Sep 13, 2017

China crisis: Australia hurtles blindly toward an immigration calamity

Forget the boats. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese people have flooded into Australia, and no one seems to be taking the threat seriously.

Michael Sainsbury — Freelance correspondent in Asia and <em>Little Red Blog</em> Editor

Michael Sainsbury

Freelance correspondent in Asia and Little Red Blog Editor

The recent, surging trend of nationalist Chinese students -- who make up a whopping 30%, and counting, of Australia’s international student market -- turning their attentions to teachers who offend Beijing’s doctored version of Chinese history is a potent illustration of what happens when an industry becomes reliant on a significant customer.

They are propping up the books in every Australian tertiary education of any note, in what is likely to soon become a textbook case study, and these students have begun to drive the behaviour of the industry.

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28 thoughts on “China crisis: Australia hurtles blindly toward an immigration calamity

  1. Michael

    Thank you, Michael, for being brave enough to write plainly. There is only mild pressure being applied so far; it will increase.
    Cheers, M

  2. Limited Through Mixed

    Academic excellence and intellectual rigour at Australian universities and TAFEs has nosedived as they compete for the almighty international student coin. Most of these students cannot speak let along write basic English and plagiarism is rife if not encouraged. I was a sessional TAFE teacher a few years ago and taught a number of international students. Some tried hard but were completely out of their depth. Others only bothered turning up from time to time. There was considerable pressure to pass all of them as $$$$ was dependent on pass rate and attendance records.

    1. Peter Wileman

      I too can vouch for that in my career in TAFE and uni teaching. ‘Tick and Flick’ is the name of the game

  3. Will

    Now, let’s hear a rebuttal from Sam Dastyari. No?

  4. graybul

    Much food for thought and concern Michael. Government’s that function within a policy vacuum leave open for others space . . . . .

    These are perilous times.

  5. peter love

    What is your solution to this perceived problem, Michael? Scrap business and student visas?

    There are a lot of Chinese students here, but that is to be expected (and welcomed?); Canada, NZ, USA are all experiencing the same phenomenon. Those who have changed status to resident have done so legally, as for other nationalities.

    Abuse of the business programme is monitored, and we need a bit of perspective anyway. If there are annually about 800 Chinese citizens who enter under Business Investment categories, your 5% comes to 40 persons. If another 40 actually do create substantial investment/employment, the overall programme is a success.

  6. Rais

    “for the first time in the country’s history, we have a significant cohort of people who grew up in a country that was not a democracy” — except for all the previous ones from various Eastern European countries, from Apartheid South Africa, wartime Germany and Italy, from Vietnam and Cambodia… Fairly typical errors from a writer who seldom lets fact get in the way of jumping to an unjustified conclusion. If there are issues with Chinese immigration, and there may be, Crikey does the debate no favours by publishing the rubbish generated on Sainsbury’s keyboard.

  7. roger

    Interesting isn’t Dick Smith raises the same concerns: that no Lib/Lab politician dares raises any concerns about the extent of our current immigration policies, yet gets shot down from raising the issue. So prepare for a blast Michael.

    The last senior politician to raise concerns about this (and I’m not giving Hanson that title) was John Howard. He copped such a response that he gave up on the issue, and in fact was responsible for setting the supercharged immigration program we have now.

    Because it suits the interests of a very narrow but powerful group, Australia is well on the way to becoming a Chinese colony- if it isn’t already. Without a shot being fired or even a rational public debate.

  8. Tony Leggett

    “who welcome wealthy, corrupt Chinese with open arms. It’s enough to make you puke.”
    “So, for the first time in the country’s history, we have a significant cohort of people who grew up in a country that was not a democracy. And while the majority of these people are not necessarily loyal to the Communist Party, they are loyal to their country in the way they were taught to be in a system, with propaganda at its centre and where conformity is rewarded and original thought flagged as a threat. ”

    I’ve not doubt there’s a kernel of truth to some of your claims, but wow, talk about tarring an entire nationality with the same (more-than-a-tad racist) brush.

  9. Irfan Yusuf

    We’ve also had plenty of Saudi overseas students. Lots of Iranians. Tons of Indonesians. Craploads of Indians, a fair few of whom subscribe to the far-Right religious fanaticism of the current Indian government and sectarian allies (e.g. VHP, RSS). Many Indians deliberately do degrees that will push them over the line in the skills test.

    Should we replace potentially disloyal Indians with potentially disloyal non-Indians? I should hope not. Even if a Chinese or Indian migrant has some sense of belonging to the Communist Party or the VHP, surely this will reduce over time. Particularly as their kids grow up here, marry people from other ethnicities and eventually have as much interest in China or India as in Antarctica.

    1. Irfan Yusuf

      Also, more recent Indians will take the lead from more established Indians. And that includes Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Nepalis. They tend not to bring the politics of the homeland with them.

      1. Camm

        You hit a pretty big point Irfan – the Chinese compared to the Indians maintain quite a fair degree of racial exceptionalism, that still ties back to China in interests.

        1. Tony Leggett

          Except perhaps, what, the 50 to 100 thousand-odd refugees (and relatives & family) since that came out after the Tiananmen Square massacre. And the Chinese diaspora that have been in Australia since the 1850s. Come to think of it maybe that “1 million or so communist subversives” is a completely made up furphy…

    2. Will

      ‘Surely [conflicted loyalties] will reduce over time’?

      The overwhelming evidence of European experience with Islamic immigrants has been that it is not those immigrants themselves, but their ‘new home country’-born children, who have been radicalised by political Islamism and gone on to join IS in the Middle East or commit atrocities at home. If anything, conflicted loyalties among Muslims in the West appear to be growing over time (albeit on account of seriously stupid Western foreign policy). ‘Surely’ has to mean something, surely?

      1. Rais

        Overwhelming evidence Will? A couple of hundred, if that, out of half a million Muslims in Australia, some of them converts with no ancestral connection to Muslim countries. Potential political crimes from within this community are mostly prevented through the active cooperation of Aussie Muslims with our security agencies precisely because most Muslims in Australia value the life they have in this country and want to protect it. Of course the likes of One Notion and the pseudo-conservatives are doing their utmost to undermine this unity and drive Muslims into a corner. If they succeed they will use any incident as “justification” of their bigotry.

        1. Will

          Rais, sorry, but you’re not addressing the argument. You’re not wrong that Western Muslims are overwhelmingly a force for good. But, so what? It was exactly the exceptions I was referring to – pointedly, those tiny few among second generation European Muslims who have gone on to become enemies of their new homelands. My point was that the same thing could happen among even second Chinese (and maybe even Indian) immigrants to Australia – those that Irfan argues here we really should have no concerns about at all.

          Of course, Irfan makes no distinction between Indians raised in a democratic political culture and Chinese raised in a totalitarian one, because, among other things, that would be to admit totalitarianism is very much more malignant than a passing youthful infatuation. But nevertheless, the point is we cannot simply assume that Chinese immigrants will abandon nationalistic loyalties to their totalitarian homeland (or, more importantly, that their children won’t reconnect to such ideas) because Irfan says that is what Indian immigrants would reasonably (‘surely’) do.

          He’s really just propagating more of his usual ideological camouflage for his mates in Hizb ut-Tahrir. Liberal democracy’s just hypocrisy if it ever polices immigration, surely.

  10. Graham R

    Agree Michael, but it cannot be said cuz, you know, racism. I would add Indians to this. They are here in the same numbers for the same reasons.

    A friend of mine studied nursing a few years ago and said one of his lecturers, an Asian woman (can’t remember what country), could not speak English at a level at which she could be understood by the class. A lecturer!

    1. CML

      I have NO problem with students coming here to attend university…but why are they not made to return to their country of origin when their studies are complete?
      Whose bright idea was it to allow student visas to turn into permanent residency/citizenship? This should be stopped immediately…and that is for ALL international students regardless of country of origin or religion.
      This should be the first step in lowering our current immigration levels, together with much more stringent rules covering 457 visas. It is no wonder our own CITIZENS…including graduates…are unable to find work. This is rapidly becoming a self-inflicted scandal!!
      @ Graham R…you are correct about what is going on in nursing…but the biggest problem I see is that most of these foreign nurse graduates cannot speak English well enough to converse with patients! This is a consistent source of irritation to a lot of said patients… it also leads them to ponder how safe is their care, and how did these nurses achieve tertiary qualifications which involves fluency in reading and writing English?
      Someone needs to answer these questions.

      1. AR

        I’ll give you the answer to you first question – “Whose bright idea was it to allow student visas to turn into permanent residency/citizenship? ” that would be the Too Often Spotted Weeping Hawke after Tiananmen Square.
        Within weeks of his lachrymose performance thousands of students were suddenly applying for permanent residence claiming political asylum then passports.
        Strangely, within the next ten years, they became frequent travellers to & from the Middle Kingdom and significant numbers began being detected involved in criminal activity.
        Odd that.

        1. CML

          Thanks AR…I had always been under the impression that the Hawke government’s ruling at that time was for the Chinese students CURRENTLY in Oz…?1984.
          That it has continued to this day is nothing short of madness!!

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