The recent clash between pro-Hong Kong and pro-Chinese students on the University of Queensland campus in Australia is a telling example that China’s version of soft power, partly promoted by Confucius Institutes, is not always necessarily soft. The clash, which took place in mid-July, is the latest development in a series of complications long swept under the rug. That is the influence the Chinese government has on educational independence in Australian universities. As a result of the incident, the government in Canberra has begun an investigation into whether agreements between the universities and their 14 Confucian Institutes have violated anti-foreign interference laws passed last year.
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