Australia’s Anti-Espionage Laws Put Chinese Student Visas on Hold

New laws in Australia target espionage by students funded by the Chinese government.   (Image via  pexels  /  CC0 1.0)
New laws in Australia target espionage by students funded by the Chinese government. (Image via pexels / CC0 1.0)

In recent years, numerous reports have been published by major media outlets around the world regarding the Chinese government’s infiltration and intervention in Australia. Through Confucius Institutes, Australian students have been provided with a distorted version of Chinese history. The Chinese Communist Party’s ideology of one-party dictatorship has been widely promoted, and many key Australian politicians have been bribed. The Chinese government has been conducting a tremendous infiltration campaign in all domains to intervene in Australian society.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) has gathered evidence and information disclosing these plots. In 2017, the Australian Government enacted new laws against espionage and foreign intervention. These measures show that the Australian Government has started to actively counter the foreign interventions.

Australia temporarily denies visa issuance to students funded by Chinese government

Information collected by ASIO shows that Chinese students funded by the Chinese government are likely to be spies. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) news channel: “The Chinese Government has erected a spy network in Australia. It jeopardizes Australian national security. It is an indisputable fact that China’s publicly-funded students are serving as spies on their campuses.”

The Director of ASIO sent warnings to several Australian Institutes of Advanced Study regarding Chinese government funded students. (Image: Nick-D / CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Director of ASIO sent warnings to several Australian Institutes of Advanced Study regarding Chinese government funded students. (Image: Nick-D / CC BY-SA 3.0)

The awakened Australian Government is now screening student visa applications from China. If an application shows that the student is funded by the Chinese Government, it will be put on hold. Other student visa applications have not been affected. Most of the applications that have been put on hold are for individuals pursuing doctoral degrees in the fields of science and engineering. Accusations of theft of Australian technologies has been made against Chinese students in those fields. The Director of ASIO sent warnings to several Australian Institutes of Advanced Study to watch the Chinese government-funded students.

The application process for a student visa in Australia usually does not exceed 74 days. However, 10 months have passed since the Australian government started their screening process in May 2017. Obviously, the Australian government has taken precautions against possible espionage by Chinese government-funded students. No word on the status of those visa applications has been received from the Australian Immigration Office. They simply replied: “The visa materials require third-party verification, and it takes time.”

Translated by Jean Chen

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