Australian media widens campaign against Chinese “influence”
14 June 2017
“Are you now, or have you ever been, an agent of influence for the Chinese Communist Party?”
It has not reached the point where people are being hauled before a Royal Commission in Australia and asked such a McCarthyite question, but processes are developing in that direction. A media campaign against alleged Chinese “power and influence” in the country is assuming ever-more anti-democratic and sinister dimensions.
The campaign is based on the purported “concerns” of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), which, along with other intelligence and military agencies, works in constant collaboration with its American counterparts. ASIO’s conduit is an “investigation” being carried out by the state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), along with the newspapers published by Fairfax Media—the Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne Age and Australian Financial Review. It was well and truly joined over the weekend by the Australian, one of the flagship publications of Rupert Murdoch’s global media empire.
A pall of suspicion has been cast over current and retired politicians, business figures, universities and academics, journalists, Australian citizens of Chinese descent, and more than 170,000 Chinese students who are studying at Australian universities and vocational colleges. The implication of the media coverage is that, in one way or another, whether consciously or not, they are being used to assert the interests of the Chinese regime in Australian politics and society.
The preoccupation with Chinese “agents of influence” can be understood only by assessing it within the context of Australia’s role in the rising geo-political…