Pavlou was a vocal human rights activist and an active critic of Beijing's Chinese Communist Party — during his time as an undergraduate of the University of Queensland (UQ). He claimed he was exiled from UQ for expressing disapproval of the connections to Beijing. The university said he had been exiled for violating their codes of conduct.
In December, he announced the forming of a new political party called the Drew Pavlou Democratic Alliance (DPDA) and promised to find candidates from Uyghur, Tibetan, and Hong Kong extraction to run with him. Pavlou stated that he would like his party to choose candidates who have direct experience with Chinese oppression.
Pavlou was in Sydney along with his fellow DPDA candidates, Kyinzom Dhongdue, who is a Tibetan-Australian, as well as some Chinese pro-democracy students, when a group of Chinese nationalists gathered to threaten the group.
Pavlou claimed that the video clip he posted on Twitter didn't show the most severe brutality, in part because the “protest journalist” covering the protest was attacked by Chinese nationalists.
In an interview on Monday morning, Pavlou spoke of being victimized in the interview by “fascists” and noted left-wing Australian protests often include signs that read “F**k Sco Mo,” an ode to Scott Morrison, the current Australian PM Scott Morrison.
“No one gets attacked when they put up a sign like that, no one gets charged by police,” said the man.
Pavlou told reporters the following day that New South Wales police are investigating him for inciting the attack, not those who attacked him.
Pavlou was even more furious at the way that the Australian Election Commission appears to be encouraging “fascist pro-CCP supporters” who were cheering the attack and offered to carry out further violent attacks against the CCP:
“My point is a simple one – I should be able to insult a dictator like Xi Jinping in my own country without being physically assaulted and attacked,” Pavlou posted on Facebook.
“Australia is a democracy and we should be free to insult any leader no matter how coarsely – this is a simple principle of free speech,” he said.
“No way would I have been surrounded by 50 people and physically assaulted if I held up a sign saying ‘F**k Scott Morrison' in Sydney. Why should Chinese ultra-nationalists get a free pass to assault people in Australia if someone insults Xi Jinping?” He asked.
Chinese ultra-nationalists from Australia have a track record of using violence in order to suppress opposition to China's Chinese Communist Party and its policies, which includes certain incidents during the height in the Hong Kong democracy movement that Pavlou was involved in when as a student.