Chinese student under pressure

The World

A pro-Tibet demonstration took place at Duke University last week, with only about a dozen or so people turning out. They were overwhelmed by several hundred pro-China supporters. This Duke freshman says she walked out of the dining hall that evening and right into the middle of the demonstration: she says both sides wanted me to support them. She says she felt strongly about getting people to sit down and listen to others’ opinion. She got an earful from pro-China demonstrators who called her nasty names at first, but then posted her name online, along with her picture. The YouTube video, information from her Chinese national ID card, and the identities of her parents have also been published. Her parents have since had to move out of their home because of intimidation and she’s been denounced by Chinese bloggers and received thousands of offensive emails and phone calls including death threats. She says she’s hired a lawyer and she lays at least part of the blame for all this on the Duke Chinese Students and Scholars Association. The group is advised by the Chinese government. The group says it has formally disagrees and condemns the behavior of the few people within the group who have used this information for harm. The university’s president says he thinks the Association has handled the situation well. Chinese students groups like the one at Duke have been very active in light of all the political activity of late. This analyst says the Chinese government is good at keeping tabs at young Chinese students abroad and encouraging them to show their loyalty. The Duke Chinese student says she’s a bit worried about going back to China and she’s worried about her parents, but she’s not going to keep quiet.

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