Why would a supposedly apolitical academic institution, based in a nation priding itself on values of democracy and tolerance, choose to have a close association with a totalitarian regime that tortures, enslaves and murders countless numbers of people? A question that we need to place before the University Of Sydney which has been reported as appeasing the Chinese authorities in its decision to cancel hosting upon its campus a planned speech by the Dalai Lama, scheduled for June. Instead Tibet’s former political leader is being asked to relocate to some undisclosed location, possibly his hotel where it has been suggested a number of colleges could take part and his address streamed online. It would appear the University of Sydney is happy for him to speak as long as it nowhere near their premises, raising serious questions on its independence and commitment to free speech and human rights. Meanwhile the Provost of the University has issued April 17 a statement claiming no official request was made for the Dalai Lama to give a talk. Whatever the facts it will be difficult for skeptics not to conclude that a decision to conform to Chinese sensitivities on the issue of Tibet was made, which if so would effectively snub a Nobel Peace holder, and hardly enhance the University’s reputation. Perhaps the only people applauding this development will be found within China’s regime.
An ABC television report on this may be viewed here http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-17/university-shuts-down-dalai-lama-visit/4635906
Anyone wishing to express their concern to the University Of Sydney may email its Provost Professor Garton and Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence Office here: firstname.lastname@example.org