Oxford seeks to protect students from Hong Kong protection laws Oxford University

Oxford University students studying in China are being asked to submit anonymous documents to protect themselves from the possibility of retaliation under a new security law introduced in Hong Kong three months ago.

Anonymous ruling should be applied in class and group tutorials should be replaced one by one. Students are also warned that tapping the class or sharing it with an outside group will be seen as a punishable offense.

After more than a year of pro-democracy protests, Beijing imposed Hong Kong’s security laws on June 30, causing immediate damage to political independence in the region. Its provisions also authorize the Chinese government to arrest a person who is not a resident of Hong Kong so that they can act or comment outside the region.

The strong external force demanded by the law has caused fear among students in the UK, especially those with personal and family connections to Hong Kong and mainland China.

The UK, a team of vice-chancellors of universities, will meet with Chinese scholars early next month to discuss national security legislation. A team of academics is also expected to push forward a draft code of conduct this week on how universities will treat students from authoritarian states.

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In addition to imposing new restrictions on freedom and civil liberties, the series seeks out voices of hope and resistance – and asks what’s next for Hong Kong, as it stands at a turning point in its history.

The number of Chinese students in higher education in the UK has increased by more than a third in the last four years and now stands at more than 120,000.

In 2018-19, 35% of all non-EU students were from China. The number is expected to rise again this year, but the full impact of the Kovid-19 epidemic is still unknown.

Foreign students are a valuable source of income for the UK university sector because they often pay two to three times more than UK students.

Patricia Thornton, an associate professor of Chinese politics at Oxford University, said: “The whole spirit of this tutorial, which depends on the combined critical investigation, is the institution’s ability to guarantee freedom of speech, freedom of expression and academic freedom.

“But how can this be done in light of China’s new national security law for Hong Kong, which calls for self-censorship in the face of a lack of red lines and liberal extrinsic provisions? How can anyone defend academic freedom if China claims the right to intervene everywhere? “

He said: “I have decided not to change the content of my teaching. However, like my colleagues in the United States, I am aware of my responsibility to care for my students, many of whom are not UK citizens. My students will submit and submit anonymous work to provide some extra protection. “

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Her students will be asked to read anonymous papers in weekly classes and small group tutorials will be replaced by one-on-one lessons. “This means that my lecture, lesson lists and tutorial essay questions will remain essentially the same, but students will be asked to present the essay anonymously to one of their peers in class.”

He said the advice being issued is that if the classes are provided online, one should not try to record this written material or share the material with anyone outside the group.

Claiming “we are all Hong Kongers”, he noted that the extrajudicial provision rationally creates the possibility of deportation.

Oxford’s decision follows the same steps as the elite U.S. colleges. Students in a Chinese politics class at Princeton University will use codes instead of their job names, and Harvard Business School students may be deprived of discussing politically sensitive issues if they are concerned about risk, the Wall Street Journal reported last month.

Lord Patten, a former British governor in Hong Kong and a fierce critic of the Chinese Communist Party, said: “Students who come from China to work at our universities come from universities where there are cameras in the classrooms and where informants and infidels are paid. We have to be very careful not to get leaked in universities.

“Hong Kong represents all the values ​​that China is concerned about – let alone the universal recognition of human rights, the determination to provide an open education system.”

Eva Pills, a law professor at King’s College London, said: “There is a lot of concern about Hong Kong’s new national security law and its impact on freedom of expression. The newly introduced offenses are vaguely stated by the law, raising fears that any criticism of the government could be considered a criminal offense. There are also concerns about agencies set up to enforce the law. The legal process is deeply flawed where there is also the risk that a person’s case may be transferred to the mainland.

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“If you are visiting a student or scholar, for example, planning a trip from Hong Kong to the UK or Hong Kong and you are working on issues that are considered politically sensitive in Hong Kong, you have some reason to worry that your job may get you in trouble, and this is happening. . Its effects can be shocking and oppressive in the classroom as well. ”

The British Association for Chinese Studies has warned universities that in response to the Safety Act, “teachers cannot be excluded from the syllabus in terms of caution about their teaching content or incorrectly because some China-related modules are challenging it. Provide securely. “

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