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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Letters - UVic too cozy with dictatorship

Something fishy is going on at UVic!

Martlet: published July 12, 2007

by Marie Beaulieu

The recent announcement that UVic gained preferred status with the communist government of China has me more than a little bit concerned.

It’s not that I am xenophobic, but I can’t help but think about recent revelations made in Vancouver by former Chinese Foreign Affairs diplomat Chen Yonglin. He made clear that over 1,000 Chinese spies, informants and informers are active in Canada and in our universities. Their main task is to watch and suppress five groups: Falun Gong practitioners, Taiwanese independence activists, Tibetan independence activists, Xinjiang independence activists and democracy activists. So far, the Falun Gong group has been hit hardest, with perpetual harassment from the Communist front.

As a former UVic Falun Gong Club member, this news doesn’t sit well with me. If UVic president David Turpin is not aware of this, maybe somebody should tell him. I’m still not over the shock of UVic offering to reward the then-dictator Jiang Zemin with an honourary degree in 1997, two years before Zemin launched the persecution of Falun Gong in China. It’s high time for UVic to weigh in on the impact of its actions and its coziness with this brutal dictatorship. Showing some integrity wouldn’t be asking too much—sacrificing dignity over prestige is not the way to go.

Martlet: Letters - China deal ignores human rights
by Sophia Bronwen

How unfortunate for UVic to be named a preferred university by the Chinese communist dictatorship (UVic gains preferred status with Chinese government, June 14). As a former student of UVic, I feel very sad that my former university is bloodying its hands with money from this regime.

Of course it is profitable and rather vogue to be dealing with the Chinese communist dictatorship and how swell to be named a preferred university—how chic, how lucrative. And of course, UVic is not the only foreign university doing so. Educators are joining many
business people and politicians in compromising principles for profit.

The education system in China is a mouthpiece for the dictatorship. They have become sneakier with their propaganda. At every demonstration I have attended to protest a Chinese dictator’s visit, the Tibetans, Taiwanese and Falun Gong have been silenced by Chinese students who have been briefed and bussed to the site with orders to cover us up with their blood-red flag (and smaller Canadian flag) and drown out our cries for justice with the loud clanging of cymbals, precisely at the time the dictator drives past.

How many staff at UVic remember June 4, 1989, when we stared aghast at our television screens as we watched the Chinese Communist Party massacre its own students? The dictatorship responsible for this action is still in control of all universities in China. Please think deeply about this, research the human rights abuses in Chinese universities, and then make principled decisions accordingly.

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