Chinese diplomat investigated after comments about Australian student

Mr Pavlou (right) claims he received death threats and violent messages following the Chinese consul-general in Brisbane Xu Jie's comments.
Mr Pavlou (right) claims he received death threats and violent messages following the Chinese consul-general in Brisbane Xu Jie's comments.PHOTOS: BRISBANE.CHINA-CONSULATE.ORG, DREWPAVLOU/INSTAGRAM

BRISBANE (AFP) - A senior Chinese diplomat who labelled an Australian university student a "separatist" over protests held in support of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement was being investigated by Australian police Thursday (June 25).

According to News.com.au, police were investigating the Chinese consul-general in Brisbane Xu Jie over allegedly inciting violent threats against student activist Drew Pavlou following a protest at the University of Queensland last year.

A Queensland Police spokesperson confirmed inquiries were being made after a complaint was filed this week but would not give any more details about the investigation.

Mr Pavlou is an outspoken critic of Beijing and is currently challenging a two-year university suspension which he says was designed to silence his criticism of the Chinese Communist Party's influence at the institution.

Last year, Mr Pavlou gained international attention when a protest he attended saw clashes between pro- and anti-Beijing students on the campus and led Mr Xu to dub the organisers separatists.

Mr Pavlou claims he received death threats and violent messages following the diplomat's comments.

More than 181,000 Chinese students are enrolled in Australian universities, bringing more than US$6.8 billion (S$9.47 billion) into the economy each year.

The University of Queensland is also home to one of several Beijing-funded Confucius Institutes in Australia.