University of Sydney student paper is slammed for ‘capitulating to the Chinese Communist Party’ after withdrawing a story about two professors
- The editors of University of Sydney’s Honi Soit newspaper have come under fire
- An article linked two of USyd’s professors to the Chinese Community Party
- The story was withdrawn hours later and Honi Soit issued an apology online
- Angry social media users accused the student rag of ‘capitulating’ to the CCP
The editors of an elite student newspaper have been slammed for ‘capitulating to the Chinese Communist Party’ after withdrawing a story on two academics’ association to the Chinese government.
Honi Soit, the University of Sydney’s student-run rag, published an article online and in print on March 31 claiming two engineering professors from the institution were linked to Chinese government programs.
Nothing in the article has yet been proved incorrect and the scholars named have not lodged a complaint.
But the story was pulled just hours later, with the editors issuing an apology on the Honi Soit Facebook page and explaining the article’s risk of inciting racism against students of Chinese descent was the reason for its removal.
The decision has sparked backlash online with many commentators accusing the newspaper of ‘capitulating to China’.
The editors of Honi Soit, the University of Sydney’s (pictured) student newspaper, have come under fire for pulling an article linking two professors to the Chinese Communist Party
‘We unreservedly apologise to the academics mentioned in the article and for the harm caused to them, the Chinese community, and to our readers,’ the newspaper’s post read.
‘Honi acknowledges that directly naming those academics was negligent, particularly in the face of escalating Sinophobia and racism at the University of Sydney and in wider society.
‘Moving forward, we will ensure that we are always critical of the sources on which we rely, and we recognise our duty as student journalists to actively combat Western imperialist and xenophobic biases presented in mainstream media.’
The Australian government has concerns about Beijing infiltrating local universities, media and parliament to gain influence and access to classified information.
The report named two academics it claimed were ‘associated with controversial Chinese government recruitment schemes and have collaborated with sanctioned Chinese universities on research with potential military end-use applications’.
‘The Chinese Communist Party’s talent recruit programs seek to attract top academics to Chinese universities, aiming to achieve self sufficiency in advanced sciences and engineering,’ the article read.
‘The programs offer participants lucrative funding and access to laboratories and staff.
‘They often allow academics to draw a second salary while maintaining employment at their original institution.’
A spokesman for the University of Sydney previously told The Sun-Herald in a statement ‘it did not make a complaint or provide any feedback to the Honi Soit about its story’.
Facebook users were outraged by the article’s removal, with many accusing the newspaper of bending to Beijing.
‘So taking an anti-CCP line is now promoting ‘Western imperialist and xenophobic biases’? The CCP does not equal the Han ethnic community,’ one person wrote.
The editors of Honi Soit claimed the article was pulled due to its risk of inciting racism against students of Chinese descent
‘They are two completely different things. If you can’t understand that nuance, just shut your stupid publication down already.’
Another added: ‘I have to give credit to Honi in being semi-successful in being able to turn anti-communism into sinophobia. I mean it’s mental gymnastics, but damn, they are determined.’
‘What is going wrong? Was the article truthful or not? If it was truthful you have capitulated to a one-party state human rights disaster,’ someone else said.
‘Also you’re equating a political party/movement with an entire ethnicity. I thought you guys were smarter.’
Another person said removing ‘legitimate news’ was something that would happen in China.
‘In Australia as long as you’re being factual, there should be no reason to apologise for reporting legitimate news. The more you kowtow to bullies, the more you reinforce the idea that anything which offends them should immediately be censored.’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Honi Soit for comment.