With China expressing concern for the safety of Chinese students studying in Australia, the embattled A$15.5 billion overseas student industry down under is bracing for rough times.
The Australian government and university managements are already in damage control over a series of violent attacks on Indian students in various metropolitan centres.
The Australian authorities were finding it hard to contain the Indian fury over the violence against international students in, mostly, Melbourne and Sydney.
Now a Chinese embassy counsellor's statement has raised the Australian concerns over to new heights.
"There are over 130,000 Chinese students in Australia. They have on the whole had good study and living environment in Australia, but attacks on Chinese students also occurred in recent years," Liu Jin was quoted as saying in The Australian Wednesday.
"It is hoped that the Australian government will provide better protection to international students from China and other countries and ensure their legitimate rights in Australia," the Chinese diplomat added.
Meanwhile, university heads have expressed fears that Australia's third largest export industry was perilously close to sanctions from two of the largest sources, China and India.
"We need to assure the Indians and Chinese that we are taking real steps to address these problems," head of Universities Australia for international issues Daryl Le Grew has said in statement.
Wednesday witnessed a series of meeting involving Australian politicians, international education providers, Indian community leaders, students' representatives and police. The meetings to assuage frayed Indian tempers were organised in both Melbourne and Sydney.