A 2019 protest against Chinese government interference in Australian universities (Image: AAP/Dave Hunt)

The news last week that University of Technology Sydney (UTS) had been given advice by an internal committee to avoid politically sensitive topics for its China courses has raised the troubling issues of self-censorship in Australia’s tertiary sector.

The ABC reported that UTS “considered telling staff to censor teaching material”. In reality, the university asked an internal panel for recommendations on China content and platform access, receiving but rejecting the advice to adjust teaching content.

UTS did, however, offer general advice on digital platforms that could be accessed in the People’s Republic for teaching, amid concerns that Beijing could "turn off" physical access to UTS course materials.