By now, it should be painfully clear when the CCP knocks on your door, they are not there to help. That’s true even when they offer large sums of cash. Many American institutions of higher learning have been tempted by the generous research grants ostensibly private Chinese companies have dangled before them, but Australian universities have accepted to an especially alarming extent. These shadowy ties are exposed in the Australian Broadcasting-Four Corners in-depth report, Red Flags, which releases today on iTunes.
Several American Universities have recently closed their campus Confucius Institutes, described by a recent Senate report as a centers of propaganda dissemination, with good reason, since they are directly controlled by China’s State Council, Consequently, all speakers and educational material they provide are approved by China’s authoritarian government. University of Queensland Vice-Chancellor Peter Høj was formerly an advisor to the CI regional organization, until he resigned after Australia passed new “Foreign Interference” disclosure laws.
Høj talks a good game about cultural exchange working both ways, but he never cites examples of how the UQ CI branch ever promoted the values of democracy and free expression in China or even with the many Chinese students enrolled at the university. Indeed, the opposite seems to be the case, given the way CCP-loyalist students were allowed to attack and intimidate pro-democracy students from Hong Kong and the campus allies, like activist Drew Pavlou, with impunity.
Yet, even more troubling are the joint research projects other Australian schools have conducted developing surveillance technology with Chinese companies like GTCOM that have been contracted to help identify, track, and monitor ethnic Uyghurs in East Turkestan (a.k.a. Xinjiang). It is not merely possible, but entirely likely Australian universities have helped devise tools that are facilitating genocide and making the world a much more dangerous and oppressive place.
The reporting in Red Flags is scrupulously fair. Host-director Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop treats academics like Høj with respect, allowing them plenty of time to speak for themselves. He even interviews an officially dispatched spokesman for the Chinese government. Despite their protestations, the short-sightedness documented here is deeply alarming. Given what Rubinsztein-Dunlop reports, all Australian (and American) institutions should review their joint projects and halt any possible transfer of technology that could aid the CCP regime’s military or surveillance capabilities. Also, schools should take a hard look at what the Confucius Institutes are really teaching. (Ask yourself what are the chances the CCP would allow American “George Santayana Institutes” on Chinese campuses?). Highly recommended as a necessary wake-up call, Red Flags is now available on iTunes (and the ABC/Four Corners has also posted it online).