A court in Australia has allowed for subpoenas to be served to the highest-ranking member of the Chinese Communist Party in Queensland after hearing on Nov. 22 that a local student fears for his safety.
A magistrate at the Brisbane Magistrates Court ordered China’s Consul-General Dr. Xu Jie to produce evidence related to events surrounding a pro-Hong Kong democracy protest at the University of Queensland (UQ) on July 24 that turned violent.
Drew Pavlou, who helped organize the protest, was assaulted on July 24 and has since received multiple death threats in addition to hundreds of abusive messages on social media from those who support the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Abusive letters have also been posted to his private home address.
One such death threat on July 31 involved Pavlou’s mother. “Ur [sic] mother is dead u’d [sic] better go home immediately and have a look,” it read. Pavlou told local media in October that his parents told him he “might have to move out because of the threats.”
After reporting the threats to the police, Pavlou is seeking the protection of the court under Queensland’s Peace and Good Behaviour Act. He filed a complaint on Oct. 14 alleging that Xu played a role in inciting threats and violence against him by publishing a statement on the consulate’s website.
In the July 25 statement, Xu said that protest organisers were involved in “anti-China separatist activities.” Separatism is considered a crime punishable by death in communist China. Pro-CCP individuals were then able to identify Pavlou because state-mouthpiece Global Times had named Pavlou in an online report published the same day.
These statements seemingly captured the attention of Australia’s foreign minister Marise Payne who told the Australian Associated Press just two days later, “The Australian Government expects all foreign diplomatic representatives to respect these rights [to freedom of speech and peaceful and lawful protest].
“The government would be particularly concerned if any foreign diplomatic mission were to act in ways that could undermine such rights, including by encouraging disruptive or potentially violent behaviour.”
In addition to the Peace and Good Behaviour order, which is similar to a restraining order, Pavlou is also seeking a retraction of Xu’s online statement and an apology from Xu, according to documents viewed by The Epoch Times.
After failing to respond to court summons today, Xu is now required to hand over any evidence in his possession relating to the complaint by Dec. 6 or present to the magistrate reasons for his objection.
Pavlou said that while Xu did not send legal representation to court on Nov. 33, he suspects that two women he saw sitting in the courtroom for six hours and then leaving right after his case may have been consulate employees observing the hearing. When asked, the women declined to comment about their interest in Drew’s hearing.
Upon leaving court, Pavlou served a subpoena addressed to Xu at UQ’s School of Languages and Cultures, which hosts a controversial Confucius Institute where the Consul-General holds a position as an honorary adjunct professor.
Just served a subpoena to UQ School of Languages and Cultures for all correspondence with Honourary Adjunct Professor Xu Jie. They laughed at us and closed the door. Then came back five minutes later when they realized documents are court orders 😊
— Drew Pavlou (@DrewPavlou) November 22, 2019
Co-funded by the Chinese state, Confucius Institutes around the world have been accused of being a front organisation for the CCP and its more than decade-long agenda to exert global influence on the minds of the views of the next generation.
The CCP’s own minister of propaganda, Liu Yunshan, openly admitted in the People’s Daily in 2010 that Confucius Institutes were part of the party’s efforts to: “Coordinate the efforts of overseas and domestic propaganda, [and] further create a favorable international environment for us.
“With regard to key issues that influence our sovereignty and safety, we should actively carry out international propaganda battles against issuers such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, human rights, and Falun Gong. … We should do well in establishing and operating overseas cultural centers and Confucius Institutes,” Yunshan said.
The Epoch Times has also learned that Pavlou’s lawyers were granted by the court to serve an additional six subpoenas regarding the complaint, with another one to Xu to be served at the consulate tomorrow.
The subpoenas require UQ’s Confucius Institute, Chinese Student and Scholar Association (CSSA), student union, and legal services office, as well as the Queensland police as they attended campus when the violence broke out in July 24, to provide evidence relevant to Pavlou’s complaint.
A lawyer for Pavlou, Mark Tarrant, told The Epoch Times that the action is a significant criminal matter.
“The West’s democratic system of government has its roots in ancient Greece—’demos’ for ‘the people’ and ‘kratia’ for ‘power, rule.’ Drew, an Australian of Greek heritage, is simply expressing his solidarity and support for democracy in Hong Kong,” Tarrant said.
“Democracy is anathema to the CCP. The CCP has a long history of killing young intellectuals including the massacring of defenceless student protesters in Tiananmen Square on June 4 1989. The CCP’s hatred of the West’s democratic values has now been imported onto Australian campuses and our young intellectuals, such as Drew are its target.”
The matter has been adjourned for a hearing on April 24 next year.
The Epoch Times has contacted Xu and UQ for comment.
Epoch Times writer Mimi Nguyen-Ly contributed to this report.