China warns students against studying in Australia in latest coronavirus escalation

China's education ministry has told students looking to study overseas that they should be "cautious about choosing to go to Australia or return to Australia to study".

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Students enter the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney. Source: AAP

China on Tuesday urged students going overseas to study to think carefully before choosing Australia, due to a spate of racial incidents targeting Asians in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The spread of the new global pneumonia outbreak has not been effectively controlled, and there are risks in international travel and open campuses," the warning read.

"During the epidemic, there were multiple discriminatory incidents against Asians in Australia. The Ministry of Education reminds all overseas students to do a risk assessment and is currently cautious in choosing to study in Australia or return to Australia."

Students attend a Japanese language class at the University of Melbourne (AAP)
Students attend class at the University of Melbourne (AAP) Source: AAP

The Ministry of Education’s warning comes days after the Chinese culture and tourism ministry advised citizens against travelling to Australia due to racial discrimination and violence stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, which first emerged in China in late 2019.

In its statement, the education ministry reminded “overseas students to conduct a good risk assessment and be cautious about choosing to go to Australia or return to Australia to study.”


It was the second warning of its type in days with the Australian Government forced to refute an alert from The Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism advising citizens to avoid travelling to Australia due to a "significant increase" in racist attacks on "Chinese and Asian people".

"We reject China's assertions in this statement, which have no basis in fact," Senator Birmingham told AAP in a statement on Saturday.

"Our rejection of these claims, which have been falsely made by Chinese officials previously, is well known to them."

Relations between Australia and China have become strained in the wake of the pandemic as the Australian has proposed an international inquiry into how the COVID-19 outbreak in China became a global pandemic.

China has since imposed tariffs on imports of Australian barley and blocked beef imports from several Australian sources, though Beijing has denied its actions are connected to the COVID-19 dispute.

Australia has also spoken out over China’s proposed national security laws for Hong Kong, which critics say undermines the freedoms in the former British colony.

The University of Sydney says its research is dependent on the money international students bring in.
The University of Sydney says its research is dependent on the money international students bring in. Source: AAP

Australian universities could be set to lose $16 billion in revenue over the next four years as travel restrictions make life difficult for international students. 

According to the modelling by Universities Australia, higher education institutions could be set to lose as much as $4.8 billion in revenue this year alone.

International students provide more than 30 per cent of all annual revenue for many of Australia's Universities with institutions facing severe staff cuts to cover the loss of income.

3 min read
Published 9 June 2020 at 7:33pm
Source: Reuters,SBS