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Students take to streets over safety

[ 2009-09-03 13:01]     字号 [] [] []  
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The parents of a young Chinese man who was murdered in Australia made a tearful plea for information yesterday as more than 1,500 protesters took to the streets in Sydney and Melbourne to demand better protection for overseas students.

Chen Deliang, the father of murdered 27-year-old Chen Jun, apologized to the media for his distraught state.

"It is hard for me to accept and to understand why such a good person could die in Australia in such a heinous way," Chen said, as his wife, Xue Meiying, held a framed photograph of their only child.

The protests were organized by the National Union of Students (NUS) to focus attention on several issues affecting students, including their safety and their demands for transport concessions.

Elly Howse, from the University of Sydney Student Representative Council, said: "International students are perceived in a negative way, and there have been violent attacks against them in Sydney and Melbourne."

Douglas Tsoi, executive officer of the Australian Federation of International Students (AFIS) in Melbourne, said students from the Chinese mainland account for about 40 percent of the 10,000 students who seek assistance - on issues including safety, employment and education - from AFIS each year.

International students often have part-time jobs at night and travel home alone, which makes them vulnerable, he said.

"The attacks are not racially motivated. Definitely, most attackers are opportunist," Tsoi told China Daily.

He called for more police on late-night trains and better student housing.

About 547,000 international students, including 120,000 from China, are studying in Australia. They contribute about A$15.5 billion to the country's education sector, helping to make education the nation's third-largest export industry after coal and iron ore.

NUS president David Barrow said the protests were about the students' overall environment.

Anthony Pun, president of the Chinese Community Council of Australia, said it was "in Australia's interest to look after the students, not neglect them".

Dr Michael Spence, University of Sydney vice-chancellor, said the institution was working to improve student security.

A spokesperson for Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said both New South Wales and Victoria had already taken steps to improve the safety of international students, adding that arrests had been made following the recent attacks.

Police do not believe there is a link between Chen Jun's death and several other violent incidents in Australia involving Chinese victims, Australian media reported.

Chen's body was found in bush at Mount Ousley, on New South Wales' south coast on Aug 14.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Students take to streets over safety

Students take to streets over safetyBrendan joined The China Daily in 2007 as a language polisher in the Language Tips Department, where he writes a regular column for Chinese English Language learners, reads audio news for listeners and anchors the weekly video news in addition to assisting with on location stories. Elsewhere he writes Op'Ed pieces with a China focus that feature in the Daily's Website opinion section.

He received his B.A. and Post Grad Dip from Curtin University in 1997 and his Masters in Community Development and Management from Charles Darwin University in 2003. He has taught in Japan, England, Australia and most recently China. His articles have featured in the Bangkok Post, The Taipei Times, The Asia News Network and in-flight magazines.