The McMaster Students Union has taken away the club status of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) after student government representatives were made aware of alleged connections to the Chinese government.
Allegations of the club’s connection came in February after the club disrupted the speech of activist Rukive Turdush, whom has been critical of the Chinese government’s discriminatory treatment of Uighur Muslims,
She later told CBCthat those who shouted her down “did so under the direction of the Chinese government,” and that these club members adamantly defended the government and accused her of promoting separatist activities.
“All students wishing to form a club agree to a specific set of rules regarding their conduct as a club. It was the determination of the SRA (Student Representative Assembly) that CSSA had violated those rules,” said MSU President Joshua Marando.
“I support the students in their decision and commend their work in ensuring students feel safe on campus.”
According to the CBC, “The CSSA said it notified the Chinese consulate in Toronto of Turdush’s talk after it occurred, according to a statement, which they authored along with four other McMaster Chinese student groups.”
“The CSSA, which has coordinated closely with Chinese diplomatic officials, has tried to obscure their connections to the Chinese government while simultaneously surveilling and intimidating students on campus who speak out against the Chinese government,” Simranjeet Singh, a member of the governing SRA, said.
The decision to cancel the CSSA’s club status was ultimately guided by hopes of de-ratifying the group, with many commenters believing that such groups may be proxies to interfere with Canadian affairs. Fear over student’s safety was also a factor in this decision.
“By reporting a Uyghur refugee to a genocidal regime — and thus endangering any family that she may have in China — the CSSA sends a chilling message to students on campus: toe the Party line, or you will also be reported, and thus suffer the consequences,” the testimony of an anonymous student read.