The Chinese Embassy demanded that the Durham Union ban a speaker at one of their debates
Anastasia Lin was invited to take part in a Union debate on China
An official from the Chinese Embassy in London has called the Durham Union to say that they have “serious concerns” about speaker Anastasia Lin, as reported on Buzzfeed.
Buzzfeed has reported that the Chinese Embassy has warned that it could damage relations between the UK and China.
Anastasia Lin, a former Miss World Canada has been banned by the Chinese Government for her human rights advocacy. She took part in the debate “This House sees China as a threat to the West” last night.
An official told the students in a telephone call “For Lin coming here we put [sic] some serious concerns about this debate”, warning it could affect UK–China relations.
“Especially after the UK leaves the European Union, the prime minister has visited China and reconfirmed that China and the UK are seeking globally strategic collaborations. We don’t think that this kind of debating would make any contribution to these kind of relationship.
“So we thought that we would just let you know that. Take a second and think between this debating and the more grand background of UK–China relations.”
In an email sent by a representative of the Durham University Chinese Students and Scholars Association, several Chinese students complained about the talk.
“This debate invites a guest, Anastasia Lin, a lady who has been banned by the Chinese government for her human rights advocacy,”
Our members find both the topic and the guest they invited a violation of the belief and feelings of Chinese students. Anastasia Lin has been banned by the Chinese government and she is obviously not an appropriate person to be invited to debate in a topic like this, which put China in a position to be discriminated.”
One student who attended the event said: “There were loads of Chinese people there and some of them were getting pretty annoyed at her. At one point it turned into pretty much a dialogue of her and this other girl arguing about who had truth on their side.
“But mostly she was saying how China has no respect for human rights, and that the government threaten her family – even her old grandma – because of what she does.
“And the other speaker for her side ended his speech saying ‘if the Chinese government isn’t a threat, why did their embassy call up the president demanding he end this debate?'”
Another student said: “One guy said how after studying in the West he sees that people here are so much more educated that they can be trusted with freedom of speech and other liberties whereas in China he thought because so many were uneducated that the Chinese government had to restrict their freedoms in order to preserve stability.”
At the end of the night, where those who attended vote on the debate, the motion was defeated by 116 votes to 91.
When approached by The Tab, the Union declined to comment.