Australia: China’s Fears About Its Students
It is ironic that the two countries — India and China — with whom Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd wishes to build special relationship have begun to put a lot of pressure on him after the increase in violence against foreign students in his country.
The Age of Australia reports: “The future of the $15.5 billion overseas student industry is under threat after the Chinese Government went public with concerns about violence against its students in Australia.
“Battling to contain the damage arising from attacks on Indian students, university vice-chancellors fear Australia’s third-largest export industry may face sanctions from the Chinese and Indian governments.
“Chinese embassy counsellor Liu Jin yesterday said his Government was intervening to ensure the safety of Chinese nationals.
” ‘There are over 130,000 Chinese students in Australia,’ he said. ‘They have, on the whole, had a good study and living environment in Australia, but attacks on Chinese students also occurred in recent years’.
“While diplomatic negotiations continue over recent violence, Australians have opened their wallets and hearts to the family of stabbing victim Shravan Kumar, offering to help bring his parents to Australia.
“Matthew Patrick, an Australian living in Japan, said he was willing to pay for and arrange flights to enable Mr Kumar’s family to visit their son in hospital.” More here…
Meanwhile Australia’s universities have joined the leaders of the Australian Government in condemning the recent attacks on Indian students living in Australia.
Dr Glenn Withers, Chief Executive of Universities Australia, the peak body representing 38 of Australia’s universities, expressed his sincere regret at the reports of attacks on Indian students studying in Australia.
Dr Withers also said “injury to even one student is totally unacceptable, and a strong and constructive response to any attack, however motivated, is essential. We know through surveys of the many, many thousands of enrolled and graduating students that the overwhelming experience of international students is positive, and this should be the outcome for every student”
Universities Australia was joined by the Australian Technology Network of Universities (a group of five innovative universities) in condemning the attacks.
ATN Chair and President of the University of Technology Sydney, Professor Ross Milbourne, said “The ATN is committed to continuing to provide all of our international students with a positive experience both on our campuses and within our communities”.
The ATN joined Universities Australia in welcoming the Australian Government’s proposed roundtable with international students as a means of direct consultation on key issues such as accommodation, transport and safety.
Lead Vice-Chancellor on international issues for Universities Australia, Professor Daryl Le Grew from the University of Tasmania will also attend the meeting, and said today that “we condemn such incidents unequivocally and take them very, very seriously. Student welfare is of paramount concern to Australian universities”.
“Universities are determined to ensure that international students remain safe while in Australia, working closely with police, governments, councils, and student organisations to deal with these events if they arise, and to help ensure they do not occur and we are encouraged to see a swift and strong response by police, with offenders identified and charges laid,” Professor Le Grew said.