University of Sydney student newspaper criticized for ‘capitulating to Chinese Communist Party’ after retracting story about two professors
- The editors of the Honi Soit newspaper of the University of Sydney are under fire
- An article linked two USyd professors to the Chinese Community Party
- The story was dropped hours later, and Honi Soit apologized online
- Angry social media users accused the student rag of ‘capitulating’ to the CCP
The editors of an elite student newspaper have been criticized for “capitulating to the Chinese Communist Party” after withdrawing a story about the association of two academics with the Chinese government.
Honi Soit, the University of Sydney’s student-run rag, published an article online and in print on March 31, claiming that two of the institution’s engineering professors were affiliated with Chinese government programs.
Nothing in the article has yet been found to be incorrect and the said scholars have not filed a complaint.
But the story was pulled just hours later, with the editors offering an apology on the Honi Soit Facebook page, explaining that the risk of inciting racism against students of Chinese descent was the reason for its removal.
The decision has sparked a backlash online with many commentators accusing the paper of ‘capitulating to China’.
The editors of Honi Soit, the University of Sydney student newspaper (pictured), have come under fire for pulling an article linking two professors to the Chinese Communist Party.
“We unreservedly apologize to the academics mentioned in the article and for the damage that has been done to them, the Chinese community and our readers,” the paper said.
Honi acknowledges that directly naming those academics was negligent, especially in light of escalating sinophobia and racism at the University of Sydney and in society as a whole.
‘Looking ahead, we will ensure that we are always critical of the sources we rely on, and we recognize our duty as student journalists to actively combat the Western imperialist and xenophobic prejudice presented in the mainstream media.’
The Australian government is concerned that Beijing would infiltrate local universities, media and parliament to gain influence and access to classified information.
The report named two academics who it claimed were “associated with controversial Chinese government recruitment programs and have collaborated with sanctioned Chinese universities for research into possible end-use military applications.”
“The Chinese Communist Party’s talent acquisition programs aim to attract top academics to Chinese universities, with the aim of achieving self-reliance in advanced science and engineering,” the article said.
The programs provide participants with lucrative funding and access to laboratories and staff.
“They often allow academics to pull a second salary while keeping the job at their original institution.”
A spokesperson for the University of Sydney said earlier The Sun-Herald in a statement ‘it has not filed a complaint or provided feedback to the Honi Soit about its story’.
Facebook users were outraged by the article’s removal, with many accusing the newspaper of bending over to Beijing.
So taking an anti-CCP stance now fosters ‘Western imperialist and xenophobic prejudice’? The CCP is not equal to the Han ethnic community, ”one person wrote.
Honi Soit editors claimed the article was withdrawn due to the risk of inciting racism against students of Chinese descent
‘They are two completely different things. If you don’t understand that nuance, quit your stupid publication. ‘
Another added: “I have to give credit to Honi for being semi-successful in turning anti-communism into sinophobia. I mean, it’s mental gymnastics, but damn, they’re determined. ‘
‘What’s going wrong? Was the article truthful or not? If it were true, you capitulated to a one-party human rights state, ”someone else said.
‘You also equate a political party / movement with an entire ethnicity. I thought you were smarter. ‘
Another person said the removal of ‘legitimate news’ was something that would happen in China.
In Australia, as long as you are factual, there should be no reason to apologize for reporting legitimate news. The more you encounter bullies, the more you reinforce the idea that anything that offends them should be immediately censored. ‘
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Honi Soit for comment.