A tutor at the University of Sydney has resigned following international outrage at a series of social media posts he wrote apparently insulting his mainland Chinese students.
The Weibo posts written last year by Wei Wu, the business school’s head corporate finance tutor, were recently discovered by his own students (awkward), prompting an investigation by the school newspaper and a petition asking for his resignation.
“The Usyd finance course is very difficult, not sure how many international pigs will hire essay writer [sic] because of their low IQ,” read one of the translated posts in the petition.
Wu’s Weibo account has since been deleted, which is a shame, because his supporters are trying to argue that Wu was not insulting mainland students in general, but instead making a veiled attack against the spoiled kids of cadres, and therefore the Chinese government.
According to Australian newspaper The Age, in his posts, instead of using the common character for “pig” — zhu (猪) — Wu went with the obscure character tun (豚), which has also been used to refer to guanerdai (官二代), the offspring of CCP officials, who frequently go abroad to study — to places like the University of Sydney, for example.
— 巴丢草 Badiucao (@badiucao) April 18, 2016
In fact, an online counter-petition has also sprung up, with over 1,000 signatures, voicing concern that Wu may have become “a victim of the Chinese government’s increasingly intrusive attempts to curb voices of dissent among overseas Chinese.”
The petition argues that the comments have been taken out of context, that they simply express a widely-held belief and documented fact about international Chinese students hiring others to write their essays for them and that there has been no evidence of his online comments translating to disrespectful conduct in the classroom.
As Chinese-Australians, we do not interpret Mr Wu’s passport burning posts or his comments about academic misconducts among Chinese international students as humiliation or hatred towards the Chinese ethnic group as a whole, and believe many Chinese-Australians like us would share the same view.
Despite all that, Wu offered his resignation yesterday, and it was accepted by the university. In a statement released by the university, Wu has asked for forgiveness.
“I would like to sincerely apologize for the inappropriate and disrespectful comments I made on the internet. I will refrain from such remarks in the future. I have also resigned from my employment at the University of Sydney,” the statement reads.
Greg Whitwell, Dean of the university’s business school, added that, “Racist, sexist or offensive language is not tolerated at the University of Sydney.”
— 巴丢草 Badiucao (@badiucao) April 19, 2016
However, Wu’s supporters believe that his quick conviction by the court of public opinion is unjust and the university has chosen to simply sweep the matter under the rug. They have issued a follow up letter asking for additional information about the case and investigation.
Wu became an Australian citizen last April, before that, he was a Chinese national himself. To top it all off, a video has been found on the internet that appears to show Wu burning his Chinese passport and then dousing the flames in a toilet bowl.
For this, Wu became public enemy number one on Chinese social media last week, with tens of thousands of netizens blasting him for his apparent hatred of his homeland (or at least his home government), with some even making death threats if he ever visits the mainland again. At least he didn’t get caught abusing a dog.
Last year, the University of Sydney was at the center of another scandal involving Chinese students after a high percentage of Chinese students were failed from a few of the university’s business courses. The students accused the university of failing them deliberately in order to cash in on the Repeat Course Surcharge of A$5,000 per student.