SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: September 24, 2020

Attack Types: Travel Restrictions

Institution(s):Charles Sturt University

Region & Country:Eastern Asia | China

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On September 24, 2020, Chinese authorities announced that two Australian scholars, Clive Hamilton and Alex Joske, were banned from entering China in apparent retaliation for their academic work.  

Hamilton is a professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University and author of several books, including two that address China’s influence in Australia and the rest of the world. Joske is an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s International Cyber Policy Centre, worked as a researcher for Hamilton’s 2018 book “Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia,” and authored an August 2020 report “Hunting the Phoenix” that alleges the Chinese Communisty Party (CCP) uses academic talent recruitment programs to gain technology and intellectual property illegally. 

On September 24, the CCP backed paper Global Times reported that Hamilton and Joske were banned from entering China under the Exit and Entry Administration Law. At the time of the report, neither Hamilton or Joske was in China or had plans to visit China. 

Scholars at Risk is concerned about restrictions on scholars’ travel, apparently intended to retaliate for or prevent nonviolent academic or expressive activity. Such actions obstruct the exercise of the rights to academic freedom and freedom of expression—conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. State authorities have a responsibility to protect academic freedom and freedom of expression and to refrain from imposing arbitrary restrictions on movement intended to limit these freedoms.