‘Time to Reconsider Academic Collaboration With China’: Australian Senator

April 14, 2020 Updated: April 15, 2020

Australian Senator Eric Abetz is urging Australian universities and government research organisations to reconsider their academic collaborations with the Chinese regime, amid concerns that the regime is attempting to control the narrative related to the origins of the CCP virus, commonly known as the coronavirus.

Abetz said that the restrictions placed by the Chinese regime on academic publications that report on the origins of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus have reaffirmed the view that the Chinese regime seeks to “stifle and control academic freedom within its own country and others.”

“We know from experience China has been pushing to exert undue and unwanted influence into our higher academic system and this latest development must prompt swift consideration,” Abetz said in a statement on April 14. “This is a serious wake-up call for the Australian tertiary education sector and the [Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation].”

CCP infiltration within Australian universities is well-documented and is evidenced through the workings of the Party’s United Front bodies, and Confucius Institutes, where free speech and intellectual freedom are often discouraged and condemned. In one instance, an Australian student, Drew Pavlou, received abusive messages and death threats after he supported Pro-Hong Kong students at the University of Queensland in July 2019.

On April 10, a directive that was issued by the Chinese regime’s Ministry of Education’s science and technology department was posted on the website of the Fudan University in Shanghai. The post, which was related to universities publishing research, was taken down after enquiries were made to the university about the post, reported News Corp.

The directive stipulated that academic papers, which report on the origins of the virus, “must be strictly and tightly managed.” The document added that academic papers are required to undergo an additional vetting process and be approved by a special task force before being submitted for publication.

“From the outset, Beijing has attempted to strictly control the narrative, covering up the breakout in the wet markets, silencing the whistle-blowers who spoke out on the lethality and contagiousness of the virus, and bringing the World Health Organisation under its influence to bolster whatever little credibility it has left,” Abetz said.

Experts who conducted statistical modellingeyewitness accounts from locals, and documents previously provided to The Epoch Times have shown that Chinese authorities concealed the true scale of the outbreak in Wuhan and other parts of China.

According to a report by Washington-based think tank American Enterprise Institute, there should be an estimated 2.9 million confirmed cases of the CCP virus in China, instead of less than 100,000 known cases currently reported by the Chinese regime.

Additionally, the lab origin theory has gained prominence partly due to the fact that Wuhan is the home of China’s only bio lab certified to work with the most dangerous pathogens such as Ebola or SARS.

“It is particularly insidious to eliminate the facts surrounding the origins of the virus as this will impact the world scientific and medical community’s ability to research and gather the information that can help stop the spread and mitigate the damage of the virus.

“It will generally raise doubts on any future medical or scientific information emanating from China and in particular any medical or scientific information on the coronavirus,” Abetz said.

Epoch Times reporters Petr Svab, Nicole Hao and Frank Fang contributed to this report.