Australian media targets universities in new anti-China campaign


Australian media targets universities in new anti-China campaign

Oscar Grenfell

23 September 2017

This week, sections of the corporate press have published McCarthyite claims that Australian universities are at risk of growing “Chinese influence.” The hysterical allegations are directed at joint partnerships between Chinese companies and Australian universities, and have included xenophobic denunciations of Chinese students.

The latest campaign follows a series of witch-hunts over the past year, alleging that the seemingly benign activities of Chinese corporations, businesspeople and students, are part of an ill-defined plot led by the Chinese Communist Party.

Accusations along these lines have previously been spearheaded by the publicly-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Fairfax Media, working in close collaboration with the most pro-US sections of the Australian political establishment, including the intelligence agencies.

Their aim has been to legitimise Australia’s central role in US-led military preparations in the Asia-Pacific, including the Trump administration’s threats of a preemptive strike against North Korea, and its plans for war with China.

The latest furore has been led by the Guardian, which bills itself as “liberal” and “progressive.” It published a feature length article on Tuesday headlined: “‘Faustian bargain:’ defence fears over Australian university’s $100m partnership.”

The article uncritically provides a platform for figures with close ties to the Australian military and intelligence agencies to denounce a $100 million “innovation precinct” at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

The centre was unveiled last year by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull….

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