The Universities’ Dirty Secret China Deals: Close Down ‘Em Down Now! By James Reed
Ah! The universities! If it is not sexual harassment, then it is secret deals with China, with no worries about national security. This needs to change.
“The Morrison government will launch an inquiry into foreign ¬interference in Australian universities and how Beijing has recruited academics to a secretive program that paid ¬lucrative salaries and allowed research to be patented in China. Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on Sunday outlined the terms of reference for a broad-¬ranging inquiry into foreign interference in the university sector in a letter to the chair of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security, Andrew Hastie. The move for an inquiry comes less than a week after Scott Morrison announced unprecedented national security laws giving the commonwealth the power to tear up agreements struck by state governments and councils with foreign powers, such as China, that may threaten Australian’s national sovereignty. The inquiry will examine not only universities but all publicly funded research and grants and whether knowledge and technology were being transferred to foreign powers against Australian’s national interest. The PJCIS inquiry was launched after The Australian’s revelations last week that the Chinese government was actively recruiting scientists to take part in a secretive program that required intellectual property to be patented in China. An investigation by The Australian named 30 Australian academics who had participated in the Thousand Talents plan, or another similar Chinese government recruitment program. It also revealed that some universities were unaware their academics had been named in multiple patents assigned to Chinese universities or institutions. In his letter, Mr Dutton asked the PJCIS to examine “the nature and extent to which foreign actors are interfering in Australian universities, including staff and student bodies, publicly funded research agencies and competitive research grant agencies”. The inquiry, which will examine how other countries such as the US are dealing with the threat of foreign interference, is expected to hear testimony from senior figures in the FBI, ASIO, security analysts and high-profile figures who have fallen victim to China’s interference in the university sector such as University of Queensland student Drew Pavlou and UNSW academic Elaine Pearson.
Maybe what is needed are stiff penalties for academics and universities doing all this; large fines for the universities who know about it and do nothing, and maybe closure, and jail terms for the academics. Do exactly what China would do if the roles were reversed; time to have some guts. Or, the academics can be loaded up on a plane, and parachuted into China where they can find happiness. Universities … academics … it all disgusts me. Putrid! Unclean!