The students performed a sit-in inside the Confucius Institute and were eventually confronted by a large crowd of pro-China protesters.
QUT Hong Kongese students met with the QUT Guild today with a presentation on the protests in Hong Kong and requests for support on any future events.
“We want our freedom of speech, freedom of assembly…to be safe,” said one student.
The students said that they had “no idea why [the UQ counter-protesters] were so angry.”
The students sought support from the Guild for a protest organised for this Sunday, currently being relocated away from King George Square due to an overlap with another event.
Sunday is also QUT’s Open Day, so the students have received assistance from the university to ensure both events can run smoothly.
The Hong Kongese students expressed concern regarding future events at QUT, to which a representative of the university said they would help to keep their events and all students safe on campus.
QUT also has a Confucius Institute. What does this mean?
The QUT Confucius Institute is located in B block on the Kelvin Grove campus.
The facilities are an educational centre for Chinese and other students overseas, to learn about the language and culture of China.
As the program is funded by the Chinese government, and control of the content being taught is sometimes not determined by the university, the existence of these facilitates is a contentious issue.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday on close ties between UQ’s Vice Chancellor Peter Høj and Hanban, the Chinese government entity that runs the Confucius Institute program.
Høj was appointed to Hanban’s senior consultancy board in 2013.
According to the SMH, contracts revealed that Beijing had explicit “decision-making authority over teaching at the facilities,” at UQ and other universities, including Griffith, though QUT’s contract merely gives Hanban control over funding.