Schol­ars split on ‘in­ter­fer­ence’

THE (Times Higher Education) - - NEWS -

Aus­tralian aca­demics are at log­ger­heads over Chi­nese in­flu­ence on their cam­puses, as de­bate about pro­posed for­eign in­ter­fer­ence leg­is­la­tion reaches boil­ing point. Thirty-five China schol­ars have penned an open let­ter deny­ing that the de­bate is fu­elled by racism, and warn­ing of Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party med­dling in pol­i­tics, the me­dia, com­mu­nity groups and uni­ver­si­ties. The let­ter has been lodged as a sub­mis­sion to a Se­nate com­mit­tee en­quir­ing into pro­posed na­tional se­cu­rity leg­is­la­tion amend­ments which, among other things, in­tro­duce new of­fences re­lat­ing to for­eign in­ter­fer­ence with Aus­tralia’s po­lit­i­cal pro­cesses. An­other group of 30 China schol­ars had pre­vi­ously re­leased an open let­ter and sub­mis­sion con­demn­ing the pro­pos­als as a

“threat to in­tel­lec­tual free­dom”.

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