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International relations

China's long arm squeezes Australia academic freedom: rights group

Human Rights Watch says students face harassment, fear being reported to Beijing

The University of Sydney campus: Human Rights Watch warns the Chinese government is encroaching on academic freedom in Australia.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- A new report contends that Chinese authorities are threatening academic freedom thousands of kilometers away in Australia, quoting one student from mainland China as saying: "I have to censor myself. This is the reality. I come to Australia and still I'm not free."

U.S.-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch, which released the report late on Tuesday, conducted interviews with 48 students and academics between last September and April. The self-censoring student, identified only by the pseudonym Lei Chen, was one of 24 young "pro-democratic" interviewees from the mainland and Hong Kong.

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