The president of Purdue University offered support to a Chinese student who had been subjected to harassment from other Chinese students for speaking against the Chinese Communist Party.
Zhihao Kong, a student at Purdue and a Chinese citizen, had faced substantial harassment from fellow Chinese students for speaking out in support of the protesters killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, ProPublica reported last month.
The outlet further reported that Kong’s family was subjected to intimidation and harassment in China by the Ministry of State Security, the Chinese government’s internal police agency, which pressed his parents into imploring him to stop speaking out.
The harassment from Kong’s fellow Chinese students included accusations that he was a spy for the CIA and threats to report him to the Chinese Embassy and the Ministry of State Security.
In a Wednesday statement, Purdue President Mitch Daniels said the university had only become aware of the harassment Kong had been subjected to after the news report and vowed to take action against any students who had harassed Kong.
“Any such intimidation is unacceptable and unwelcome on our campus,” Daniels said. “Purdue has punished less personal, direct and threatening conduct.”
“If those students who issued the threats can be identified, they will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action,” the university president continued. “Likewise, any student found to have reported another student to any foreign entity for exercising their freedom of speech or belief will be subject to significant sanction.”
“Those seeking to deny those rights to others, let alone to collude with foreign governments in repressing them, will need to pursue their education elsewhere,” Daniels finished.
A Change.org petition to “expel the students that harassed Purdue student Zhihao Kong” has amassed over 6,000 signatures, although the identities of the students are unknown.
A spokesperson for the State Department referred the Washington Examiner to the Department of Homeland Security, which did not respond