A student activist – who has been vocal in his opposition to the University of Queensland’s links with China – is now claiming UQ is trying to ‘imprison’ him.
A student activist – who has been vocal in his opposition to the University of Queensland’s links with China – is now claiming UQ is trying to ‘imprison’ him.

Student activist claims UQ is trying to imprison him

A student activist, who has strongly advocated against the University of Queensland's links with China, claims the tertiary institution is now trying to "imprison him" over allegations of contempt of court.

University of Queensland (UQ) student Drew Pavlou [on Monday] said that the tertiary institution had "threatened" not just to "expel him" but to take legal action against him.

However, a UQ spokesperson said the recent correspondence to Mark Tarrant Lawyers did not relate to any student disciplinary matters.

 

Drew Pavlou outside the University of Queensland St Lucia campus. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australia
Drew Pavlou outside the University of Queensland St Lucia campus. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen/The Australia

"It relates to documents produced for court proceedings brought by Mr Pavlou, to which UQ is not a party," the spokesperson said.

"Under a court order, and with Mr Pavlou's agreement, UQ produced the documents on the basis that certain confidentiality restrictions would apply to the documents, including to protect students named in the documents."

The student representative of the UQ Senate has been vocal in his criticism of the University's ties to Chinese government, and is fighting expulsion at the University.

"Two to three days ago UQ directed Clayton Utz to send me a letter basically outlining the case that they are going to sue me for contempt of court which is a crime punishable for three years in prison," Mr Pavlou said.

Drew Pavlou protesting out the front of Forgan Smith Building with supporters on Monday, May 18. Picture: Richard Walker
Drew Pavlou protesting out the front of Forgan Smith Building with supporters on Monday, May 18. Picture: Richard Walker

"UQ has actually gone further than trying to actually expel me, UQ has gone much further than trying to discipline me internally within the university, now UQ is threatening me with imprisonment," he said.

"They are threatening a student critic with nearly three years in prison simply to get back at me in reprisal for my pro-Hong Kong activities on campus."

Mr Pavlou said it was a "truly extraordinary step for a public university to take ... simply for criticising their relationship" with the Chinese government.

"With this email they've accused me without any sort of evidence of having breached my court order with regard to my case against Xu Jie …. The Chinese Consul General in Brisbane, he threatened my safety," he said.

"Now I'm taking him to court, to try and obtain the Queensland equivalent of a restraining order as he really threatened my safety ... so my court case against Xiu Jie is ongoing.

"And (UQ) without any sort of evidence, as you can see here [indicates to email on iPad], has accused me of a serious breach of undertaking and misuse of the UQ email and threatening to commence proceedings in court against me to try and prosecute me for contempt of court.

"That's a charge that can carry three years imprisonment.

"(UQ) has accused me of a serious breach of undertaking and misuse of emails subpoenaed between Xiu Jie and the university and they have threatened to commence proceedings and prosecute me for contempt of court, something that they are seeking to do to imprison me for three years."

Originally published as Student activist claims UQ is trying to imprison him


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