March 29, 2017
While on a research trip consulting Chinese human rights lawyers, UTS’ associate professor of China Studies, Dr. Chongyi Feng, has been blocked from leaving China.
Professor Feng’s pro-democratic commentary has led to reported interrogations in an attempt to stifle academic opposition to the regime.
In question are his links with Chinese liberal intellectuals. But the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) intervention in academic research continues beyond that of domestic policy and directly involves UTS.
The Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI), founded by UTS in 2014, has been repeatedly criticised for its funding sources and foreign influence on Australia’s higher education system.
The ACRI releases research, hosts events, and promotes articles “based on a positive and optimistic view of Australia-China relations” according to their website. Director of ACRI, Bob Carr, maintained Chinese human rights violations should be covered by other organisations.
“We’re not Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International,” Mr. Carr told The Australian in 2016.
Mr. Carr is currently leading a delegation for ACRI in Beijing this week and has advised that private dealings be taken rather than other options to manage the situation. Vertigo contacted ACRI but Mr. Carr was unavailable for comment.
Now that Professor Feng has been placed on the no-fly list, it brings attention to UTS’ senior leadership regarding the role of ACRI while maintaining academic integrity within the university itself.
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