Chinese influence in universities

It used to be that communists hid under our beds, now they go to university. This story has been developing in The Australian over the last few weeks and has now jumped across to the AFR.

Education department officials as well as national security and cybersecurity experts will meet university representatives on Wednesday to thrash out guidelines governing collaborative research, amid government concerns over growing Chinese encroachment.

Senior sources said the government was especially concerned with collaboration in such areas as artificial intelligence, quantum physics and some engineering disciplines.

Now here is the crazy thing about university research – it tends to exist in the public domain. The very argument that the government uses to justify public subsidy for research should apply here too. The idea is that R&D is both non-rival and non-excludable and will under provided in a free-market. Now I’m not convinced that is entirely true – yet the very same government that makes that argument is trying to exclude (some) foreigners from doing research or accessing that research.

 

 

This entry was posted in Education, Innovation, National Security, Oppressive government, Taking out the trash. Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Chinese influence in universities

  1. stackja

    We can fully trust Red China to do the right thing? Just ask the people of HK?

  2. Tim Neilson

    Our universities need Confucius centres, funded by the PRC, because “diversity”. [And Saudi funded Middle Eastern Studies centres.]
    But we need to ban the Ramsay centre, because that would be ideological propagandising.
    You KNOW it makes sense!

  3. Behind Enemy Lines

    We don’t need ChiCom agents in our universities fearlessly collecting, recruiting and/or intimidating people in key fields. Social studies are one thing, but real tech research is another matter. It does occasionally bleed over into matters of national security. But I expect the real focus is on the researchers more than the research itself.

  4. Up The Workers!

    Geez, somebody in China deserves a good boot up the Khyber Pass.

    You wouldn’t want any of the precious offspring attending a place like an Australian University – quite apart from the effect of the entrance-lobotomy, you don’t know what kind of debilitating intellectual disease they might pick up in a seedy Leftard dive like that.

    Buy them a set of secateurs and point them in the general direction of one of Emily’s Lists’ many abattoir establishments.

    At least they will pick up a rudimentary trade.

  5. DaveR

    How can it be that an Australian citizen originally from China protests at a rally in Australia in support of the Hong Kong movement, and then is identified online, and then is bombarded with pro-China postings and personal abuse?

    There are serious breaches of privacy and telecommunications law going on here. The breaches of privacy are occurring in Australia, and the breaches of telecommunications law are probably going on here, as well as offshore.

    A more insidious connotation is that there is foreign surveillance of Australian citizens going on. That would be of national significance, if true.

  6. Lee

    I can well believe it.

    You only hate to look at Australian universities’ point-blank refusal to even countenance a Western Civilisation courses.

    The same people making these decisions are only too happy to take money from a communist dictatorship.

  7. Lee

    That should be “you have to …”

  8. Rohan

    Does the Chinese government have to apply for a social license from the SCIRO before they or their subsiduaries can use our universties for research?

  9. Roger

    The concern is not with general fields of research published in the public domain but particular fields of research which are security sensitive. Basically, you can’t trust Chinese nationals with this.

  10. RobK

    Whilst there is always security risk in any sensitive area, I wonder if the bigger risk is not the influence politically such as via advisors and the UN, one belt one road etc, rather than technologically. Any tech sensitive stuff is surely in need of protection from all manner of risks and our agencies are responsible for that. Surely security clearances are not a thing of the past.

  11. Anthony

    yet the very same government that makes that argument is trying to exclude (some) foreigners from doing research or accessing that research.

    A fair point, and perhaps that is the concern of many people and the government, but I think that is a red herring. I suggest there are two other issues. 1) Chinese government or the Communist party attempting to restrict the free speech of Chinese people (not necessarily even Chinese citizens, but of Chinese descent especially from Taiwan). 2) Using illegally obtained private data to identify and better pressure the aforementioned people. But, also to give Chinese companies and agencies that data to refine their own database algorithms and use those data sets to gain a competitive advantage.

  12. Percy Popinjay

    If the “universities” in question were shut down, the allegedly malign influence of Chinamen in the affairs of those august institutions would cease to be of any relevance.

    Problem solved.

  13. feelthebern

    Australians who believe that the Chinese are all a homogeneous group really need to get out & about more.
    There are big differences between the Chinese that migrated to Australian since 2000 & those pre-2000.
    There are big differences between second generation Chinese & their parents.
    Anyone who thinks they all march to beat of the same drum are as silly as those who think Australians are all alike.

  14. feelthebern

    How can it be that an Australian citizen originally from China protests at a rally in Australia in support of the Hong Kong movement, and then is identified online, and then is bombarded with pro-China postings and personal abuse?

    It’s called anti-social media for a reason.

  15. I don’t know about Chinese influence, but someone in China has certainly been trying to repeatedly break into my blog over the last few weeks for some reason.

  16. feelthebern

    All the anti Chinese Cats don’t need to worry.
    If the stats continue, China is getting pretty sick of Australia & taking it’s business elsewhere.

  17. feelthebern

    China traffic at Sydney Airport was down 7.8% in July.
    That’s a farking huge number.

  18. struth

    Why you talk rike dis?
    We know da Chinese are rovery peopu.
    You don’t rike da Chinese peopu?

    We take you countly and spit on you, you lound eyed egg and bacon eating good fo nuffing honky white tlash!!!

  19. feelthebern

    After coal & iron ore, education is our biggest export.
    Chinese students make up the largest proportion of that education group.
    We should be welcoming customers who want to buy our wares.
    The idea of treating them like turd when they come here & do not cause trouble makes no sense.
    Australia is doing it’s best to fuck up this opportunity.

  20. feelthebern

    More than anything else, these comments are saddening.

  21. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    If Australian universities are as bad as conservative commenters say, it is vital to keep this trade open as to weaken our enemies.

  22. struth

    More than anything else, these comments are saddening.

    Yeah, dat light, it make me vely angly too.
    Confuscious centre noffing to wolly about.
    Chinese Aussie not do right fing Chicom sort out famary back home fight peopu in stleets here.
    Da filfy commo infiltration noffing to wolly about, you all need a bit more be rike Feeldaburn, and put da quid above da countly.

  23. Arky

    … yet the very same government that makes that argument is trying to exclude (some) foreigners from doing research or accessing that research.

    ..
    Good model.
    Build your business catering to the citizens of a totalitarian regime that can turn the tap off on you at any time.
    No risk there.

  24. struth

    If the stats continue, China is getting pretty sick of Australia & taking it’s business elsewhere.

    We are now starting to pay dearly for trading with totalitarianism.
    We haven’t made enough out of it for what we are about to lose, and indeed what we have lost already.
    We’ll neve make enough out of trading with China, the China now telling us to pull our heads in regarding the pacific just today, as the total cost will be much higher than what we’ve made.
    Much, much higher.
    Australia putting all it’s eggs in the Chinese basket to make a quid in the short term will cost us dearly in the long term.
    The best thing we can do is diversify our customer base as quick as possible, realising the true cost of dealing so greatly with the Chicoms is about to be realised.

  25. Arky

    One of YOUR students goes home on holiday and then can’t resume study at RMIT because their social credit with the regime puts them on a no travel list, what are you going to do?
    Shrug your shoulders and “Next”!?

  26. feelthebern

    Don’t be a dick struth.

  27. Sinclair Davidson

    One of YOUR students goes home on holiday and then can’t resume study at RMIT because their social credit with the regime puts them on a no travel list, what are you going to do?

    This has never happened. What has happened is that some of my students have been deported by the Australian authorities. So it’s not the commies who have been a problem.

  28. Frank Walker from National Tiles
    #3137349, posted on August 21, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    If Australian universities are as bad as conservative commenters say, it is vital to keep this trade open as to weaken our enemies.

    Those kids do NOT take humanities courses. So no, we can’t destroy them like we’re destroying our own kids.

    I look at China trade this way. I have a shop. My Chinese customer spends a fair bit with me. But it has become increasingly obvious that he is also stealing from me.
    That was acceptable to some extent because he was spending so much that the amount he stole was just put down to “cost of doing business.”
    However it has now become apparent that not only is he stealing a lot more than I thought, he has also been copying my recipes and making and selling rip offs at the local Sunday market.
    No frigging wonder my business has been tanking these last few years. I was wondering where many of my customers went.
    Should I keep selling to him?

  29. Siltstone

    Now here is the crazy thing about university research – it tends to exist in the public domain.

    Except for the masses of non-disclosure agreements and lengthy tomes about confidentiality that the universities tend to require these days.

  30. Squirrel

    This is increasingly reminiscent of Cold War Mark 1.0.

    The two obvious differences are that there is much, much more money sloshing around (and much more openly) now than there was then, and even under the fashionable-to-hate Trump, the US is less on the nose than it was in the days when young Australian men were being conscripted to fight in Vietnam.

    Interesting days ahead……

  31. mh

    FMD

    Echidna death: Chinese student says he threw animal from bridge because he was ‘curious’

    …He was hunting lizards when he came across the adult echidna hiding in a bush, Holland Park Magistrates Court was told on Wednesday.

    He picked it up a second time and tossed it from a two-storey bridge to see if it would survive.

    The injured echidna tried to escape by balling up under a ramp and burying itself in the dirt.

    But Gao threw football-sized rocks at it and used a stick to move it into the open before it died.

    An autopsy report revealed the “terrified” animal suffered significant pain and died from blunt force trauma.

    Gao told RSPCA inspectors he had never seen an echidna before, he was “curious” and threw the animal from height to see if it could handle the fall.

    He claimed he never intended to kill the animal, but wanted to take it home and study it.

    https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/qld/echidna-death-chinese-student-says-he-killed-animal-because-he-was-curious-ng-b881277644z

  32. Arky

    . What has happened is that some of my students have been deported by the Australian authorities.

    ..
    Why were they deported?

  33. Sinclair Davidson

    Why were they deported?

    Don’t know. The department of immigration refused to say. One student was deported for the weekend!

  34. The Beer Whisperer

    More than anything else, these comments are saddening.

    Bern, are you going to sell them the rope?

    Asking for a friend.

  35. John Comnenus

    Never heard of a university that wouldn’t sell any principle for a buck.

  36. hzhousewife

    Don’t understand why, but I’m rofl ! You mean they got sent back to China at our expense via emigration, then in a day or so got a correct visa, bought a plane ticket and came back?

  37. Faye

    On a short hol, last night I shopped at nearby convenience store for some milk. The person behind the counter was a young Asian man. When paying for the milk, I asked him was he Chinese, he replied he was born in Macau. I then asked him what he thought about what was going on in Hong Kong. His first word expressed passionately was Peace which he repeated with earnest facial expression and hand gestures. He then said, FIRSTLY the Chinese people believe in China… and Peace. (In my mind he was saying “don’t-rock-the-boat loyalty”.) He said Macau and Hong Kong were different. Macau – Portuguese and Hong Kong – British, both reverting to China in the 90’s. He made a comment that Hong Kong people were Westernised and (in my words) worryingly disturbing the Peace. He was a university student studying Business.

  38. hzhousewife

    sorry, to make myself clear

    One student was deported for the weekend!

    Don’t understand why, but I’m rofl ! You mean they got sent back to China at our expense via emigration, then in a day or so got a correct visa, bought a plane ticket and came back?

  39. Arky

    We will be at war with China inside ten years.
    This piece will look “optimistic” when those faces return here not as compliant students looking up to you for good marks, but as something else entirely.

  40. Dr Fred Lenin

    Alk down Latrobe street and spot the Aussie ! Its an Asian area ,most RMIT UNI must be Asians .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.