A Collection of Insights into Chinese Government Influence in Australia

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Influence /ˈɪnflʊəns/ [mass noun]:The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself.

The Chinese government’s vast sphere of influence has been a widely debated topic over the past few months. In many instances, discussions have blurred the lines between China – a country with a rich history of 5,000 years – and the Chinese government – currently controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

China’s culture, its arts and trade relations with Australia, have had a significant influence on Australia’s development as a well-integrated multicultural society. The cultural and economic contributions of the 1.2 million Chinese living and studying in Australia cannot be overstated.

Yet as the giant awakens and the Chinese government flexes its financial muscles globally, its influence seemingly comes with covert and overt censorship, control and attempts to silence dissent, which many perceive as a head-on collision with Australia’s democratic values.

Is influence from the Chinese government a problem for Australia? How much influence can Australia accept? Is there a bottom line?

We invite over twenty leading China experts and community commentators to discuss their views on the influence of the Chinese government and the resulting impact on Australia as a nation in this spectacular collection of eye witness accounts, personal narratives, opinions and analysis in The Giant Awakens.

Enjoy – and let us know your thoughts!

Yan Xia
Chief Editor
October 2017
[email protected]
Vision Times Media Corporation (Australia)

National Security and Foreign Interference

By Rory Medcalf, Head of National Security College at the Australian National University

Criticism of Chinese Communist Party influence is not about ethnicity. We need to guard against any risk of this issue turning into one of suspicion or xenophobia directed generally at Australia’s Chinese communities.

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Party Time: It’s about Values, Not Race

By James Leibold, Associate Professor in Politics and Asian Studies at La Trobe University

We need to stop speaking about ‘Chinese influence’ in Australia. The over one million residents of Chinese ancestry are part of the rich fabric of Australian life. They have long made significant contributions to our growth and prosperity. Our focus, in contrast, should be on any meddling by the Chinese Communist Party and its often shadowy organs in our society.

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Growing Influence: Silent Changes in Our Community

By Chun Wing Fan, former president of the Chinese Migrants Welfare Association

The growing influence comes out into the open when the Immigration Department approved a request from the Chinese Communist Party to interview every Chinese refugee at Villawood IDC. This clearly violates Australia’s international human rights responsibilities.

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Our Universities Are a Frontline in China’s Ideological Wars

By John Garnaut, founder of JG Global and former advisor to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

There can be no doubting the pressure on universities to fill classrooms with full fee-paying foreign students, generate private donations, and rise up the research rankings. But they will need to find a way to reconcile their scholarly values and principles with the political objectives of their dominant customer.

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Resist Infiltration and Safeguard Australian Values

By Chongyi Feng, Associate Professor in China Studies at the University of Technology Sydney

The core values we defend are universal values, including democracy, freedom, rule of law, equality and dignity, all of which play a foundational role for modern civilisation.

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Interference with Academic Activities in Australian Universities

By Jinjiang Zhong, Chairman of the Chinese Alliance for Democracy and the director of China Transformation Study Institute(Australia).

In Australia, the Chinese Communist Party’s activities are not limited to infiltration; the red tide of the Chinese Communist Party has also had a serious impact on our lives as well as social activities.

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Chinese Students Aren’t Simply Tools of the Party-State

Merriden Varrall, Director of the East Asia Program at the Lowy Institute

When Chinese students self-censor or monitor and report on their peers, it is not necessarily because the Chinese state is bearing down on them. Rather, many Chinese students believe that speaking out against the officially approved view, on any topic, is inappropriate. Monitoring and reporting on peers who diverge from the party line is seen as the right thing to do.

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Chinese State Infiltration: The Inside Story

By Yonglin Chen, former Chinese diplomat

China’s thirteen- year-long campaign to win Australia’s military compliance has succeeded. Its goal: Strategic cooperation during conflict. Its method: Diplomacy and territory grabs. The result: Vast losses to security and pre-established international alliances.

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Australian-Chinese Living Under the Red Shadow

By Baoqiang Sun, Sydney Chinese writer and refugee

In Sydney, there are now countless choirs and dancing troupes. Their underlying objective is to propagate the Chinese Communist Party’s ideology among Australian society. Each performance had to be approved by the Chinese Consulate and undergo strict censorship.

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Against Chinese Illiberalism

By Adam Ni, researcher in Chinese strategy and security at the Australian National University

An enduring Australia-China relationship cannot be built on trade and investment flows alone. In the longer term, this relationship needs to be based on mutual trust and respect for the liberal values that sit at the heart of Australian society.

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Our Future is Shaped by the Freedoms We Uphold

By John Deller, Honorary Secretary of the Falun Dafa Association of Australia Inc.

If as a nation, Australia focuses on an ethical and moral base for trade, and gives voice to the values of our democracy and way of life, despite protestations from a foreign power, then Australia may prosper on its own terms.

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Human dignity and its enemies

By John Fitzgerald, professor in the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburne University of Technology.

An enemy mentality designed to suppress dissent in China could, if Beijing got its way, undermine all societies that value dignity and freedom, and disarm the states that protect them.

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Attempts to Divide the Australian Tibetan Communities

By Kelsang Gyaltsen, Chinese Liaison Officer of the Tibetan lnformation Office in Australia

How does the Chinese Communist Party penetrate and divide the Tibetan community?

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Chinese Reporter Expelled During Australia Day Celebrations

By Jiazhen Qi, Melbourne Chinese writer

Australia’s values of freedom and democracy were tarnished by the Chinese Consulate’s monitoring of every community group they label as counter to the Chinese Communist Party.

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Beware the China Alarmists Out There

By Linda Jakobson, CEO and Founding Director of China Matters

Picking apart what is detrimental to Australian values and what represents an alternative and inevitable facet of our deepening relationship with China can be demanding.

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What Does China Say About PRC Influence in Australia?

By Jackson Kwok, research assistant at China Matters

Failure to understand the diverse perspectives of the Chinese community, combined with sensationalist reporting, risks isolating the community and reinforcing the belief that they are a minority under siege. The prevalence of PRC state media and absence of critical Chinese-language journalism are not conducive to mutual engagement.

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Influence Creep? Australia Well-equipped to Hold its Own

By Elena Collinson, Senior Project and Research Officer, Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney and James Laurenceson, Professor and Deputy Director, Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney

Power only becomes influence when there is evidence that a target country has changed its stance or policy to be more in line with Beijing’s preferences. When the situation warrants it, Australia seems to have no qualms in rejecting Chinese investment. But it also has sufficient confidence in its regulatory processes to welcome investment when it serves the national interest.

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The Fall of Chinese Community Groups, Politicians and Academic Freedom

By Xiaogang Zhang, freelance writer and human rights activist

Influence from the Chinese government can be felt in many ways. One of which is in our election process, where the Chinese Consulate opposed a pre-selection of a pro-democracy advocate as a candidate for Australia’s Unity Party and threatened to mobilise the Chinese community to oppose the Unity Party if the candidate did not step down.

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Grassroots Influence by Beijing’s Running Dogs

By Ruan Jie, editor of Tiananmen Square Times and chairman of the Chinese Democratic Party Australia

There must always be an imagined “enemy” from the West for the Chinese community to “struggle” against so that they can be “protected” by the Chinese Communist Party wherever they migrate.

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Obsession with China’s Influence Is Hurting Australia’s Public Diplomacy Agenda

By Wanning Sun, Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Technology Sydney

Successful engagement with the Chinese community is a litmus test for the effectiveness of multiculturalism as a national policy. Few mainstream journalists reflect on the possibility that such pro-Chinese nationalism displayed is as much a response to their own narrowly focused and one-dimensional reporting on China as it is the result of the Chinese government’s patriotic propaganda.

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What Is the CCPPNR and the UFWD?

By Zheng Zhang, Chinese political commentator

Today’s United Front Work Department(UFWD),through the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification(CCPPNR), focuses on supporting and transmitting the influence of the CCP overseas, control Chinese communities and monitor the words and actions of overseas Chinese.

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Confucius Is Turning in His Grave

By Feiyan Xia, freelance Chinese news commentator

The acceptance of the Chinese government’s Confucius Classrooms is an act that “places profit before morality” — unfortunately this is already an unconscious acceptance of Communist values.

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Disclaimer: The views, beliefs and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the various authors and do not reflect the views, beliefs and opinions of Vision Times Media Corporation (Australia).

Copyright statement: The articles within this publication can only be reproduced with the permission of the individual authors.Copyright of photographs used throughout this publication belong to individual photographers and cannot be reproduced without permission.

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