Solidarity, not nationalism

1. We are proud to stand in solidarity with oppressed people fighting back anywhere in the world. We unreservedly support Hong Kong students at the University of Queensland organising in support of democratic rights. We stand with Uyghur students and condemn the concentration camps established by the authoritarian Chinese state.

2. The protest “Transparency 4 UQ: peaceful protest against Confucius Institute” scheduled for July 31 is not led, endorsed or initiated by oppressed people fighting against their own government. Rather it has been initiated by domestic students who are pursuing their own agenda, which is about combating “Chinese influence at UQ” as a supposed threat to Australian values and academic integrity. 

3. This protest is not a solidarity action with Hong Kong or Uyghur students. We consider it irresponsible for domestic students who are not from a group oppressed by the Chinese government to initiate conflict around these questions. Domestic students will not face any repercussions from the Chinese or Australian state; more vulnerable international students will, and so they must consent to undertaking the risk. That is why we support following the political leadership of students from these communities.

4. We are concerned that this demonstration will further entrench nationalist divisions both amongst Australian and Chinese students. We oppose all forms of racial discrimination and are horrified by the anti-Chinese racism that has manifested online following the events of July 24. For example, students have evoked 19th Century anti-Chinese goldfield riots as an appropriate way to respond and blamed ordinary Chinese students for crimes of the Chinese government. This does not further any progressive cause and instead undermines the ability for students to come together in solidarity. 

5. We oppose all corporate or governmental interference to the academic integrity of the University of Queensland, and have long advocated for well-funded, independent, and tuition-free universities. However, we believe the campaigns around Australia led by domestic students not from oppressed backgrounds against the Confucius Institutes are hyperbolic, racist beat-ups, sowing fear and suspicion towards ordinary Chinese students and workers. Australian students are not ‘under threat’ from Chinese influence; rather, the forces undermining academic integrity and living standards of Australian students are the Australian government and local university administration. 

6. We hold the view that it is necessary to encourage solidarity between domestic students and international students from both mainland China and Hong Kong. However, the July 31 protest as it stands will further alienate, divide, and polarize these groups, making solidarity between them impossible. 

7. On this basis, we call for the July 31 demonstration to be cancelled. It has hijacked what could have been an expression of solidarity into a nationalistic, and therefore racist, demonstration against Chinese students at UQ which will have ramifications beyond the campus. If it proceeds, we call for students to consider the arguments we have made and not attend. 

8. As always we will continue to stand in solidarity with Hong Kong and Uyghur students and support any future campus or Brisbane-based actions they may organise for democratic, political and human rights. 

9. We encourage any supporters of this sentiment at UQ or in the broader community to publicize this statement. Please contact 0430 483 626 to add the name of yourself or organisation as a signatory.

Read more
Greens back Labor's greenwashing
Cormac Mills Ritchard

By agreeing to pass the safeguard mechanism reforms, Labor’s signature climate policy, the Greens have helped greenwash the continued expansion of fossil fuels.

Robodebt disgrace exposed
Shirley Killen

Last week’s conclusion of the Royal Commission into the Robodebt scheme has once again brought national attention to the program that, from 2015 to 2019, saw nearly half a million welfare recipients hounded over unlawful fake debts concocted using faulty calculations.

The world economy in five charts
The world economy in five charts
Eleanor Morley

The global economy has been in turmoil since the start of the pandemic—collapse, rebound, inflationary spiral. Now, “It’s the ‘Godot’ recession”, Ray Farris, chief economist at Credit Suisse, told the Wall Street Journal in early March. Everyone waits but it doesn’t seem to come. Every few months, economic forecasts flip from contraction to slowdown to cautious optimism about sustained growth.

What is the point of the Greens?
What is the point of the Greens?
Duncan Hart

The Australian Greens achieved unprecedented success at the last federal election, gaining their highest ever number of parliamentary seats after putting forward a left-wing platform calling for including dental and mental health in Medicare, the wiping of student debt, 1 million affordable homes, free child care and income-support increases.

Trans rights are under attack 
Elliot Downes

There is a dangerous escalation of transphobia happening right now. The political right in the United States and the United Kingdom are rolling back civil rights for trans people specifically and LGBT people more broadly. This is being driven by an amalgamation of mainstream conservative parties, the far right, Christian fundamentalists and right-wing shock jocks and tabloids.

Students protest for climate action
Xavier Dupé

Hundreds of students protested across the country on Friday 17 March to demand an end to fossil fuels and taxes on the rich and big corporations to fund a shift to renewables and decarbonisation of the economy. The protests, organised by the National Union of Students, criticised the Labor government for approving major new coal and gas projects when the world needs to rapidly reduce emissions.