughingly refer to as “little pinks” – soft nationalists. That’s because the hard nationalists don’t have a voice where we in the west can see it. Why do you think that is?

  3. Famously, UQ had the archivist who revealed a Vice-Chancellor’s corrupt nepotism sacked; indeed the hierarchical administrative system that rules over the university’s staff as one approved high command’s belief that such corruption should be protected and efforts to fight it deterred. All of them should have been sacked for the decision.
    This seems like a similar case. The university is clearly trying to have a legitimately elected senator (!) kicked out of the uni altogether in order to cover up corrupt behavior, to deter further efforts to fight their corruption, and to signal their subordination to Beijing.
    This is simply a straight up-and-down question. Are university staff subjects of the uni administration in a sort of master-servant relationship or not? If not, how will we restructure the university to ensure people with that belief are kept away from the reins of office in future?

  4. Seriously, Faustusnotes? Serial pests don’t get this sort of process.

    As I said above, this is a typical ‘comb through the code of conduct’ stitch-up. But run by fools.

  5. Do you think that any democratic nation would behave differently if universities around the world were hosting demonstrations and movements demanding the dismantling of its territorial integrity?

    You ask what John Quiggin thinks, but what do you think? If, for example, there were demonstrations demanding Scottish independence, how do you think the UK government would react?

  6. By criticising the Chinese government, Mr Pavlou put UQ’s money at risk. Of course he was going to get severely punished. He who pays the piper etc.

  7. J-D, I’m not aware of Scottish indpendence activities happening outside of the UK. Perhaps you could ask what happens to BDS at universities around the world.

  8. Historyintime, here is a twitter thread by a student who comments on Drew’s harassment and racism in a public forum, and his behavior around the campus. It seems he is not universally seen as an enlightened activist. Note that student has had to remove identifying details from their twitter profile and some photos and other information because of harassment arising from the tweet. But yeah it’s only Chinese spies on campus behaving badly, right?

  9. Keep digging Faustusnotes. He’s annoying to some, like all agitators. But criticising China or its acolytes and enablers is not racism.

    And that Dr Gerald Roche linked to is a shocking humourless academic ‘Karen’. Imagine making a formal complaint about a mild joking tweet by a student, which read ‘looking forward to me and my friends giving Confucius Institute instructor mental breakdown’. Obvious joking invective. And then calling on other people to also complain calling it a ‘threat’. Are modern academics made of fairy floss?

    More substantively, this is an obvious stitch up of a dissident and very little to do with being a serial pest.

  10. +1 Andrew says at 7:42 pm
    “All of them should have been sacked for the decision.
    This seems like a similar case.”

    +1 Historyintime says at 8:53 pm “Seriously, Faustusnotes? Serial pests don’t get this sort of process.” … “More substantively, this is an obvious stitch up of a dissident and very little to do with being a serial pest.”

    faustusnotes says at 7:21 pm “Are you sure JQ that this disciplinary action is about his protest against HK and UQ’s relationship with China? ”

    Reverse faustnotes – Are you sure faustnotes, that his ‘disciplinary’ action is just about his protest against HK or UQ’s relationship with external funding entities or tactics such as “UQ knew of the suicide and knew that I was struggling yet chose to screen-cap my responses to those taunts to add to the case for my expulsion.”.

    UQ chancellor Peter Varghese says there “… are aspects of the findings and the severity of the penalty which personally concern me”…

    faustnotes, perhaps you have read the secret documents, but I doubt it. Such as the The Confucius Institute Agreement? Or maybe you have but “Peter Varghese’s responds…”Has UQ been transparent with students about the renegotiation of its Confucius Institute agreement?

    The minutes of Senate, other than confidential items, are publicly available.
    uq edu.au/news/uq-responds”
    Laughable isnt it? “other than confidential items” of a University I pay for.

    This is not confidential. You quote teh oz (why? doesn’t even rate a shoplifting charge) “The Weekend Australian reports that he has been accused of harassment and bullying, and lists other allegations such as:..”
    1. – respect and courtesy … fair and respectful manner oooh
    2. thereby blocking customers from being served. … requested that you pay for the black marker but you exited the shop without doing so. Oooh.

    Really? That is all you quote against “the panel had refused to hand over documents allegedly supporting the case against Pavlou.” And accusations – by a QC – of a kangaroo court?

    All the oz text does for me is show newzcorpse business model – take serious topic, write ephemera & culture crap around current topic, argue of people who tell you it is crap and write about the crap crap. Ad infinitum.

    faustnotes, what do you have to say about what happened at the hearing on Friday: “Morris said the panel had refused to hand over documents allegedly supporting the case against Pavlou.”

    6 months have gone by since “Chinese Consul-General ordered to provide campus violence evidence … “the court has instructed Dr Xu, the University of Queensland, the Confucius Institute at the University of Queensland, the university’s student union and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, to provide any communications about the incident to Mr Pavlou.”

    Pavlou & his lawyer, barrister Tony Morris QC, are still waiting as “the panel had refused to hand over documents allegedly supporting the case against Pavlou.”

    “Australian University Suspends Student Who Criticized Its China Ties

    “There are aspects of the findings and the severity of the penalty which personally concern me – (UQ chancellor Peter Varghese) [and] I have decided to convene an out-of-session meeting of UQ’s Senate next week to discuss the matter.”

    ‘Kangaroo court’
    Varghese’s statement came after Pavlou’s lawyer, barrister Tony Morris QC walked out of the disciplinary panel hearing last week, saying it was a “kangaroo court.”

    Morris said the panel had refused to hand over documents allegedly supporting the case against Pavlou.”
    rfa org/english/news/china/australia-student-05292020085511.html

    smh com.au/national/chinese-consul-general-ordered-to-provide-campus-violence-evidence-20191122-p53dal.html

    Prevent the University of Queensland from silencing Drew Pavlou for fighting for justice.
    38,369 have signed.
    change org/p/the-university-of-queensland-prevent-the-university-of-queensland-from-expelling-drew-pavlou-for-unjust-reasons

    And if Pavlou gets to the supreme or high court he will probably win – if we knew what was in the ” remarkable 186-page confidential document outlining the case for my expulsion before a secret university tribunal with the power to deny me the ability to appear with legal representation” [foriegn policy link below] he was ‘disciplined’ in the kangaroo court for…
    “Changes to laws governing protests loosen restraints on police powers
    By Richard Ackland
        In 2000, Patrick Coleman, a law and politics student at James Cook University, was protesting by distributing leaflets in Townsville, accusing the police of corruption.

    Among other things, the pamphlets invited the police to “kiss my arse you slimy lying bastards”. He also publicly insulted Constable Brendan Power, who had asked for one of the fliers.

    Coleman was convicted of using insulting words under the Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act and, ultimately, when his appeal got to the High Court, one of the main issues was whether the act burdened the implied freedom of communication about government or political matters and whether it also served a legitimate end compatible with representative government.

    Four out of seven of the judges said it did burden the implied freedom and was not compatible with a legitimate end, so Coleman’s convictions under the act were set aside.

    The common law has long held that citizens have a right to assemble and protest peacefully. Of course, without a bill of rights the common law can be overturned by legislation. Nor do we have an explicit right to assembly, because it is only relevant in circumstances where the implied freedom of political communication arises and as we have seen that varies, depending on whether you are handing out insulting leaflets or protesting against duck hunting.”
    theguardian com/law/commentisfree/2016/mar/18/changes-to-laws-governing-protests-ease-restraints-on-police-powers

    faustusnotes, Drew Pavlou repeats many of the things you take umbrage about re china. Correct or not – so what. Do any other students proffer unsubstaniated information about other UQ agreements? YES. He is a uni student and an elected senator. Here is how he feels… “UQ knew of the suicide and knew that I was struggling yet chose to screen-cap my responses to those taunts to add to the case for my expulsion.” Abuse. Whoever posted the tweet should be sacked asap).

    Here is the horses mouth. You do understand being labelled a seperatist is also a potential death penalty? 

    And faustusnotes you posted at 4.13pm “Note that student has had to remove identifying details from their twitter profile and some photos and other information because of harassment arising from the tweet” but no mention of UQ – UQ posting all caps taunt of a suicide? Death threats “and needed campus security to attend my classes”.

    DREW PAVLOU | MAY 14, 2020,
    I Criticized My University’s Ties to the Chinese Government. Now I Face Expulsion. Australian institutions’ financial ties to China mean ditching values.

    “In the aftermath, I was named by Chinese state media and condemned as a “separatist” by Xu, the Brisbane consul general and UQ professor. After Xu’s statement, I was sent dozens of death threats. Some of the more vile promised to torture my family and rape my mother as I watched. I received anonymous, unsettling phone calls and letters in the mail and needed campus security to attend my classes.

    “UQ never dismissed Xu from his university post, even after he threatened my safety as a student. UQ put out a milquetoast statement affirming its commitment to “peaceful protest” but behind the scenes threatened to cancel my enrollment if I held another rally. When I requested to meet with the vice chancellor about what was happening, I was ignored and rebuffed. When I ran for the UQ Senate so he would have to meet with me, UQ officials recruited a pro-CCP candidate to run against me. When this pro-CCP candidate posted a statement on Chinese social media attacking me as “anti-China,” it went viral. Consequently, I was assaulted while campaigning, andthreatening posters attacking me in Mandarin were put up on campus.

    “When I was elected despite all this, UQ stepped up its harassment. After posting an online satirical jab about the Confucius Institute’s ties to the Chinese government, UQ engaged a top-drawer Australian law firm, Clayton Utz, to intimidate and threaten me with a lawsuit. I was sent a letter by a partner at the firm instructing me that if I did not delete the post immediately, UQ reserved the right “to commence proceedings … to seek costs, including indemnity costs.” As a 20-year-old student, I had next to no ability to pay a billion-dollar institution like UQ “indemnity costs,” and they knew it. This was bullying and intimidation, plain and simple—an attempt to exploit the huge power imbalance that existed between UQ as an institution and me as an individual. I deleted the post.

    “It wasn’t enough for them. I was truly shocked when this April, just days before my publicly listed court proceedings against Xu in which I sought a protection order from the court for my own safety, UQ mailed me a remarkable 186-page confidential document outlining the case for my expulsion before a secret university tribunal with the power todeny me the ability to appear with legal representation. Alongside claims that my statements as a student representative in support of Hong Kong “prejudiced the reputation of the University” and forced Chinese students to drop out and thus cease paying university fees (the horror!), UQ listed absurdly trivial and petty matters in the case outlining my expulsion. One accusation leveled against me noted that I used a pen in a campus shop to write a note, only to return the pen to the shelf without paying.

    “Another allegation had it that I “bullied” UQ students when I responded to a group of people taunting me over the recent suicide of a close friend — a man on the opposite end of the political spectrum to me but who remained a dear mate — by responding to them with some colorful Australian English (as any grieving, hot-blooded 20-year-old would be wont to do). UQ knew of the suicide and knew that I was struggling yet chose to screen-cap my responses to those taunts to add to the case for my expulsion. The university decided to target me months ago and then compiled anything and everything it could use against me under the extremely broad terms of the Student Charter to attempt to expel me.”
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/05/14/i-criticized-my-universitys-ties-to-the-chinese-government-now-i-face-expulsion/

  11. +1 Andrew says at 7:42 pm
    “All of them should have been sacked for the decision.
    This seems like a similar case.”

    +1 Historyintime says at 8:53 pm “Seriously, Faustusnotes? Serial pests don’t get this sort of process.” … “More substantively, this is an obvious stitch up of a dissident and very little to do with being a serial pest.”

    faustusnotes says at 7:21 pm “Are you sure JQ that this disciplinary action is about his protest against HK and UQ’s relationship with China? ”

    Reverse faustnotes – Are you sure faustnotes, that this ‘disciplinary’ action is just about his protest against HK or UQ’s relationship with external funding entities or tactics such as “UQ knew of the suicide and knew that I was struggling yet chose to screen-cap my responses to those taunts to add to the case for my expulsion.”.

    UQ chancellor Peter Varghese says there “… are aspects of the findings and the severity of the penalty which personally concern me”…

    faustnotes, perhaps you have read the secret documents, but I doubt it. Such as the The Confucius Institute Agreement? Or maybe you have but “Peter Varghese’s responds…”Has UQ been transparent with students about the renegotiation of its Confucius Institute agreement?

    The minutes of Senate, other than confidential items, are publicly available.
    uq edu.au/news/uq-responds”
    Laughable isnt it? “other than confidential items” of a University I pay for.

    This is not confidential. You quote teh oz (why? doesn’t even rate a shoplifting charge) “The Weekend Australian reports that he has been accused of harassment and bullying, and lists other allegations such as:..”
    1. – respect and courtesy … fair and respectful manner oooh
    2. thereby blocking customers from being served. … requested that you pay for the black marker but you exited the shop without doing so. Oooh.

    Really? That is all you quote against “the panel had refused to hand over documents allegedly supporting the case against Pavlou.” And accusations – by a QC – of a kangaroo court?

    All the oz text does for me is show newzcorpse business model – take serious topic, write ephemera & culture crap around current topic, argue of people who tell you it is crap and write about the crap crap. Ad infinitum.

    faustnotes, what do you have to say about what happened at the hearing on Friday: “Morris said the panel had refused to hand over documents allegedly supporting the case against Pavlou.”

    6 months have gone by since “Chinese Consul-General ordered to provide campus violence evidence … “the court has instructed Dr Xu, the University of Queensland, the Confucius Institute at the University of Queensland, the university’s student union and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, to provide any communications about the incident to Mr Pavlou.”

    Pavlou & his lawyer, barrister Tony Morris QC, are still waiting as “the panel had refused to hand over documents allegedly supporting the case against Pavlou.”

    “Australian University Suspends Student Who Criticized Its China Ties

    “There are aspects of the findings and the severity of the penalty which personally concern me – (UQ chancellor Peter Varghese) [and] I have decided to convene an out-of-session meeting of UQ’s Senate next week to discuss the matter.”

    ‘Kangaroo court’
    Varghese’s statement came after Pavlou’s lawyer, barrister Tony Morris QC walked out of the disciplinary panel hearing last week, saying it was a “kangaroo court.”

    Morris said the panel had refused to hand over documents allegedly supporting the case against Pavlou.”
    rfa org/english/news/china/australia-student-05292020085511.html

    smh com.au/national/chinese-consul-general-ordered-to-provide-campus-violence-evidence-20191122-p53dal.html

    Prevent the University of Queensland from silencing Drew Pavlou for fighting for justice.
    38,369 have signed.
    change org/p/the-university-of-queensland-prevent-the-university-of-queensland-from-expelling-drew-pavlou-for-unjust-reasons

    And if Pavlou gets to the supreme or high court he will probably win – if we knew what was in the ” remarkable 186-page confidential document outlining the case for my expulsion before a secret university tribunal with the power to deny me the ability to appear with legal representation” [foriegn policy link below] he was ‘disciplined’ in the kangaroo court for…
    “Changes to laws governing protests loosen restraints on police powers
    By Richard Ackland
        In 2000, Patrick Coleman, a law and politics student at James Cook University, was protesting by distributing leaflets in Townsville, accusing the police of corruption.

    Among other things, the pamphlets invited the police to “kiss my arse you slimy lying bastards”. He also publicly insulted Constable Brendan Power, who had asked for one of the fliers.

    Coleman was convicted of using insulting words under the Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act and, ultimately, when his appeal got to the High Court, one of the main issues was whether the act burdened the implied freedom of communication about government or political matters and whether it also served a legitimate end compatible with representative government.

    Four out of seven of the judges said it did burden the implied freedom and was not compatible with a legitimate end, so Coleman’s convictions under the act were set aside.

    The common law has long held that citizens have a right to assemble and protest peacefully. Of course, without a bill of rights the common law can be overturned by legislation. Nor do we have an explicit right to assembly, because it is only relevant in circumstances where the implied freedom of political communication arises and as we have seen that varies, depending on whether you are handing out insulting leaflets or protesting against duck hunting.”
    theguardian com/law/commentisfree/2016/mar/18/changes-to-laws-governing-protests-ease-restraints-on-police-powers

    faustusnotes, Drew Pavlou repeats many of the things you take umbrage about re china. Correct or not – so what. Do any other students proffer unsubstaniated information about other UQ agreements? YES. He is a uni student and an elected senator. Here is how he feels… “UQ knew of the suicide and knew that I was struggling yet chose to screen-cap my responses to those taunts to add to the case for my expulsion.” Abuse. Whoever posted the tweet should be sacked asap).

    Here is the horses mouth. You do understand being labelled a seperatist is also a potential death penalty? 

    And faustusnotes you posted at 4.13pm “Note that student has had to remove identifying details from their twitter profile and some photos and other information because of harassment arising from the tweet” but no mention of UQ – UQ posting all caps taunt of a suicide? Death threats “and needed campus security to attend my classes”.

    DREW PAVLOU | MAY 14, 2020,
    I Criticized My University’s Ties to the Chinese Government. Now I Face Expulsion. Australian institutions’ financial ties to China mean ditching values.

    “In the aftermath, I was named by Chinese state media and condemned as a “separatist” by Xu, the Brisbane consul general and UQ professor. After Xu’s statement, I was sent dozens of death threats. Some of the more vile promised to torture my family and rape my mother as I watched. I received anonymous, unsettling phone calls and letters in the mail and needed campus security to attend my classes.

    “UQ never dismissed Xu from his university post, even after he threatened my safety as a student. UQ put out a milquetoast statement affirming its commitment to “peaceful protest” but behind the scenes threatened to cancel my enrollment if I held another rally. When I requested to meet with the vice chancellor about what was happening, I was ignored and rebuffed. When I ran for the UQ Senate so he would have to meet with me, UQ officials recruited a pro-CCP candidate to run against me. When this pro-CCP candidate posted a statement on Chinese social media attacking me as “anti-China,” it went viral. Consequently, I was assaulted while campaigning, andthreatening posters attacking me in Mandarin were put up on campus.

    “When I was elected despite all this, UQ stepped up its harassment. After posting an online satirical jab about the Confucius Institute’s ties to the Chinese government, UQ engaged a top-drawer Australian law firm, Clayton Utz, to intimidate and threaten me with a lawsuit. I was sent a letter by a partner at the firm instructing me that if I did not delete the post immediately, UQ reserved the right “to commence proceedings … to seek costs, including indemnity costs.” As a 20-year-old student, I had next to no ability to pay a billion-dollar institution like UQ “indemnity costs,” and they knew it. This was bullying and intimidation, plain and simple—an attempt to exploit the huge power imbalance that existed between UQ as an institution and me as an individual. I deleted the post.

    “It wasn’t enough for them. I was truly shocked when this April, just days before my publicly listed court proceedings against Xu in which I sought a protection order from the court for my own safety, UQ mailed me a remarkable 186-page confidential document outlining the case for my expulsion before a secret university tribunal with the power todeny me the ability to appear with legal representation. Alongside claims that my statements as a student representative in support of Hong Kong “prejudiced the reputation of the University” and forced Chinese students to drop out and thus cease paying university fees (the horror!), UQ listed absurdly trivial and petty matters in the case outlining my expulsion. One accusation leveled against me noted that I used a pen in a campus shop to write a note, only to return the pen to the shelf without paying.

    “Another allegation had it that I “bullied” UQ students when I responded to a group of people taunting me over the recent suicide of a close friend — a man on the opposite end of the political spectrum to me but who remained a dear mate — by responding to them with some colorful Australian English (as any grieving, hot-blooded 20-year-old would be wont to do). UQ knew of the suicide and knew that I was struggling yet chose to screen-cap my responses to those taunts to add to the case for my expulsion. The university decided to target me months ago and then compiled anything and everything it could use against me under the extremely broad terms of the Student Charter to attempt to expel me.”
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/05/14/i-criticized-my-universitys-ties-to-the-chinese-government-now-i-face-expulsion/

    As JQ said ‘I don’t know any more about it than what I read in the papers, but it certainly looks bad for UQ”.

  12. KT2, your comment is incomprehensible. Please learn to use blockquote and how to embed urls.

    Historyintime, why do you think that a joke about harassing a teacher is okay just because it’s a Chinese teacher? I doubt you would view it with the same light humour if it were a teacher of an Aboriginal language. Your biases show when you say things like this.

    I’m looking forward, given the events of the last week, to the calls for the severing of all ties between Australian and US universities. I’m sure that everyone here will support such actions forthwith, right? Even if they’re proposed by Chinese faculty or students?

  13. @faustusnotes Whataboutery is rarely a sign that you are arguing from strength. If you could be expelled for demanding that Australian unis cut ties with US institutions, I would have been thrown out of ANU in the 1970s. We regularly protested about things like the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, politicized exchange programs etc.

  14. John Quiggin, conspiracy theories are also not a sign you’re arguing from strength. The OP is a conspiracy theory – you have no idea whether China has exerted any pressure on UQ (or if UQ has listened if they did) but you seem very sure this is something to do with Xi Jinping. I’m wondering why you draw the conclusion at the end of your post when you state clearly at the beginning that you don’t know anything about the case.

    You didn’t get thrown out of ANU in the 1970s because, I would hazard, universities were more forgiving back then than they are now, and you demonstrated back then because the Australian left still knew what the world’s problems really were. It isn’t whataboutery to ask why so much of the Australian left is focused on the imagined and misguided belief that China is a threat – indeed, as far as we can tell, in this post making up a threat – while ignoring the very real threat that is the USA. It should be far clearer now than it ever was in the 1970s that the USA is the threat to global peace and prosperity and indeed to human civilization, and that to the extent that countries like China develop and gain political strength on the global stage they act to reduce the threat that the USA causes. Yet people – on here, in campuses, in the pages of execrable journals like Foreign Policy, in parliament and elsewhere – seem to be concerned only with China.

    And mark my words it will get worse. At some point in the near future after it reopens its economy and coronavirus surges the US is going to start putting pressure on its allies to reopen our borders to its citizens. At that point finally Australians will realize what a genuine threat to their wellbeing the USA is. I don’t know how much I can say this or how many ways, but every single thread of the left, centre-left and centre-right’s obsessive focus on China is distracting us from the very real, existential threat that the US poses to everyone. Everyone’s efforts should be focused on reforming the USA and if we can’t reform it, decoupling from it and finding better and more reliable allies and political partners – which means pretty much anyone in Asia, including China. But instead we’re making up stories about how the Chinese govt pressured a regional university of one of the smallest countries in the hemisphere over the antics of a single guy who is clearly a badly-behaved and probably racist outlier in the political scene of that regional university. Why are we doing this?

  15. “Conspiracy theory” Give it a break, Faustusnotes. The Chinese consulate organized a counterprotest and the vice-consul praised the protesters. That’s clearly pressure. I was giving UQ the benefit of the doubt in saying that, despite appearances, they may have been acting independently of that pressure.

    As for the general position of the left, your arguments (and the mirror image arguments of the Trumpists) are the same as those of the Stalinists and the Cold Warriors – pick Moscow or Washington], then hold your noise and praise their crimes. The left as a whole rejected them then, and are right to do so now.

    From now on, take any comments on China to the sandpit.

  16. J.Q.,

    Thanks for that reply. I am getting more than a little tired of our resident Maoist and his outrageous propaganda for the CCP. My trenchant criticism of US right-wing politics (both parties) plus capitalism and neoliberalism in general has been plain and prolix on this blog for a very long time. When I apply equally trenchant criticism to the totalitarian CCP for their crimes we see the replies we get from our now-resident Maoist propagandist. As you note, democratic socialists in the West long ago rejected Stalinism, Maoism and those sad anachronistic cold war warriors who still support their “left” wing totalitarian ideology, right or wrong.

  17. Anybody who’s interested can read the Student Integrity and Misconduct Policy of the University of Queensland at the following URL:
    https://ppl.app.uq.edu.au/content/student-integrity-and-misconduct-policy

    It’s not wrong that the University has this policy. It should have an official explicitly described procedure for dealing with complaints, and it does, so that’s good, as far as that goes.

    As far as I can tell, in this case the decision was made by the Disciplinary Board, which consists of the following
    a senior member of academic staff, appointed by the VC, as chair
    two other members of academic staff, also appointed by the VC
    two students, appointed by the VC after consulting the President of the UQ Union (the student organisation)

    (The two student members have to be students at the time they are appointed; they are appointed for one-year terms so that, for example, somebody who is appointed as a student member and then graduates, ceasing to be a student, can still continue to hold the position to the end of the one-year term.)

    There is a right of appeal from decisions of the Disciplinary Board to the Senate Discipline Appeals Committee, which consists of the following:
    two Senators who are not members of academic staff, appointed by the Senate, one of whom is the chair
    one academic board member, appointed by the Chancellor after consulting the President of the Academic Board
    two students, appointed by the Chancellor after consulting the President of the UQ Union (again, they have to be students at the time of appointment, but can continue for one-year terms as mentioned above)

    Given the concerns publicly expressed by the Chancellor, you’d have to think there’s be a reasonable chance that an appeal would result in the penalty at least being reduced, if not actually overturned, although then again, who knows?

  18. And that Dr Gerald Roche linked to is a shocking humourless academic ‘Karen’.

    There are lots of people called Karen in the world, and lots of people who love them. Don’t turn a person’s name into an insult.

    Also, if you’re thinking of it, don’t tell me that I have no sense of humour. It’s because I do have a sense of humour that I know this kind of thing is not funny. It’s cruel.

  19. faustusnotes says at 12:13 pm
    “KT2, your comment is incomprehensible.”. Pity you didn’t scroll down then.

    “… faustusnotes you posted at 4.13pm “Note that student has had to remove identifying details from their twitter profile and some photos and other information because of harassment arising from the tweet” but no mention of UQ – UQ posting all caps taunt of a suicide? Death threats “and needed campus security to attend my classes”.

    DREW PAVLOU | MAY 14, 2020,
    I Criticized My University’s Ties to the Chinese Government. Now I Face Expulsion. Australian institutions’ financial ties to China mean ditching values.

    “In the aftermath, I was named by Chinese state media and condemned as a “separatist” by Xu, the Brisbane consul general and UQ professor. After Xu’s statement, I was sent dozens of death threats. Some of the more vile promised to torture my family and rape my mother as I watched. I received anonymous, unsettling phone calls and letters in the mail and needed campus security to attend my classes.

    “UQ never dismissed Xu from his university post, even after he threatened my safety as a student. UQ put out a milquetoast statement affirming its commitment to “peaceful protest” but behind the scenes threatened to cancel my enrollment if I held another rally. When I requested to meet with the vice chancellor about what was happening, I was ignored and rebuffed. When I ran for the UQ Senate so he would have to meet with me, UQ officials recruited a pro-CCP candidate to run against me. When this pro-CCP candidate posted a statement on Chinese social media attacking me as “anti-China,” it went viral. Consequently, I was assaulted while campaigning, andthreatening posters attacking me in Mandarin were put up on campus.

    “When I was elected despite all this, UQ stepped up its harassment. After posting an online satirical jab about the Confucius Institute’s ties to the Chinese government, UQ engaged a top-drawer Australian law firm, Clayton Utz, to intimidate and threaten me with a lawsuit. I was sent a letter by a partner at the firm instructing me that if I did not delete the post immediately, UQ reserved the right “to commence proceedings … to seek costs, including indemnity costs.” As a 20-year-old student, I had next to no ability to pay a billion-dollar institution like UQ “indemnity costs,” and they knew it. This was bullying and intimidation, plain and simple—an attempt to exploit the huge power imbalance that existed between UQ as an institution and me as an individual. I deleted the post.

    “It wasn’t enough for them. I was truly shocked when this April, just days before my publicly listed court proceedings against Xu in which I sought a protection order from the court for my own safety, UQ mailed me a remarkable 186-page confidential document outlining the case for my expulsion before a secret university tribunal with the power todeny me the ability to appear with legal representation. Alongside claims that my statements as a student representative in support of Hong Kong “prejudiced the reputation of the University” and forced Chinese students to drop out and thus cease paying university fees (the horror!), UQ listed absurdly trivial and petty matters in the case outlining my expulsion. One accusation leveled against me noted that I used a pen in a campus shop to write a note, only to return the pen to the shelf without paying.

    “Another allegation had it that I “bullied” UQ students when I responded to a group of people taunting me over the recent suicide of a close friend — a man on the opposite end of the political spectrum to me but who remained a dear mate — by responding to them with some colorful Australian English (as any grieving, hot-blooded 20-year-old would be wont to do). UQ knew of the suicide and knew that I was struggling yet chose to screen-cap my responses to those taunts to add to the case for my expulsion. The university decided to target me months ago and then compiled anything and everything it could use against me under the extremely broad terms of the Student Charter to attempt to expel me.”
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/05/14/i-criticized-my-universitys-ties-to-the-chinese-government-now-i-face-expulsion/

    Incomprehensible?

  20. Incomprehensible 2

    faustusnotes, Drew Pavlou repeats many of the things you take umbrage about re china. Correct or not – so what. Do any other students proffer unsubstaniated information about other UQ agreements? YES. He is a uni student and an elected senator. Here is how he feels… “UQ knew of the suicide and knew that I was struggling yet chose to screen-cap my responses to those taunts to add to the case for my expulsion.” Abuse. Whoever posted the tweet should be sacked asap).

  21. Incomorehensible 3. Why Drew will win when he gets to court.

    And if Pavlou gets to the supreme or high court he will probably win – if we knew what was in the ” remarkable 186-page confidential document outlining the case for my expulsion before a secret university tribunal with the power to deny me the ability to appear with legal representation” [foriegn policy link below] he was ‘disciplined’ in the kangaroo court for…
    “Changes to laws governing protests loosen restraints on police powers
    By Richard Ackland
        In 2000, Patrick Coleman, a law and politics student at James Cook University, was protesting by distributing leaflets in Townsville, accusing the police of corruption.

    Among other things, the pamphlets invited the police to “kiss my arse you slimy lying bastards”. He also publicly insulted Constable Brendan Power, who had asked for one of the fliers.

    Coleman was convicted of using insulting words under the Vagrants, Gaming and Other Offences Act and, ultimately, when his appeal got to the High Court, one of the main issues was whether the act burdened the implied freedom of communication about government or political matters and whether it also served a legitimate end compatible with representative government.

    Four out of seven of the judges said it did burden the implied freedom and was not compatible with a legitimate end, so Coleman’s convictions under the act were set aside.

    The common law has long held that citizens have a right to assemble and protest peacefully. Of course, without a bill of rights the common law can be overturned by legislation. Nor do we have an explicit right to assembly, because it is only relevant in circumstances where the implied freedom of political communication arises and as we have seen that varies, depending on whether you are handing out insulting leaflets or protesting against duck hunting.”
    theguardian com/law/commentisfree/2016/mar/18/changes-to-laws-governing-protests-ease-restraints-on-police-powers

  22. Incomprehensible 4.

    UQ chancellor Peter Varghese says there “… are aspects of the findings and the severity of the penalty which personally concern me”… [ excellent plausible denability strategy ]

    faustnotes, perhaps you have read the secret documents, but I doubt it. Such as the The Confucius Institute Agreement? Or maybe you have but “Peter Varghese’s responds…”Has UQ been transparent with students about the renegotiation of its Confucius Institute agreement?

    UQ quote: “The minutes of Senate, other than confidential items, are publicly available.”
    uq edu.au/news/uq-responds”
    Laughable isnt it? “other than confidential items” of a University I pay for.

    This is not confidential. You quote teh oz (why? doesn’t even rate a shoplifting charge) “The Weekend Australian reports that he has been accused of harassment and bullying, and lists other allegations such as:..”
    1. – respect and courtesy … fair and respectful manner oooh
    2. thereby blocking customers from being served. … requested that you pay for the black marker but you exited the shop without doing so. Oooh.

    Really? That is all you quote against “the panel had refused to hand over documents allegedly supporting the case against Pavlou.” And accusations – by a QC – of a kangaroo court?

    All the oz text does for me is show newzcorpse business model – take serious topic, write ephemera & culture crap around current topic, argue of people who tell you it is crap and write about the crap crap. Ad infinitum

    Keep quoting teh oz faistusnotes -for a laugh. Incomprehensible really.

  23. J-D, I’m not aware of Scottish indpendence activities happening outside of the UK.

    Neither am I, but that wasn’t the question. Given what we know about how the UK government has responded to the Scottish independence movement inside the UK, how would you expect the UK government to react to activities in support of it (the Scottish independence movement) in other countries?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s