Philosophy student, 20, claims he faces expulsion from Australian university for ‘exposing its ties to the Chinese Communist Party’
- A University of Queensland student to face a disciplinary hearing this week
- The fourth-year student could face expulsion after speaking out against China
- Drew Pavlou led a series of demonstrations last year in support of Hong Kong
- He has been critical of the university’s financial ties to the Communist Party
A fourth-year philosophy student at the University of Queensland is facing the threat of expulsion this week after speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party.
Drew Pavlou is an elected member of the university’s senate and is now facing 11 accusations of ‘prejudicing the reputation’ of the institution.
The 20-year-old led a series of campus demonstrations last year, in support of Hong-Kong’s pro-democracy movement.
He also posted messages to social media criticising China’s authoritarian regime and denounced the university’s close financial ties with the Communist Party.
However the University of Queensland claim the breaches are not for criticising China but for positioning the statement’s as if they were on behalf of the university.
Mr Pavlou believes he is being unfairly targeted.
University of Queensland student Drew Pavlou (pictured) is facing the threat of expulsion this week after speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party
The fourth-year philosophy student led a series of demonstrations on the campus last year, in support of Hong-Kong’s pro-democracy protests
‘I am being threatened with this unprecedented move because of UQ’s particularly close relationship with the Chinese party-state; UQ enjoys perhaps the closest relationship of any university with the Chinese government in the Anglosphere,’ he wrote in an article for Foreign Policy.
‘In addition to funding and controlling a Confucius Institute on campus, the Chinese government funds at least four accredited UQ courses that present a party-approved version of Chinese history to students, glossing over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong, and mainland China.
‘In addition to these state-backed courses, the Chinese consul general in Brisbane, Xu Jie, serves as an honorary professor at the university.’
Mr Pavlou recently took Mr Xu to court after being attacked at a rally by Chinese nationalists.
‘In July 2019, I led a peaceful campus sit-in calling for UQ to completely cut ties with the Chinese state until Tibetans were freed, Uighur detention camps were closed, and Hong Kongers were afforded greater democracy,’ he said.
‘Masked pro-CCP heavies violently attacked our rally, assaulting me and choke-slamming other pro-Hong Kong students to the ground.’
Following the ugly incident, Mr Pavlou was named in a Chinese state media article by Mr Xu and accused of being ‘anti-China’.
As a result, Mr Pavlou claims he then received death threats, unsettling phone calls and letters.
Chinese consul general in Brisbane Xu Jie (left) serves as an honorary professor at the University of Queensland
Mr Pavlou was named in a Chinese state media article by Mr Xu (pictured) and accused of being ‘anti-China’
The University of Queensland said in a statement, it rejects the ‘unsubstantiated’ claims and is not attempting to prevent students from expressing their personal political views or trying to limit their right to freedom of speech.
‘The University is an active defender of freedom of speech – it has adopted the principles of the French Model Code into its policy framework,’ the statement said.
‘Everyday life at UQ demonstrates our ongoing commitment to its protection and promotion.’
The university says any decision at the disciplinary hearing will be made on the basis of fact and evidence and that the process provides a fair and confidential course of action.
The University of Queensland has approximately 10,000 Chinese students bringing in about $150 million to the university in student fees each year.
Mr Pavlou claims he’s being unfairly targeted by the university after speaking out against China’s authoritarian regime