Silent invasion of Australia: factsheet
The Sino-Australian Diplomacy dates back to 1909 when China was still under the monarchy of Qing dynasty. After the Chinese civil war, Nationalist forces under the aegis of Republic of China (ROC) was defeated by the communist’s party or the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the former had to retreat into the Island of Taiwan. Until 21st December 1972, Australia officially recognized Republic of China(ROC), but suddenly this all changed when the then Prime Minister of Australia Gough Whitlam shifted Australian recognition from Taipei to Beijing and opened new doors for economic cooperation. In 1973, the trade relation between China and Australia was around a mere 113 million dollars which exceeded 100 billion dollars by 2011. China has now become a destination market for around a quarter of total Australian exports comprising mainly of iron ore, natural gas, gold, and aluminum. China remains the top importer and tops the list of Australia’s major export markets
Chinese presence in Australia:
The Chinese community in Australia is very well organized into community organizations. Among the Chinese student’s community, the “Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA)” is the most prominent and is supported legally and financially by the Chinese authorities. They are often blamed of working for the Chinese propaganda arm, propagating Communist party’s agenda in Australian Universities. Chinese authorities keep a vigilant eye on the activities that their students take part in. While talking to the Forbes Magazine, Sally Sargeson an Associate professor at the Australian National University quoted that “every Chinese Student she had talked to, said that they knew they were been monitored and hence would often adjust their engagements and speeches so that they don’t get into any trouble. Every Chinese student studying in Australia is required to verify their diploma/ pass certificates from the Chinese embassy, only after which can they find a job back in China”. While during an interview with Fair fax four counters Investigation, Miss Lupin Lu, president of Chinese Students and Scholars Association of Australia openly admitted that she would report any pro-democratic engagements by her Fellow Compatriots. Many Chinese students have also requested to be placed in Study Groups which didn’t have other Chinese Students. The apprehension of being reported to the Chinese Authorities while expressing their views are evident from this fact that, as many of times their views might not be in tune to the communist party’s agenda.
Merriden Verrall, an expert on China and Director of East Asia Program at Lowly Institute
"Director of East Asia program (Lowly Institute) Expert in Chinese Foreign policy, Chinese Domestic policy, and Chinese development policy wrote in a New York Times article that even in Australia Chinese Students fear to speak freely as they fear that their colleagues will report their activities to the Chinese Authorities. From a very early age Chinese Students are fed the communist parties propaganda and for the Love for their country is equal to their loyalty towards the communist party’s Agendas and working in party lines is a way to show their patriotism "
former BBC correspondent for China and Had reported from China for a Decade
Louisa Lim, in an interview with a private media agency, Accused China of Using Australia as a Petri Dish for Experiments and the level of experiments are how deep the Chinese can push their agendas. The level of meddling done by China in Australia is most extensive in comparison to other countries when it comes to influencing the Media, politics and Community Organizations. Not long ago during the Mid-March of 2016, Chinese community organizations and Students took to the streets of Melbourne with flags of the Chinese Communist Party and China to reiterate their support for China’s controversial activities in the South China Sea. Students in the March quoted in media that the activities of China in the South China Sea is the right of China. Chinese embassy also provided the protesters with monetary and legal support in a case there was a confrontation with local
The trade relation between China- Australia goes back to the 18th century and saw a sharp increase from 1972 after officially recognizing the People’s Republic of China. From 113 Million in Bilateral trade during the late ’70s to a whopping 110 billion dollars by 2016, the Sino-Aussie Trade relation got an immense boost after signing of the free trade agreement in 2015. The signing of this agreement bought 11 billion Dollars in Chinese investment to Australia making a 33% increase and 23% increase in Chinese Students to Australian Universities. The Australian education sector is also an important source of export and Foreign exchange. The Agricultural sector in Australia had also seen a rise in investments from 300 million dollars to more than a billion dollars of Chinese investment in less than a year of signing the free trade agreement. Australia is a big exporter of Wine and China had become the biggest importer of its wine, surpassing US and UK in recent years, the vineyards in Australia has also seen a significant increase in investments from Chinese business tycoons. China Alone has a population of around 1.6 million Millionaires who are heavily buying assets in Australia. Until recently in Sydney, the building that houses the Australian Stock Exchange was bought off by a Chinese Billionaire. Because of increased investments in Australian Real estates, real estate prices in Major Australian cities had gone up by 84% making it difficult for Australians in owning one in these cities and have seen a surge in the number of Assets owned by Chinese companies and individuals. For an amount of around 7 billion dollars, Chinese investors secured an ownership share of Melbourne’s busiest port. The Federal Government of Australia recently had to block the sales of Australia’s biggest Power grid AUSGRID to an infrastructure holdings company based in Hong Kong over security concerns.
In another incident a strategically Important port “The Darwin Port” located in The Northern Territory was bought off by then Shandong Landbridge group Owned by a 56-year-old Chinese Billionaire Ye Cheng, but this deal was covered in fresh controversies after the Landbridge Group moves to refinance the port of Darwin. It was reported that Landbridge group was seeking a loan of up to $500 million from a Chinese government-owned export-import bank “EXIM” by keeping the port as a mortgage against the amount.
"Peter Jennings of the Australian strategy policy institute, a premier think tank stated, “the move to use the port as security should prompt a new assessment of the lease by the foreign investment review board or FIRB as default could see the lease end up in the control of Chinese government"
Chinese influence in Australian politics:
Professor Clive Hamilton, a well-known intellectual and author of the book Silent Invasion “quoted that China sees Australia as a weak link in western alliance”. His book provides a detailed analysis of Chinese methods of asserting influence in Australia. The book is already facing the brunt of Chinese influence as in late November its publisher “Allen & Unwin” suddenly decided to postpone the release of this book citing fear of lawsuits by China. Such fear of expressing viewpoints that too in a western nation definitely speaks in length about the success Chinese propaganda has achieved. His book claims to provide in-depth details on how top Australian Scientific breakthroughs are being secretly transferred to the PLA and also about the CCP’s influencing tactics on Australian Journalists to mold views on China. Recent lawsuits against Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Fairfax media by Chinese tycoons have set a new precedent in the usually independent and courageous Australian media and the Australian academic society. On the other hand, Australia needs to be on the good books of China, as it is the biggest export destination of Australian goods and hence it is necessary for Australia to maintain a cordial relation with China. Owing to this fact, China makes a nefarious use of this to push their agendas through the Australian establishment. Moreover, Australia has very few campaign finance restrictions and foreign political donations are perfectly legal in the country. An investigation by a private media agency had revealed that in last four years a Chinese billionaire namely Huang Xinagmo had alone donated around $2.7 million to all the three major political parties in Australia and another Chinese Billionaire had donated around $4.1 million as campaign donations to various politicians in Australia over a period of 10 years. Both Billionaires have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
Some controversial facts about Australian politicians:
Andrew Robb, the former Australian trade minister from the liberal party took a major role in the signing of the free trade agreement with China. The day it was signed several influential Chinese businessmen donated around $50,000 thousand to his political campaigns. Later Andrew Robb also took the lucrative job of a consultant in the Chinese real estate giant namely the Landbridge group; lately, the Landbridge group was successful in securing a 99-year lease of the Darwin port. Eric Roozendal, former New South whales legislative council member resigned in 2013 from the post and took an executive job at a property development firm owned by the Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo have close ties with the Chinese government. The vacant seat was later filled by a Labour party member Ernest Wong having close ties with Xiangmo.
Sam Dastyari, a senator of the labor party from New South Whales defended the controversial activities of China in the South China Sea and later also received a political donation from Xiangmo.
Bob Carr, former foreign minister of Australia resigned from his office to form a think tank. His think tank also received a corpus fund of 1.8 million from Huang Xiangmo. The think tank lately organized a tour program to China for the selected journalist from Australia. The tour program was designed and coordinated by the “All-China Journalists Association”. The think tank I often accused of working as a propaganda arm for China.
Few Australian media agencies had aired a report about the existence of a secret Country by country counter intelligence index compiled by Australia’s domestic Spy agency “Australian Security Intelligence Organization” where China was listed as an extreme threat. The ASIO’s deputy director general of counter-espionage and intelligence also briefed the parliament that the level of foreign interference in Australia was worse than the times of cold war.
The international propaganda arm of China: the united front’s works department
The United front works department of China was established as the Chinese Communist Party’s political coalition of everything ranging from policy makers, influential people, think tanks and media companies around the world and as well as within China. The CCP aims at influencing the worlds to view towards China in a perspective that it fits the communist party’s agenda. The CCP seeks to influence around 60 million Chinese expats spread across the globe to spread and tune in to its agendas, as Chinese expats take active roles in politics, administration, militaries, and policy-making in their current foreign habitats. The United Front aims at creating an ecosystem around the globe that will influence strategic policies of other countries towards China fulfilling a step closer to complete world domination. An investigation into the guidebook intended for cadres of united front work department by the financial times found that it indeed dreamt of influencing the world stage in its favor by means of illicit mediums.
To understand Beijing’s master plan of strategic dominance of the world, we can take the example of United States where an arm of United Front under the aegis of China-United States Exchange Foundation had influenced and funded some major policy institutes and think tanks that can considerable influence and create next-generation leaders in various spheres from military to foreign policy bureaucrats in the US. Namely, the John Hopkins University school of advanced international studies (SAIS) recently announced a Pacific community’s initiative completely Funded by the CUSEF (china-united states exchange foundation). The sole purpose of this initiative was to create narratives about china’s bigger role in Asia and what the world means for its neighbors. It gets interesting here to know that the CUSEF is still registered as a foreign agent under the department of justice of foreign agents registration act. Its chairman Tung Chee Waa was also the first chief executive of Hong Kong post-independence from British Rule having close ties with the regime and also serving as a vice chairmen of CPPCC (Chinese people political consultative conference) which again is a political advisory body formed to keep influential people within the closed loop of the Chinese communist regime, the CPPCC includes international celebrities like Jackie Chan. It should also raise quite a few eyebrows to know that graduates from these institutes, which included almost all major think tanks and policy institutes usually go on to fill important portfolios in the state departments, the CIA and other security establishments. Influencing their world-view from an early stage would definitely benefit the CCP in a long run. Another major initiative taken by the CUSEF was when it started dialogue based meets between high ranking PLA & US Military veteran in a bid to influence the Pentagon. In one such instance in 2008, where the CUSEF tried to influence the Pentagon through few retired high ranking military officials involved in the Initiative for delaying the publishing of a white paper on Chinese foreign policy tactics, but it failed as Pentagon denied that request. While working under the supervision of united front the CUSEF had also employed a lobbyist in the US to secure the CCP’s interest in policies undertaken by the Congress. In that attempt, it paid the PODESTA GROUP $700, 0000 to lobby in the Congress for China-Us Relations. The united front had been also very active in financially backing Chinese origin candidates in various local body elections through various Chinese owned business houses. An In-depth analysis of the United Front Modus operandi reveals a common mode of work that is followed throughout the world from the US to Australia and from Nepal to Sri Lanka and where money always plays a pivotal role.
Tung Chee Waa, Chairmen, China-United States Exchange Foundation
Podesta group co-founder, former campaign manager of Podesta group
Modus-operandi of Chinese propaganda in Australia:
For China, the Australian nation apart from being a major trade partner also is important from the point of view of its plan for complete domination in the South-China Sea. Australia is an important strategic partner of the western Alliance houses US military bases with around 1500 personnel and along with a state of the art “ADVANCED SPACE RADAR AND SPACE TELESCOPE station” referred to commonly as PINE GAP and believed of having capabilities to detect adversary’s satellites in space. Darwin in the Northern territory has strategic importance as it houses around 1250 active US personnel’s. The US presence in Australian soil remains a major challenge for China in fulfilling its agenda of south-China sea territorial domination. For more than a decade China is systematically influencing the politics, economics, media and a section of the Australian intellectuals to gather momentum against the established US bases and Assets in their country, popularly known as the Australian Anti-bases campaign coalition had been very vocal on the issue recently. Australia also has a sizeable population of the Chinese community; the CCP has been trying to make use of them in fulfilling their Agendas especially Chinese language media houses in Australia. In 2005, when a young Chinese diplomat based in Sydney Chen Yonglin Defected to Australia, some startling revelations were made by him that raised quite a few eyebrows. In an interview given by him to a local Australian news agency, he claimed that more than 1000 Chinese spy agents were active in Australia working undercover executing communist parties’ agenda and also at the same time carrying out kidnappings. It is noteworthy that a section of the Chinese community in Australia is loyal to the Communist party of China and had been incidents where they made attempts to organize town hall meeting on the CCPs ideology and life and works of Mao Zedong, but later had to drop the town hall meeting after protest from another section of the Chinese community who had faced prosecution under Mao’s rule. The entire issue of Chinese interference in Australia’s internal matters is a stark reminder to other countries around the world. Countries like Nepal, Shri Lanka should take insights from this entire issue. Failing to do so, could be devastating for smaller countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka they would be reduced to puppet nation in the hands of an autocratic foreign power like China
By Shrutikar Abhijit