MANY have been raising alarm for some time now … about ‘the soft power’ approach of China … it would appear facilitated by Australia’s trade … open borders … the FIRB Ruling allowing the Australian Property Sector to sell Australian Real Estate particularly to Chinese buyers (residential, commercial and agricultural) …
With International Students largely from China … also involved in Research in our Universities … followed by the hacking at the ANU!
China and its State-owned Enterprises own much of our Infrastructure … including power, transport, mines, healthcare including private hospitals, nursing homes, retirement villages, pharmaceuticals, airports, pilot schools …
Vertical integration by Chinese developers buying up some 40 per cent or more of large land sites for house and land packages for Chinese buyers … aside from high-rise Precinct development …
SEARCH CAAN Website for the Category ‘CHINA on the global stage; entitlement; one belt one road …’ to find more
Has ‘the penny finally dropped’ with the Morrison Government … and that much activity is not confined to our Universities but is widespread throughout our communities … where their presence is deliberate and focused …
Will it be ‘business as usual’ to hell with the consequences? Or has the penny finally dropped?
RELATED ARTICLE: Watch Four Corners Monday evening 14 October 2019
UQ course on ‘understanding China’ established with Chinese government funding
October 13, 2019
A University of Queensland course was established with funding from the university’s Confucius Institute, a rare arrangement for the Chinese government-funded soft power centres which are not ordinarily involved in formal degree courses.
The course, titled “Understanding China”, is billed as a comprehensive introduction to the Asian giant and has been offered to students from this year. According to the university’s website, it was developed by UQ’s economics school “in partnership with UQ’s Confucius Institute”.
Spanning economics, the environment, foreign policy, criminal justice and the law, the course is “designed to help students explore and make sense of the complex and rapid changes occurring in China, which is a major global partner for UQ”.
Confucius Institutes, which have been embraced by higher education institutions globally, are joint ventures between a host university, a partner university in China, and the Communist Party-controlled Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing, which supplies funding, staff and resources.
The 13 institutes at Australian universities have attracted significant scrutiny – with concerns about undue influence and censorship of sensitive political issues – but are mostly focused on promoting Chinese language and culture and not involved in formal degree qualifications.
In response to questions about the course, a spokeswoman for UQ said, “The Confucius Institute was not involved in developing content, teaching or management of this course, or any award course at the university. Their only involvement was providing $8000 seed funding in 2018 and 2019.”
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age recently revealed that some universities hosting Confucius Institutes, including UQ, had signed contracts giving Beijing overriding authority on teaching at the facilities.
UQ is in the process of renegotiating its contract, eyeing more explicit protections for university autonomy.
Faced with concerns about academic independence and integrity, other universities have pointed to the separation from formal academic activity to defend their arrangements with Confucius Institute headquarters.
Jeffrey Gil, a Flinders University academic who has written a book on Confucius Institutes, said the content, teaching and management of the UQ course did not appear to be a cause for concern, but there was an “image problem” given recent controversy.
“It is unusual that the Confucius Institute was involved in funding a for-credit course about China, and I’m not aware of this happening anywhere else,” he said.
Alex Joske, an analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said it appeared to be a case of a Confucius Institute “finding ways to step outside of its stated scope of teaching language and culture”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses the 2019 Lowy Lecture at Sydney’s Town Hall and speaks about China.The PM’s inner sanctum
The PM’s inner sanctum
*Australia’s intelligence and security agencies are worried about the growing influence of the Chinese Communist Party at universities, with the sector increasingly reliant on revenue from international students and research partnerships with China.
A foreign interference taskforce with representatives from government and the university sector is currently developing policies to address heightened concerns about undue influence, sensitive research collaboration and cyber security around valuable data.
On Friday, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton hit out at the Chinese Communist Party, accusing it of conduct “inconsistent” with Australia’s democratic values.
“We have a very important trading relationship with China – incredibly important – but we are not going to allow university students to be unduly influenced, we are not going to allow theft of intellectual property, and we are not going to allow our government bodies or non-government bodies to be hacked into,” he said.
The NSW government has moved to scrap a Confucius Classroom program housed within the Department of Education after a review found it was a globally unique arrangement that could “give rise to the perception that the Confucius Institute is or could be facilitating inappropriate foreign influence in the department“.
Fergus Hunter is an education and communications reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.