top of page



A new report by Amnesty International published findings from the organization’s field research on the Chinese government’s efforts to repress Chinese, Hong Kong, and Macau students studying abroad. This report shines a light on the threats to academic freedom around the world, especially those posed to the freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly of students studying abroad.

Amnesty International found that many international students from China are living and studying with the constant fear of being targeted under China and Hong Kong’s national security and intelligence laws and regulations, or otherwise being subjected to surveillance, harassment or intimidation by Chinese authorities or their agents in connection with the exercise of their basic rights to expression and association. According to the report, the resulting climate of fear limits their participation in academic and social life. Apprehensive of repercussions from Chinese authorities, the students often practice varying degrees of self-censorship.


Despite being outside of their home country, Chinese and Hong Kong students studying abroad remain at risk of being persecuted for exercising their right to free expression. There have been incidents of students returning from abroad being prosecuted for their political activities overseas, including a Hong Kong student who studied in Japan and a mainland Chinese student who studied in the US. These cases add to the students’ fear of being monitored or identified by authorities focused on conducting transnational repression, such as the CCP’s overseas secret police.  

As part of a broader commitment to academic freedom, universities and governments in host countries should take steps to protect students’ right to free speech, such as by ensuring a certain degree of anonymity for students who are in danger of being targeted by transnational repression schemes. Additional measures need to be taken to accommodate students who are afraid of returning home from abroad, believing that they would be prosecuted



As Hong Kong is seeing a devastating increase in political persecution, we will continue to pave the way to a free Hong Kong.

bottom of page