Place Chinese applicants to US Universities on hold until China frees Qiu Zhanxuan.

Place Chinese applicants to US Universities on hold until China frees Qiu Zhanxuan.

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William Sharkey started this petition to President Donald J. Trump and

Place applications from Chinese students on hold until China frees Qiu Zhanxuan. China should show a basic commitment to human rights before we allow additional Chinese citizens to apply to publicly funded US universities. This move is not intended as punishment towards Chinese applicants, but simply to pressure China to free Qiu Zhanxuan and stop suppressing students with politics that the government disagrees with. Chinese students must be able to exercise freedom of speech without fear of torture or death. We hold leverage over China by allowing students to be educated at top US Universities that receive public funding.  We should reject Chinese applicants until Qiu Zhanxuan's freedom is restored, (or if he has been murdered by the Chinese Gov't already, his remains must be returned to his family). Additionally, China should allow student organizations to exist regardless of political or philosophical slant. Until China affords these basic freedoms to students, China is not a safe place for Americans to study, and it is only fair that the US taxpayers not subsidize China's educational system until they comply with modern standards of academic freedom.

Qiu Zhanxuan was a Chinese student at the elite Peking University. He was the leader of the Marxist student association and supported workers rights.

Because Marxist thought is not tolerated in China, he was picked up by government officials and tortured. After being tortured, he was released, but then later abducted again in a black van and not seen to this day.


For what it is worth, I am not a Marxist. I am a US citizen unaffiliated with labor movements, socialism and Marxism. But like most people, I think that students should be allowed to join whatever philosophical or political clubs they choose, and express whatever political speech they wish, without fear that their government will murder them. Students roles in shaping policy is important to all modern nations, and it is a natural, healthy behavior to explore political thought and philosophy while being a student. 

Allowing students to study in the US at publicly funded Universities is a privilege that should be reserved for societies that abide by the most basic human rights guidelines. It should be treated as a two-way cultural exchange that is contingent on decent behavior and at a bare minimum - creating safe environments to be a student.

The rich and well connected in China often send their children to elite US universities because they feel it is a path to success, or at least prestige. (Indeed, some rich families are willing to pay thousands to get their child a spot at a prestigious US University.) If the wealthy and powerful in China had their children's admissions prospects jeopardized, it would cause the Chinese government to seriously reconsider their policies. It might result in Qiu Zhanxuan being released if he is still living. Even if that is not the case, there needs to be a message that US citizens will not participate in cross-educational opportunities unless China is willing to protect students. We must recognize the leverage that we possess ( our world-class universities ), and that we are wasting this leverage by not having any contingencies or basic standards. If we choose to not utilize this power to assist Qiu Zhanxuan, it should be at least a conscious decision made by US citizenry - that we weight the decision and chose to act -- or not.

It is clear that more Chinese student activists will be tortured and murdered if we do not act, and we are complicit in not using all the tools we have available. Many tax payers will be happy to not subsidize the education of corrupt foreign elitist's children -- we would rather it be spent on US citizens or foreign citizens of nations that are not abusive towards powerless students. I do not wish to minimize the harm it would cause to hard working Chinese students who wish to study in the US - but that must be weighed against the moral obligation we have towards students in China who are being tortured and taken from safety by their very own government that should be protecting them.

Thanks for your consideration,

It is my sincere wish that we do something to physically help Qiu Zhanxuan, I am not interested in some ineffectual virtue signalling. If you think this is a step towards that real goal, please sign the petition. If you have reservations or a different idea, please contact me, you can DM on Twitter @williamsharkey . I am open to all efforts and ideas to help Q. Z.

Thank you,

William Sharkey

Philadelphia, PA

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