Tag: Effect

Academics warn of ‘chilling effect’ of Hong Kong security law | Education

Some of the world’s leading scholars on China have called for a united international front in defence of university freedoms, amid claims of an increased Chinese threat to academic inquiry since the passing of Hong Kong’s national security law.

Individual universities will be picked off unless there is a common agreement to resist Chinese state interference in academic research and teaching on China, a group of 100 academics including scholars in the US, UK, Australia and Germany say.

They highlight the threat posed by article 38 of the sweeping national security law, which states that the law is applicable to individuals who live outside the territory and individuals who do not come from there.

The law was imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing in June after more than a year of pro-democracy protests.

The academics say article 38 raises the unsettling prospect that students travelling through Hong Kong and China face being handed lengthy prison sentences on the basis of academic work deemed to be subversive by Chinese authorities.

The signatories, representing 71 academic institutions across 16 countries, cite claims that China-related modules are being dropped and writings self-censored by students for fear of reprisals.

“Universities are supposed to be a place for vigorous debate, and to offer a safe space for staff and students to discuss contentious issues without fear or favour,” says a letter signed by the academics. “The national security law, which under article 38 is global in its scope and application, will compromise freedom of speech and academic autonomy, creating a chilling effect and encouraging critics of the Chinese party-state to self-censor.”

Dr Andreas Fulda, a senior fellow at the University of Nottingham Asia Research Institute and one of the initiators of the letter, said: “Several students – both from the United Kingdom and from mainland China – have told me in private that they are concerned that comments made in class or essays will be used as evidence against them.

“Universities cannot meet this challenge alone. A united front of academic leaders, politicians and senior government officials is needed to mount a common defence of our academic freedoms. We must call out the national security law for what it is: a heavy-handed attempt to shut down critical discussion of China, antithetical to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

He added: “It is widely known that the Chinese party-state is weaponising students to monitor their university instructors in mainland China and Hong Kong. Such attempts to instrumentalise students do not stop at China’s border. Prof Vanessa Frangville has revealed that the Chinese embassy in Brussels tried to hire Brussels campus students to express their disapproval of a Uighur demonstration in 2018.”

A lecturer in Sinology at the University of Leipzig recently told the Hong Kong activist Glacier Kwong that “his students from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China asked if they could drop his class, because they worried about being associated with the criticism others made of the Chinese Communist party in class”.

A separate group of

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Lt. Collins’ Law Among New MD Measures Taking Effect Oct. 1

By Philip Van Slooten, CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE

ANNAPOLIS, MD — An update to Maryland’s hate crimes law, named for slain Army 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III, is one of several anti-discrimination measures going into effect Oct. 1. Other notable bills address crime, the environment and healthcare, including an infectious disease mandate named for Olivia Paregol, a University of Maryland freshman who died during a 2018 campus outbreak.

Collins’ Law – HB917/SB606. Sponsored by Delegate C. T. Wilson, D-Charles, and Sen. Joanne C. Benson, D-Prince George’s, this hate crimes update was named in honor of the Bowie State University ROTC candidate who was murdered by Sean Urbanski at a University of Maryland, College Park bus stop in 2017.

“He was a young rising star, a young military officer about to be commissioned,” state Sen. William C. Smith Jr., D-Montgomery, said of Collins, who was Black.

While Urbanski, who is white, was convicted of first-degree murder in 2019, the judge failed to find enough evidence to convict under the state’s hate crime law at the time.

“The standard, the fact he didn’t actually utter a certain phrase, was not enough to convict him of a hate crime as well,” Smith explained. “So, we changed the standard to allow the prior activity to be enough to prove intent. We were able to give that small peace of mind to the family.”

Sen. Clarence Lam, D-Howard and Baltimore counties, also wanted to highlight Collins’ law as an important piece of legislation enacted last session.

“Particularly in this time when the national environment is certainly very fraught,” Lam said. “There have been concerns about populations and individuals who feel they may be targeted due to their race, color, gender or orientation. To make sure the hate crimes statute covers them is particularly important. They’re all people, after all.”

Below are a few other bills enacted last session and going into effect Thursday. They are grouped by category.

ANTI-DISCRIMINATION

Fair Housing – HB231/SB50. The HOME, or Housing Opportunities Made Equal, Act, whose sponsors include Smith and Delegate Brooke E. Lierman, D-Baltimore, expands Maryland’s fair housing policy by prohibiting landlords from discriminating against individuals based on their source of income, to include government subsidized housing vouchers, when renting or selling property.

“I think this law will unleash economic opportunity for thousands of families across Maryland,” said Smith. “A vast majority who have vouchers and are single mothers.”

Employment Opportunity – HB1444/SB531. Known as the CROWN Act, this law bans employment descrimination due to racial perceptions regarding hair texture or style by expanding the state’s legal definition of race. Bill sponsors included Sen. Smith and Delegate Stephanie M. Smith, D-Baltimore.

“The problem globally is a number of men and women who wear traditional hairstyles associated with the Black race have suffered discrimination in the workplace about ‘professional’ hairstyles,” Sen. Smith explained. “If they refused to change, they wouldn’t be hired or promoted. It’s something a number of Black men and women think about every single day

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