Chinese students, Adrian Hanhui Zi (right) and Cloris Jiang (left) at Sydney University. Picture: John Feder/The Australian.
Chinese students, Adrian Hanhui Zi (right) and Cloris Jiang (left) at Sydney University. Picture: John Feder/The Australian.

Beijing to Chinese students: Don’t study in Australia

Australia's war of words with China over the coronavirus has taken a dramatic turn, with Beijing telling students in that country not to study in Australia.

International students studying in Australian universities bring in billions of dollars to the local economy every year.

But China's Ministry of Education has warned its students against studying in Australia due to racism, in a major blow to the nation's schools and already struggling universities.

 

 

Chinese students Adrian Hanhui Zi (left) and Cloris Jiang at Sydney University. Picture: John Feder/The Australian.
Chinese students Adrian Hanhui Zi (left) and Cloris Jiang at Sydney University. Picture: John Feder/The Australian.

 

Chinese education departments said students should be "cautious" in going to Australia because of racism, The Australian reports.

"The spread of the new global COVID-19 outbreak has not been effectively controlled, and there are risks in international travel and open campuses," China's Ministry of Education said in a statement.

"During the epidemic, there were multiple discriminatory incidents against Asians in Australia."

Chinese students are the number one source of foreign students in Australia and are worth $12bn to the nation's education sector per year.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann rubbished the claims of a rise in racism.

"Australia is a successful multicultural society, we are a welcoming country, and we encourage all potential students who are considering higher education in a foreign country to come to Australia," he said.

Chinese students boost the Australian economy by about $12bn a year. Picture: John Feder/The Australian.
Chinese students boost the Australian economy by about $12bn a year. Picture: John Feder/The Australian.

 

It is the latest retaliation by China against Australia's calls for a global inquiry into how COVID-19 escaped Wuhan.

China recently stopped trading with major Australian meatworks, slapped an 80 per cent tariff on our barley and has mad threats to buy iron ore from Brazil instead of here.

The call for an education boycott comes as struggling Australian universities are lobbying China to lift its travel boycott, as a Beijing media outlet warns the move is the "tip of the iceberg" in a worsening relationship.

 

Students hold placards during a protest at the University of Queensland. Picture: AAP
Students hold placards during a protest at the University of Queensland. Picture: AAP

 

The International Education Association, and the Group of Eight - representing Australia's top universities - are set to lobby the Chinese embassy in Canberra after a warning over the weekend that warned Chinese people to avoid Australia because of racists attacks, The Australian reports.

Australian universities already expect a $12 billion loss due to current restrictions on entries from China under conditions, and it's likely the loss would increase if foreign students did not return once the COVID-19 pandemic lifts.

Originally published as Beijing to Chinese students: Don't study in Australia