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China joins India, raises concern over attacks on students

June 04, 2009 13:39 IST

China has joined India in raising concerns over a spate of attacks on foreign students in Australia, asking Canberra to provide better protection to ensure their "legitimate rights".

In the wake a a recent surge in violence on Indian students in Australia, Chinese embassy counsellor Liu Jin said his government was actively intervening to ensure safety of their nationals. "There are over 130,000 Chinese students in Australia. They have on the whole had a good study and living environment, but attacks on Chinese students also occurred in recent years," Liu told the Sydney Morning Herald. While he declined to list the number of attacks and where they had taken place, his statement raised worries in the education sector over the future of the Australian $ 15.5 billion overseas student industry.

Chinese students are one of the largest communities studying in Australia. "It is hoped that the Australian government will provide better protection to international students from China and other countries and ensure their legitimate rights in Australia," Liu said. Universities fear that Australia's third-largest export industry is at risk of crippling sanctions from the Chinese and Indian governments, according to the report.

Natasha Chaku in Melbourne
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