The Chinese embassy in the Australian capital Canberra has posted a safety warning for Chinese students living in Australia on its website on Sunday, pursuant to an alleged rise of “insulting” and assault incidents.
Students are urged to report any safety issues to the embassy, according to ABC. The Chinese consulate-general in Melbourne issued a similar warning, the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party reported.
“Recently, attacks and insults targeting Chinese students have occurred in different places in Australia,” the warning read.
“Therefore, we warn all Chinese students in Australia to keep alert of possible danger and call the police and embassy if such incidents occur.”
— John Wren (@JohnWren1950) December 20, 2017
It’s rare for such statements to be issued. News.com.au believes they are in response to recent attacks on Chinese students in Australia, where three Chinese students were allegedly bashed when they declined to give cigarettes to two teenagers who approached them for it at a Woden bus stop in Canberra.
Racist flyers which said Chinese students were banned from entering buildings and could be deported otherwise, were also found at two Melbourne universities earlier in July.
Relationship between the two countries has been tense lately, over public discussion of Chinese Communist Party interference in Australia.
A series of events in Australian universities this year – which included a group of international Chinese students taking issue over their professor describing Taiwan as a separate country and another university’s lecturer apologising for showing a map of Chinese-claimed territory as part of India – raised concerns over academic freedom in Australian universities, which are increasingly dependent on Chinese students as a source of much-needed tuition revenue.
— Primrose Riordan (@primroseriordan) August 25, 2017
ABC notes a third of all international students in Australia are from China, based on Chinese government figures.
“Over the past 11 months, some Australian politicians and media have been obsessed with one thing, that is, criticizing China … Some Australian political figures and media are going even further to hype Chinese resentment and China containment,” wrote a Xinhua article titled “It’s time for Australia to decide what kind of relationship it wants with China”, which was posted on the consulate’s official website earlier in December.
Zheng Mengqi, a 25-year-old Chinese student living in Sydney, told People’s Daily Online: “I don’t feel surprised that anti-Chinese resentment can find its spot in Australia, as the county’s leaders have publicly declaimed China with groundless accusations on many occasions. I feel very disappointed, but I believe that Australians are generally friendly and kind to us.”