Thursday, September 21, 2017

Freedom of Speech No Excuse for Challenging Chinese Sovereignty
By Liu Lulu
Global Times
2017/9/21 23:38:39

The China Scholarship Council (CSC), a branch of China's Ministry of Education, is reported to have frozen applications by Chinese scholars for state funding for study at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), a move that is seen by some in the US as retaliation against UCSD for inviting the 14th Dalai Lama to speak at its commencement ceremony in June.  The report has not been confirmed by Chinese authorities.

The Dalai Lama has been active in Tibetan separatist activities under the cloak of religion and has instigated a few bloody violent incidents in Tibet. As one of the top universities in the world, UCSD should offer students an objective picture of Tibet. But regrettably, it called the political exile "a man of peace" and used "freedom of speech" to challenge China's territorial integrity.

Beijing's determination to guard national interests cannot be overlooked, and China will not allow its territorial integrity to be challenged.

By inviting the Dalai Lama to address the graduates, UCSD has hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. China, at both the non-official and official level, will not treat the university like before. Chinese universities will have to take cooperative projects with the school into consideration and voices calling for Chinese authorities not to recognize UCSD diplomas or degrees are heard. Putting a freeze on CSC-funded Chinese scholars to the university may not be the end.

Western media are hyping about the Chinese government steadily putting pressure on overseas institutes to suppress dissidents. But inviting the Dalai Lama to give a commencement speech at an American university is not a matter of freedom of speech. It is a serious challenge to China's territorial integrity and Western media should learn more history before judging the Chinese government.

Today's China has greater influence in the world and consequently, greater say in international affairs and a growing number of Chinese students have gone to the US for study to better contribute to China's development. Meanwhile, US students will inevitably become more engaged with China, and this is indispensable for US development. If American students' history education is outdated and prejudiced, then future Sino-US exchanges will encounter problems. We hope other Western universities get a lesson from UCSD and offer students a true picture of history, including Tibet's.

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