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March 4, 2019 | by  | in News Splash |
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NZ–China Tensions Appear Not to Affect International Students

Recent political tension between New Zealand and China may not have significant direct effects on Chinese international students at Victoria University.

Tensions with China arose at the end of last year when the government would not allow Chinese company Huawei to bid on the newest 5G mobile network.

China also decided to suspend the opening for the 2019 China–New Zealand Year of Tourism at Te Papa earlier this month, which has caused public concern about further strain on the countries’ relationship.

Victoria University of Wellington Assistant Vice-Chancellor (International) Julia Innocente-Jones says there has not been a drop in 2019 enrolments of international students from China, which could be because of their strong relationships with Chinese institutional partners and agents.

Universities New Zealand Chief Executive Chris Whelan told the NZ Herald that early signs were that international student numbers were “reasonably well up on last year”.

Victoria University International Students Association (V-ISA) said several Chinese international students who had been interviewed were disappointed at the media coverage.

In particular, that Huawei has primarily been focused on as “a Chinese company when there were so many other factors involved”.

V-ISA Interim President Denn Teo highlighted the importance of providing support mechanisms for Chinese students who may be affected by the media coverage on the conflict.

“They might have the impression that there is a hostile view against them. This, in turn, could have adverse effects on their daily lives and studying as the feeling of isolation might overtake.”  

“V-ISA stays true to its pledge and provides support by welcoming students to open up and share their own thoughts on issues they are having difficulties dealing with,” Teo says.

VUWSA President Tamatha Paul suggested international students could reach out to the association if they have any concerns.

“VUWSA will continue to make sure international students know who we are and what we do, in hopes that they come to us when they need support.”


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