Chinese and Hong Kong Protests Hit the University of Queensland in Australia

  • Nearly 100 Australian students also participated and sat quietly, raising signs with slogans against China’s large-scale detention of Muslims in Xinjiang and China’s Confucius Institutes.
  • Hong Kong and Australian students were surrounded by hundreds of Chinese students who began to shout "Hong Kong is part of China."
  • Eventually some Chinese students started punching.

On Wednesday, hundreds of Chinese students at the University of Queensland in Australia got physical during a rally in support of Hong Kong. Pro-China and pro-Hong Kong Chinese students clashed verbally with sporadic physical violence. Students at the school believe that this conflict may lead to more confrontation between the two sides.

The University of Queensland (UQ) is a public research university primarily located in Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane, Australia. Founded in 1909 by the state parliament, UQ is Australia’s fifth oldest university. UQ is considered to be one of Australia’s leading universities, and is ranked as one of the most reputable university in the world.

The University of Queensland held its market open day of the fall semester yesterday. Dozens of Hong Kong students and nearly 100 Australian students held a peaceful “reverse delivery” rally on campus. They set up booths on the campus and conveyed the position of the draft amendment to the Fugitive Offenders Regulation through peaceful assembly. In addition, they also set up a wall in the field to let the passing students post messages. Nearly 100 Australian students also participated and sat quietly, raising signs with slogans against China’s large-scale detention of Muslims in Xinjiang and China’s Confucius Institutes.

However, shortly afterward, Hong Kong and Australian students were surrounded by hundreds of Chinese students who began to shout “Hong Kong is part of China” and used the loudspeakers to play the Chinese national anthem and sing along. The video on Twitter shows that Chinese students robbed the Hong Kong and Australian students of their signs, and some even tore them up, and the two sides began to gradually push each other. Nilsson Jones, a journalist with the University of Queensland Student Association, said he was on his way to cover the rally when he heard the sound of the Chinese national anthem and the cheers of the crowd.

Chinese students began to use the loudspeakers to play the Chinese national anthem loudly after the gathering, and many people also held signs that read “Hong Kong is part of China,” Jones said.

Confucius Institute is a non-profit public educational organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, whose stated aim is to promote Chinese language and culture, support local Chinese teaching internationally, and facilitate cultural exchanges. The organization has been criticized due to concerns of rising Chinese influences in the countries in which it operates.

Eventually some Chinese students started punching. The video on Twitter captures the moment when a student who supports the “reverse delivery” rally falls into the crowd after being beaten. The University of Queensland campus security was only viewed from a distance, but after a fierce physical conflict between the two sides, it quickly came to the scene to separate them. After 10 minutes, the police also arrived to maintain order.

Jones told news reporters that Hong Kong and Australian students continued to sit calmly at a distance of 100 meters from the original meeting place after the first wave of conflicts eased. Eventaully hundreds of Chinese students gathered again around the Hong Kong and Australian students, and Chinese students began to play the Chinese national anthem loudly and shout slogans. Although the campus security guards quickly separated the two sides, not long after, there was a fierce physical conflict between them, and this time more students were involved. Jones said: “After about half an hour of physical conflict, the students gradually dispersed around 5 pm.”

According to Jones, the University of Queensland’s Chinese student community and the local student community have never had serious physical conflicts before. However, he says, when Chinese students see criticism of the Chinese government on social media, they will flock to attack the users who share the post, and Australian students will criticize Chinese students in due course. He said: “In recent months, the community media of the University of Queensland has gradually developed anti-China sentiment, and Chinese students will take the initiative to maintain the position of the Chinese government.”

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Doris Mkwaya

I am a journalist, with more than 12 years of experience as a reporter, author, editor, and journalism lecturer." I've worked as a reporter, editor and journalism lecturer, and am very enthusiastic about bringing what I've learned to this site.  

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