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We Should Let Chinese Students Have Their Voice

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests have spilled on to the streets and campuses of Australia’s capital cities, embroiling the country in an argument it doesn’t want and doesn’t always understand.

Pictures of Chinese flags waving from the steps of Sydney’s Town Hall may conjure up images of a communist takeover. But there are many loyal and patriotic Chinese-Australians who are nonetheless more sympathetic to the Beijing government than to the Hong Kong protesters. And as equal citizens of Australia they have every right to their opinions.

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“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time; but there is the broad feeling in our country that the people should rule, continuously rule, and that public opinion, expressed by all constitutional means, should shape, guide, and control the actions of Ministers who are their servants and not their masters.”

— Winston Churchill, in Parliament, 1947