China silences book about its “silent invasion” of Australia

Oh dear:

Australian publisher Allen & Unwin has ditched a book on Chinese Communist Party influence in Australian politics and academia, citing fear of legal action from the Chinese government or its proxies.

The publisher’s chief executive, Robert Gorman, said last week that it would abandon publication of a completed manuscript by Clive Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University, called Silent Invasion: How China Is Turning Australia into a Puppet State.

He said the “most serious of these threats was the very high chance of a vexatious defamation action against Allen & Unwin, and possibly against you personally as well”.

Allen & Unwin was “an obvious target” for “Beijing’s agents of influence”, Mr Gorman wrote.

While Australian publishers routinely deal with legal threats or court action from individuals named in books, it is exceptionally rare that a perceived threat from a foreign power prevents or delays publication.

“I’m not aware of any other instance in Australian history where a foreign power has stopped publication of a book that criticises it,” Dr Hamilton said.

“The reason they’ve decided not to publish this book is the very reason the book needs to be published.”

…Mr Gorman also wrote that the publisher believed the Chinese government is co-ordinating attacks on Australian media reports it believes critique or undermine its authoritarian regime.

…A former senior national security official told Fairfax Media that the Chinese government sought to use Western legal systems to advance or protect its interests.

…The Herald Sun recently printed a correction in connection to a report suggesting Huang Xiangmo was an agent of influence. The correction was issued after Mr Huang launched defamation action. The newspaper report was based on a leaked federal parliamentary library paper that examines Mr Huang’s political donations and describes how he heads a Sydney-based lobbying organisation aligned with the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department.

Mr Huang, who has repeatedly dismissed claims of impropriety, has also helped set up and provide seed funding to a China research institute at the University of Technology Sydney, the Australian China Research Institute, which is directed by former foreign minister Bob Carr and economist James Laurenceson. The institute is also examined in Dr Hamilton’s book.

Mr Carr and Mr Laurenceson have both critiqued reports of Beijing’s influence as overblown, while Mr Laurenceson recently tweeted the Herald Sun correction, describing it as a court “ruling”, and appearing to endorse its coverage in the Chinese government-controlled press. A report by the Communist Party-controlled Global Times described the correction as a victory for overseas Chinese and attacked the Western media for failing to report on it.

If we let it, in time, our current economic settings will cost us our democracy.

Comments

  1. Once the China house of cards falls over I think we will be saying China who just like japan in the mid 90s
    I remember when I was a teenager they were goung to have 1/2 Japanese 1/2 English street signs
    In 2000it was Japan who

      • Good call Ric
        I think Anna Stev Yang and others are very smart and have been proven wrong
        I think HH is right that China will slow significantly next year and AUD will fall
        I think it comes down to the strength of the USD
        If it strengthens it’s going to put pressure in the Yuan and their debt Ponzi scheme
        China got a get out of jail card when DXY dropped from 103 to 93
        Let’s see but I don’t believe china will get away with their Ponzi game

      • Lol. China is “fixed” …. just like magic!

        I wouldn’t trust a word the guys at Platinum say — anyone who was invested with them through the GFC got taken to the cleaners. You don’t need to be an Oxford scholar to work out that China’s problems are off the dial. All the info you need is the sheer scale of credit creation over the past decade and a half and the frightening housing bubble they currently have (7 or 8 times larger than Sydney’s). This is late-’80s Japan …. only orders of magnitude greater.

        Good luck to anyone who is bullish.

      • Very different. Japan is a rich, successful country (per capita) with high living standards and world leaders in a range of products, and a reputation for quality.

      • Davey – a dangerous perspective in terms of China being continually viewed as ‘tin-bashers’, ‘cheap’ and not capable of producing quality. A German engineer put a summary of trade fair in Germany a year ago on Linkedin. He commented that the best Chinese products are now on par with what is produced in the West. I’m no China fan.Our politicians are either ignorant of what is a growing and insidious China threat or paid off. They have just suckered in Western financial institutions to fund their next wave of growth.

      • Nexus: in a country of 1.3 billion I’d be surprised if the ‘best’ wasn’t on par with the west. However, the reality is that the vast majority of things (as opposed to the best) coming of out China are not of high quality. Nor are they masters of innovations. Nor are their name brands world leaders in any given industry. Bottom line is that their GDP per capita is about $8K USD, so they are very much a developing country. And according to the laws of maths they’ll stay that way for a long time.

    • Chinese students in Sydney are already demanding Mandarin texts:
      International students win power in USyd election
      ‘Panda Warriors’ won and had eight candidates elected to the Student Representative Council at elections.

      Panda Warriors are demand:
      – Multi-lingual support for housing, academic, and tenancy.
      – Concession fares on public transport
      – Discounted fees for International students

      • Concession fare on transport has been a campaign issue instudent elections since forever. Most of the international student don’t understand it is a State government issue.

      • A well defined and co-ordinated soft power strategy to promote Chinese interests. This is no doubt occurring around the globe.

    • I was in the city yesterday looking at the construction works going on around Town Hall. Sydney’s highest residential tower seems to be progressing rapidly (unlike the light rail). Greenland Tower is being built by a property development company owned by the Chinese Communist Party. When finished it will tower above Town Hall, but also Defence Plaza, a couple of doors up headquarters for many military and Defence branches. Hard not to see it as a work of triumphalism, from luxuriously appointed suites, wealthy CCP cadres will be able to peer down at our military brass at work and the workings of civil government.

      That’s in an area where already 60% of the resident population is mandarin speaking. Hong Kong government owned MTR appears to have devised the real strategic plan for Sydney around its new Metro line. High rise apartments will rise above every station on the route, no doubt most will be marketed to Chinese. Initial works for the Metro are being constructed by Chinese government owned John Holland. The plan is for new high rise apartments at every station along the route, which will undoubtedly be marketed to Chinese, funneling a captive market into office and retail centers that will be built above the city stations. This is the makings of a parallel “Chinese Sydney”.

      The state government depends on the Chinese for capital for its asset “recycling” model, The universities depend on Chinese for research funding and fee-paying students. Most are unwilling to speak out against China, worry about diplomatic “incidents” and some (such as UTS) have switched from conducting serious China research to being a CCP propaganda outlet.

      Perhaps it will end up proving to be strategic overreach, but for now, it feels like China has already invaded.

      • boomengineeringMEMBER

        Chinese have already invaded ?, bit like the Dutch permanent residents assimilated with the Aborigines since 1629 saying the English have already invaded refusing to speak the local language . Then in a couple of hundred years time history books will have it that the Chinese discovered Australia in 2010, nothing much in Aussie before that.

      • I wouldn’t mind it if the CCP owns the light rail and build it. At the current rate you’re looking at 2019 completion.

    • bcnich,

      I think your teenage memory of the mid 90s needs adjustment. In the late 80s to the mid 90s Japanese were a large % of tourists numbers and it was being pushed by the tourist industry in the major destinations to do dual street naming for that reason.

    • “Once the China house of cards falls over I think we will be saying China who just like japan in the mid 90s
      I remember when I was a teenager they were goung to have 1/2 Japanese 1/2 English street signs
      In 2000it was Japan who”

      Why are you so confident it is a house of cards, and if it is whether it will fall over? I don’t know if you have noticed, but a lot has happened recently with global financial system architecture and geopolitics that underpins the Chinese economy:

      – Increase voting rights in IMF
      – Parallel financial institutions to the existing Western ones
      – Huge and increasing reserves of gold
      – Payments systems outside of SWIFT
      – The most important, is Increasing acceptance of Yuan in global payments and as part of trade deals. Yuan denominated oil futures are coming and are part of this. The Chinese will eventually compel the Saudis to accept Yuan as payment for oil. They are not the biggest customer, it is no longer the USA. The US will no longer be the sole Petro currency in circulation. The Obama deal with Iran was more than about stopping them from getting the bomb, they wanted the ability to be able to change allegiances in the Mid East to the dominant player if that becomes Iran. Plenty of push back on this within the USA itself.

    • Their house prices are hugely over valued, I think tutu will decline by at least 20/30% over the next several years
      Ask Andy Xie he calls it a Ponzi scheme

      • I honestly feel their economy could absorb a 20 or 30% drop in prices. I’m not arguing that their aren’t structural imbalances, like any fast growing economy, they get created every where via mal investment. I’m saying they are trying to transition to a US style system where they can keep it going for a long long time by virtue of global adoption of Yuan.

  2. Jake GittesMEMBER

    It’s not clear that legal advice is the rationale to Allen and Unwin’s decision; it reads more like anxiety.
    In any case Hamilton is best so find another publisher. A&U has wrecked its reputation.

  3. It is simple – when 30% of your exports depend on one country and when 100% of your Real Estate depends on that same country, you lose your independence. China probably mentioned two words – trade war – and we dropped the pants down.

    • You don’t understand. China is not going to sue, the local Australians, like Julie Bishop, Andrew Robb, Bob Carr and Sino Sam who got the Chinese “donations” will sue.

      • No, it is the Chinese ‘Australians’ who are agents of United Front of the CCP who will sue. There are many of them and they have spent decades infiltrating the country and its institutions.

    • Yes let this one go to court……or will this be a secret shadowy-court of the UN to meet our ISDS obligations from our Free Trade Agreement with China? Courtesy of Australia’s politicians who continually sell us off to the highest bidder…..no change here folks move along…… We need to ban all ISDS agreements in so called Free Trade Agreements.

    • Should publish it regardless and let China sue. Best publicity ever, probably become a best seller.

      Nice outcome if the court ruling is that the book is not a libel.
      What happens if Australian court finds the book to be a case of ‘vexatious defamation’?

    • Well there’s a Sydney lawyer who is likely to have lots of free time in coming months who has an international reputation based on beating a foreign government’s attempts to block publication of a book. Such a court case should be right up Malcolm’s alley and he would be doing something beneficial for the country (for a change).

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spycatcher

      Alternatively the author should give the manuscript to Julian.

    • “He said the “most serious of these threats was the very high chance of a vexatious defamation action against Allen & Unwin, and possibly against you personally as well”.

      It is the local law that prevents publishing by fear of legal action.
      I do not fool my self that China does not have influence over local polies in AUS but 2 things are undeniable:
      1. Chinese conquered AUS did it with a big “welcome” invitation and a red carpet
      and
      2. libel laws are there to protect everyone – you disregard them based on the political agenda and the democracy have already lost.

  4. A&U spineless – pardon the pun. Gone the same way as journalism.
    Also re silent invasion – done and dusted. I reckon CCP had a quiet word in Gough’s ear way back when in the ’70’s to push the PC racist Australia agenda through education.
    We were brought up (educated) that we were inherently racist, all about the yellow peril and how bad Australians had been. Education is excellent, in this case whole generations have effectively been silenced and now a major publisher assumes backlash and retribution not just legal and they print that in a paper yet no book about what every person can already see and is actually living yet its racist to talk about it and there will be ‘outlaw’ reprisals (physical attacks.) Go Bob Carr! Legend!

  5. “our democracy” lol. Our politics is so toxic that the douchebag who claimed he stopped the boats had a cabinet that was full of inelligible foreigners. The Chinese aren’t going to change that one bit, why would they, it’s much easier to get their way with these disgusting corrupt political parties…

  6. Bo Xilai’s political career first begin unravelling when Rupert Murdoch personally directed the Wall Street Journal to write a story about Bo’s son driving a red ferrari. None of it is true, but the damage was done.

    This is not a defense of what China is doing, rather, this is the reality : the Chinese leadership treats all negative reporting in the West as an attempt to subvert the Chinese political system.

  7. An excellent point was raised on Reddit- the book’s author is PRO censorship. Specifically, pro Australian government censorship.

    So as much as I may hate publishers being risk adverse about offending China, I’m glad this guy got his just desserts.

  8. This is not an invasion. Invasion implies unwelcome use of force. This is a sell-out by our venal treasonous politicians. Wake up Australia. Our sovereignty is in jeopardy.

  9. Lol MB lapping this up hook line sinker again. Yawn. If it is indeed the truth, why not just publish it and let people sue. The court system here is pretty good isn’t it? What’s the problem?

  10. He said the “most serious of these threats was the very high chance of a vexatious defamation action against Allen & Unwin, and possibly against you personally as well”.

    Allen & Unwin was “an obvious target” for “Beijing’s agents of influence”, Mr Gorman wrote.

    While Australian publishers routinely deal with legal threats or court action from individuals named in books, it is exceptionally rare that a perceived threat from a foreign power prevents or delays publication.

    “I’m not aware of any other instance in Australian history where a foreign power has stopped publication of a book that criticises it,” Dr Hamilton said.

    No doubt CHina is a power that does not like the critic of its system (which power likes it?) but using China as a baba-yaga to legalise/prevent potential libel case… bad for local democracy.

  11. why doesn’t he just punch out the text to PDF/epub, put it on Amazon, stick it on ejunkie, $5, stick up a website hosted in America maybe published by an America (freedom of speech protection ) and le voila.

    Job done.

  12. Stepping back a bit, just as Weinstein found it incredibly difficult to keep his fingers to himself, powerful countries such as China and USA find it difficult to respect the sovereignty of smaller nations.

    Clive Hamilton can be found on his blog here:
    http://clivehamilton.com/

    and on twitter here:
    https://twitter.com/CliveCHamilton

    I look forward to reading his book once it’s either published with a different publisher or released via another format.

    • The US has nothing but contempt for the sovereignty of any nation that doesn’t bend to its political will or isn’t itself powerful in the Washington machine. At least China is just bribing (for now) unlike the US which dismembers and butchers militarily. I for one am very happy their little pet project in Syria has been thoroughly derailed by the Syrians themselves with the help of the Iranians, Hezbollah and Russia.

      Look at the Wahabi scum KSA reaction. They are now trying to move their little war to Lebanon. A small part of me hopes it happens, so these prancing Saudi men get their asses handed to them!

      • Agree I’m rooting for Syria and Palestine against Israel/US who can loot and plunder without ever being in the wrong! Insane!

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