Recently, in two incidents, Chinese students used language on campus to attack Tibetans and Uighurs who differed from China’s official values. Radio Free Asia reported that some analysts have said foreign students have been spreading Chinese ideology in Western countries.
Chemi Lhamo, a Tibetan female student in Canada, was elected as the president of the student union, which triggered a reaction from the Chinese students. They accused Lhamo of being for “Tibetan independence” and posted harsh messages on Lhamo’s social media accounts.
In addition, at the Xinjiang Re-education Camp lecture that McMaster University recently held in Canada, a Chinese student suddenly screamed at the speaker, former Canadian Uyghur President Rukiye Turdush, and made a number of swearing slurs. Prior to the lecture, Chinese students in a WeChat group had discussed how to plan the disruption of the lecture and also informed the Chinese Consulate of the activity.
The two incidents seem to have had the effect, gradually, of increasing the outside world’s realization that China’s nationalist sentiments are on the rise in the West. Chinese students seem to be extremely sensitive when dealing with ethnic issues involving Tibet and Xinjiang.
The two incidents on the Canadian university campus are similar to the experience of Wang Qianyuan, a Chinese student at Duke University, and Yang Shuping, a Chinese student at the University of Maryland. Wang Qianyuan tried to reconcile a confrontation between a pro-Chinese government group and some independent Tibetan demonstrators; Yang Shuping publicly criticized China’s air quality. They all suffered from a large number of Chinese “Fenqing” (referring to Chinese youth who display a high level of Chinese nationalism) because what someone did or said did not conform to the choices of the Chinese government.
One interviewee told RFA that, even after the students who are brainwashed in China step outside of China, they continue to spread the Chinese (party) ideology on foreign campuses. These Chinese students stick with each other and have little interaction with the mainstream society in the country where they live. They interact with each other using Chinese social media. Their behavior will cause resistance and resentment against the Chinese community overseas because it is not easy for many Canadians, as in these cases, to tell the difference between Chinese government and Chinese foreign students. At the same time, it is not easy for these Chinese students to exercise their individual rights. When they study abroad, the Chinese government constantly monitors their behavior and activities.
Source: Radio Free Asia, February 15, 2019