Sussex UCU notes the National Security Law (NSL) in Hong Kong which came into force on 30 June of this year and its claims to universal jurisdiction in Section 6, Articles 36-9.
Sussex UCU further notes the statement of the Association for Asian Studies and the interim statement of the British Association for Chinese Studies (BACS) concerning this measure and its implications for UK universities. We note the six recommendations prepared for BACS on The Threat Posed by HKNSL by Gittings, Evans and Feuchtwang.
As these statements point out, the NSL makes it a criminal offence to criticise, or make subversive statements about, the rule of the Communist Party of China, regardless of an individual’s citizenship or geographical location These provisions mean that China scholars and commentators both inside and outside the People’s Republic of China may be deemed to have broken this law if they publicly express views or reach conclusions which the Chinese authorities regard as interference or undermining. As reported in July arrest warrants have already been issued under the law.
We are particularly concerned in light of the University of Sussex’s recently-announced Joint Institute of Artificial Intelligence with Zhejiang Gongshang University, with plans to award joint Sussex degrees at UG level and full Sussex degrees at PG level. We are also concerned in light of the University's use of the Alibaba Cloud project as a platform for online access to Sussex modules from China. As reported earlier this year, Alibaba Cloud is required to comply with Chinese censorship regulations.
We believe that the NSL endangers students and staff in all disciplines, but especially those based in China and Hong Kong, or taking part in modules about China. We further believe that the NSL endangers academic freedom.
We express solidarity with colleagues at Hong Kong institutions already grappling with the consequences of the NSL. We also join with BACS in warning against statements on the NSL being used in Sinophobic attacks and we condemn all forms of Sinophobia. We shall be calling on Sussex management to acknowledge the dangers presented by the NSL and its ramifications, to review its governance of transnational education partnerships and to specify the measures it is undertaking to safeguard Sussex students and staff from associated forms of xenophobia, racism and threats to academic freedom
Sussex UCU Exec and Reps