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Australian economy will suffer if China students stay away, says trade minister

By Kirsty Needham

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Reliance upon Chinese students is pretty stupid. Australians should stop thinking of immediate dollars and more about the future of their own country.


19 ( +26 / -7 )


"Australians should stop thinking of immediate dollars and more about the future of their own country."

There are a LOT of countries this could be applied to. The problem is nobody wants to look further than the next Quarterly Earning Statement.

26 ( +27 / -1 )

Any business that is highly dependent on one single client is also highly vulnerable to changes in the market.

Maybe a good time to look at salaries and benefits paid to Univ staff, esp. chancellors and executives, and re-model their way of providing 'education.'

The UK has the same dilemma, with their executives and chancellors on even more obscene pay levels, while the students are down to a couple of hours a week face time with lecturers, and even that is going on-line.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

agree with all. time to get weaned off china's teat. we have been complacent too long with china

14 ( +20 / -6 )

Let it suffer in the short term, this is the perfect time to wean the Chinese off the Australian economy.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

The Australian economy will be just fine without Chinese students taking up all the places.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

aomorisamuraiToday  03:20 pm JST


"Australians should stop thinking of immediate dollars and more about the future of their own country."

There are a LOT of countries this could be applied to. The problem is nobody wants to look further than the next Quarterly Earning Statement.

Of course alot of countries need to do this. I only said "Australians" because the article is specifically about Australlia.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

When the international borders were shut, the lack of Chinese students didn't even affect Main Street Australia, the various China towns literally turned into ghost towns. Australian Universities top leaders are earning over $1million dollars each and thats after their pays were cut, Universities are getting a reputation for back door immigration and bloated staff payrolls.

11 ( +13 / -2 )


I disagree with you on a lot of topics but this time I couldn't agree more with you.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

The bigger problem is that the universities are allowing China to dictate what is being taught in the institutions. They also allow the Chinese students to practice spreading pro China propaganda, whilst punishing those who stand up to them.

Good ridance.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Any damage will be minimal. Australia does much more than just teach Chinese students.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Any damage will be minimal. Australia does much more than just teach Chinese students.

Yep! We also sell them citizenship and real estate.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Online programs as an alternative mode? This is an outcome of seeking a short-term profit in blind at the expense of other critical values for higher education services. To avoid risks universities should diversify student inputs, away from one mass emigrating country namely China.

It's also a lesson to be learned by Japanese universities who are dependent on Chinese students.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The tertiary education sector in Australia has been criticised for too dependent on Chinese students for a long time. To those universities, these Chinese students are cash cows. Well, bad things happens so it may be a good opportunity for those institutions to find other baskets to put their eggs.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

China is Australia's most important trading partner and sends the most international students

They really screwed themselves like those in many other countries. Well start buying and selling more stuff to other countries and start making more of your own stuff.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

right .. racism is the problem. by all means please stay in china.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

China behaves like a superpower, though untested, to any individual, organization or country not accepting its view. That kind of bullying is obvious in so many cases around the world. EU has shown weakness when trying to address China human rights or dealing with investigation on Coronavirus. South China Sea dispute is escalating and corrupt countries involved in the dispute have bowed to China’s threats. Australian student issue is a minor one among the real problems with the Chinese. Probably the Chinese students who can not study in Australia are the biggest victims if they have to study in line with CCP’s curriculum.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

i found A LOT of racism in Australia. Just sayin’

and now I’m waiting for all the thumbs down from those who have either never spent time in Australia, only spent time in the tourist areas, or are white

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Is the CCP using this as a political tool? Yes

Does serious Racism exist in Australia especially against Asians? Yes

Hundreds of racist attacks happen in Australia every year! Their government won't even admit this is happening.

Black lives matter and so does Asian lives.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

As I have been harping for ages, the west needs to  REALLY stop feeding the Chinese Monster, cut investment in China, cut international students, try to stop buying stuff made in China etc etc

As for Uni's......well what can we say seems we all agree too many Uni's are bloated with overpaid louts & far too many are DEPENDANT of foreign students higher fees to pay for their overpaid a$$es!

Also Chinese students have been vacuuming tech from the west since the 80s & continue to present. Australia should do itself a favour & start cutting the number of Chinese students & do a re-think about its business dependency issues wrt China as well!!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Not like there isn’t racism in China.

In the end, China’s is saying if you want to make trouble with the coronavirus, you wallet will take a hit.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

BigYenToday  06:01 pm JST

It's hard to say what would happen to the city centre if the Chinese students stop coming. Back to tumbleweeds and the wind howling through deserted high rises?

Everyone needs to live without being addicted to Chinese money. Australians for sure. Europeans. Americans need to stop being addicted to Walmart and Target prices. Japanese need to stop being addicted to Chinese group tourists. Income is great, but with China it comes with strings attached. The world really needs to make a hard choice.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

To rely on one income stream is just a plain bad business practice !

0 ( +4 / -4 )

All about the money, told you all.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

"Chinese students will suffer because their government has a lot of issues"

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

i found A LOT of racism in Australia. Just sayin’

and now I’m waiting for all the thumbs down from those who have either never spent time in Australia, only spent time in the tourist areas, or are white

I would genuinely love to hear of all that racism you have supposedly "found" here. The exact opposite experience of my Japanese wife and Japanese-Aussie kids, (and their Asian heritage friends) who have never faced anything of that sort in several years here. And no, we dont live in a "tourist area" - it's a majority Aussie-born area here.

There are a small percentage of morons and racists in every country. Id propose Asia harbors many, sadly. The Chinese government would be advised not to throw stones in glass houses on the topic of racism, because State-sanctioned bigotry there is next level. Likewise, the Australian government and unis would be wise to stop their addiction to an unpredictable, dangerous and authoritarian regime for export dollars.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Everyone in the Western world is addicted to the Chinese money and promise of more Chinese money. Japan is no exception, and in similar boots with Australia. Without Chinese money, many Western economies will suffer serious consequences.

Trump's campaign against China is a must-do in the short run and long run. In his war, many Western countries will be the economic casualties. That's an unfortunate fact.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

This is nonsense because the Australian government is already doing everything possible to not change and kill itself over coal. But yeah let's blame the stopping of trade with China even though renewables would save the country

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The wheels are falling off before our eyes, but America’s globalist enablers continue to promote their treasonous economic model of championing Chinese development through bloated, debt laden consumerism and voodoo economics the Chinese have parlayed into vast leverage over other countries. Trump’s fumbling attempts to promote a reconfiguring of global supply chains notwithstanding, One World orthodoxy continues to hold sway. China will, accordingly, always find a backdoor way around US tariffs and quotas to fill that voracious appetite. The inevitable resurgence of nativist realism that is gathering steam across both sides of the partisan divide is a barometer of how successful that treachery has been.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In the mid to late-ish 1980s, Australia had a major boom with English schools (basically Australian eikaiwas) and other ‘vocational’) schools that were often 95-98% full of mainland Chinese students. When schools would visit Australian consulates in the PRC to drop off paper applications and also do the rounds of student recruitment agents, piles of these applications would be gone within a day.

Why? Australia allowed (still allows?) international students to work up to 20 hours a week on top of their classes. As a result, these schools’ classes became full of students who barely attended because they were finding up to three jobs at a time (and, as a result, exceeding the number of hours they were permitted to work).

While the students were legally obliged to be at schools about 4-5 hours a day (2 x two-hour classes a day, with a break between the classes), many students would appear as late as possible in the first period and would expect to be counted as having attended the whole class. This was because they were rushing to get to class after finishing up Job A. They would then bolt from at the end of the second period class to head to Job B, and then, after that, perhaps Job C. For the majority of these students, money was the driving force for their presence in Australia - what theh could earn in Australia far outstripped salaries in China in those days. Gaining permanent residency In Australia was also a goal for some. Of course, their were exceptions, but they were few and far between.

Given this, every Australian looking for a quick buck would open a language or vocational school because they knew that filling the schools with Chinese students was never a problem.

There was even a King Fu school with something like 100% PRC students. When a reporter asked why students were coming all the way from the PRC to study Kung Fu in Australia, the school owner said he had a unique version of Kung Fu which was very, very attractive to people from the PRC. however, when the same reporter dropped in unexpectedly on the school one day when classes were supposedly in progress, there were no students there. The school was eventually found to be faking all their attendance records. No students were ever there.

Then ‘The Tiananmen Incident’ happened. The then Prime Minsiter cried about the poor students in China, and assuming those students in Beijing were the same as the PRC ‘students’ currently in Australia (and for the most part they were not), the PRC students currently in Australia were given a visa amnesty, and were told they didn’t have to attend the ‘schools’ they were attending.

Guess what happened? The ‘schools’ emptied out in the blink of an eye. In addition, after the incident in Beijing, it was very difficult for applicants to leave China. So, many schools stayed open around 6 months hoping the PRC floodgates would open again.

But in the intervening months following the Incident, the Australian government took stock of what had been happening over the previous few years. They realized that, well before ‘The Tiananmen Incident’, very few of these short-term language students were leaving Australia. They simply would move from one of these fly-by-night schools to another, and then another, and then another, ad infinitum.

So, the Australian government used the lull after ‘The Tiananmen Incident’ to institute far more restrictive policies on both these ‘schools’ and students.

And guess what? When that happened, the PRC student supply dried up, and all these schools and vocational institutes collapsed one after the other like a house of cards.

Australia should have learned from those years, but the lure of the foreign students was too tempting, especially as government funding of Australian educational institutions was severely curtailed around the same time.

Thus, the rest of the world once again looked very attractive as a source of students, but this time it wasn’t fly-by-night operators seeking them out, but all institutes of higher learning.

And this is why Australia is facing what is happening now.

Here endeth the lesson.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )


Thanks for your information. I have been living in Australia for 28 years and never knew these happened. It looks really like history is repeating itself again. Well who does not like money so I guess it is not too surprising.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


Towards my Japanese husband on a few occasions, in roadhouses and around Alice springs and other small towns. But you know what, never mind that, in your “years of living there”, have you ever seen how they treat aboriginals? No need to come up with any examples, it’s widespread enough that everyone knows it

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@ yoshisan88 June 11  11:26 am JST

My pleasure!

For those with negative votes for what I had to say, my post was not intended to criticize the students - it was more about the whole sham these ‘schools’ were. The school owners had no real interest in the students’ education - they were just after their money.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, in the next 10 years another nationality became the prime source of income for institutions of higher learning. And then the flavor-of-the-moment became the Chinese market again.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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