a university that became the scene of clashes between pro-Hong Kong and seasoned Beijing college students this week is beneath fireplace from numerous academics over its appointment of a serving Chinese diplomat as a faculty member. The controversy comes amid heightened scrutiny of Chinese have an impact on Australian universities, with the authorities on Thursday announcing an investigation into whether agreements between tertiary education establishments and Beijing-subsidized Confucius Institutes ought to violate anti-overseas-interference laws.
The University of Queensland named Xu Jie, the Chinese consul-general in Brisbane, as a touring professor of language and subculture in a July 15 ceremony on the university, in keeping with a Chinese-language statement posted at the consulate preferred’s website. The Brisbane-based college did no longer publicly announce the appointment. Responding to This Week in Asia’s queries on Friday night, a college representative said Xu became an accessory professor until December 2021. This becomes an unpaid, non-teaching role, and such appointments had been a “common exercise,” said spokeswoman Kim Lyell.
“In the past three years, the University of Queensland has appointed more than 260 professorial title holders – along with contemporary and previous Consul-Generals,” Lyell said in an e-mailed statement. “Their position at UQ is to assist increase the college’s Australian and international community. It is not the university’s ordinary practice to announce these appointments.” The appointment got here to mild on social media after opposing organizations of college students clashed throughout a protest to assist the anti-extradition invoice movement in Hong Kong.
On the university’s campus on Wednesday, seasoned Hong Kong students said they had been attacked without provocation with the aid of mainland students who threw punches, yelled insults, and ripped up signs and symptoms that condemned Beijing over its stance toward Hong Kong and the treatment of Uygurs in Xinjiang. But college students who supported the seasoned Beijing camp instructed local media they were also issued to intimidation. An 18-12 months-vintage finance scholar named Minghui Zhu advised ABC Australia that the presence of non-Chinese protesters changed into vexing for mainland college students and that tensions rose after a “calm communication” between each side. “It should be a person playing an underhanded recreation that inflamed and agitated humans,” he stated.