Jannah Theme License is not validated, Go to the theme options page to validate the license, You need a single license for each domain name.

Chinese international students and the tale of two fears – POLITICO

Jianli Yang is founder and president of Citizen Power Initiatives for China and author of “IIt is time to create an “economic NATO” based on values. Leslie Fu is a legal analyst for Citizen Power Initiatives for China.

Western politicians and teachers have observed that a significant number of overseas Chinese students are reluctant to engage in conversations about China, especially the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). And even if they do, in the face of criticism directed at the government, they often perceive the West, especially the United States, as intentionally trying to stifle China’s rise.

Yet, time and time again, Chinese youth are unable to adequately defend the CCP, making it extremely difficult for these institutions to engage in meaningful dialogue. However, their reluctance is not surprising, as it is motivated by two concerns: the fear of being discriminated against abroad and the fear of being persecuted in their country of origin.

The first of these concerns revolves around an almost reflexive patriotism, as these students fear they may face potential discrimination due to strained US-China relations, which they believe could lead to prejudice. against them. At the same time, many Western students also fear that any action or statement suggesting dissent could be detected by the autocratic Chinese government, which would make them vulnerable and could cause problems not only for themselves but also for their families in China. And these fears manifest themselves in various ways.

To promote the narrative that foreign imperialists pursue an agenda to enslave Chinese nationals, the CCP has long used victimization as justification in its state-mandated “patriotic education” campaign. And in an effort to create and reinforce unrest among Chinese international students, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeatedly accused the United States of using various pretexts to deliberately deny or restrict students’ visa access.

In recent years, the CCP’s propaganda machine has also repeatedly accused the United States of “rushing down the wrong path” toward conflict and confrontation and promoting “hysterical neo-McCarthyism.” And with the rising rate of anti-Asian hate crimes, the CCP has fueled rhetoric that America’s innate imperialist instincts have inevitably led to a strained relationship with China. As a result of all this, Chinese international students – most of whom have been bombarded by years of ideological indoctrination, putting them on high alert against “Western imperialism” – often react instinctively with anger when their country is presented in a negative way.

As for the second fear, the CCP is known to harass Chinese students who criticize the regime, and the latter may face swift retaliation. Unfortunately, American universities rarely intervene, leaving vulnerable students without any protection.

Meanwhile, espionage is also common, and there have even been cases where student activists have been forced to spy on other dissidents because officials from China’s Ministry of State Security discovered their identities. and threatened their families with imprisonment in China.

In addition to the CCP’s surveillance of young Chinese students studying abroad, there have also been cases where some pro-CCP Chinese students have themselves volunteered to participate in violent attacks on Hong Kong dissidents. and Uyghur communities, among others. As a result, self-censorship is also common among overseas Chinese students who don’t feel safe enough to speak out about human rights abuses — or anything negative about China.

Over the years, these two fears have contributed significantly to the lack of enthusiasm for an in-depth discussion of the CCP’s flagrant crimes. It is therefore essential that the West understands and understands the concerns of Chinese students, addresses them in a meaningful and substantial way, and fosters more productive interactions with these international students.

When it comes to addressing concerns about overseas discrimination, the West should clearly distinguish between China and the CCP. And Western governments and institutions should insist on this distinction to avoid widespread prejudice.

Furthermore, rather than making condescending moral judgments that further alienate Chinese youth, Western institutions should address human rights issues through concrete examples, thereby giving these students a voice in case discussions. specific.

The CCP Known for Harassing Chinese Students Who Criticize the Regime | Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

When it comes to addressing the CCP’s fears of persecution of students and their family members in China, Western universities should commit to taking specific measures to protect students and support their own Chinese graduates – especially those who are at risk on their return to their country. In responding to such threats against their students, universities should reflect their best traditions, first by publicly announcing – as then-Purdue University president Mitch Daniels did in 2021 – that no related harassment criticism from the Chinese government (or any other) will not be tolerated. . Students who choose to speak out should also be given special assistance, legal protection and even mental health support. And if their students are persecuted upon returning to China, universities should speak out. (When I was detained in Beijing from 2002 to 2007, more than 40 Harvard professors stood up for my freedom. The community at the University of California, Berkeley, where I earned my doctorate, did the same. )

With such policies, committed universities could then provide a safeguard, in particular the prestigious schools which constitute the main educational destinations for the children of the Chinese elite and can therefore weigh in with the Chinese authorities.

Western universities can also implement procedures to protect the privacy and security of their students’ personal information, thereby reducing the risk of exposure to CCP control. It would be a shameful betrayal of everything these institutions stand for if Chinese students who continue to come to China to study were to face similar intimidation for speaking out here as they do in China.

The concerns of Chinese international students are legitimate. And it’s time for the United States, along with other Western academic institutions, to engage with Chinese international students and address their concerns with a more respectful, empathetic, and pragmatic approach.


Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.

Back to top button