Domainfax has the scoop:
Chongyi Feng, an Associate Professor in Chinese Studies at the University of Technology Sydney, was detained and questioned by Chinese officials during a visit to China in March last year about his links to liberal intellectuals in mainland China and contacts in Australia.
Fairfax Media can reveal that during the interrogation, Chinese state security officials demanded information about adviser John Garnaut, who at the time was working on an ASIO inquiry commissioned by Mr Turnbull.
…According to a source who was unable to speak publicly, Dr Feng was asked dozens of questions about Mr Garnaut during the interrogation. His email account and mobile phone were searched for Mr Garnaut’s name as well as the word “DFAT,” an acronym for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
…In response to the story on Monday about Mr Carr enlisting Labor senators to ask questions about Mr Garnaut, Labor MP Michael Danby hit out at the former minister, saying his “false-flag intervention gives chutzpah a new meaning”.
“Bob Carr is a pro-Beijing extremist paid by the pro-Beijing think tank, Australia China Relations Institute (ACRI).
ACRI was largely funded by the Huang Xiangmo. ACRI is now financed by Australian and Chinese businesses arm-twisted into backing the Beijing line by financing Carr’s discredited outfit.”
Yet at The Australian, an oblvious Beijing Bob carries on attacking Australian diplomacy:
Commentator Rory Medcalf called the Quad “a symbol that the best hope of moderating a strong China’s behaviour involves others showing solidarity with each other”.
But six months on, the Quad has failed what was always going to be its acid test: harmonising policy towards China…I’ve previously said the Quad may be a warning to China about the cost of assertiveness in maritime disputes. But if Southeast Asians are indifferent, and if Japan and India are reinvigorating their China links, then the Quad looks little more than a gesture. I’m not pretending this is the happiest outcome for Australia. The Quad was never going to be an Asian NATO, but right now it lacks even the value of the modest hedge that I thought might have been within reach.
And card-carrying China uber-bull James Laurenceson is in the regional showering Australia with poo:
James Laurenceson, deputy director of the Australia-China Relations Institute, told This Week in Asia that the rhetoric of some Australian officials was causing unnecessary friction with China.
“These foreign interference laws could have been introduced very simply, very calmly, very plainly without pushback if they had simply been reduced and not singled China out in the rhetoric when they were being introduced,” he said. “The idea that only China is seeking influence in Australia is plainly ridiculous. American influence in this country is, and has been for a very long time, many orders of magnitude greater than Chinese influence.”
Riiiight, Australian democracy didn’t react like a kowtowing think tank so it’s to blame for Chinese bribes in the Parliament. Good one.
The Quad has always been a loose beast and probably always will be. That’s neither here nor there. And, to be clear, I have no objection to Bob Carr fiercely debating Aussie diplomacy. That’s good too.
The problem remains that he is doing it from a discredited pulpit. It doesn’t matter that ACRI is no longer directly Chinese funded. As an inherently positive Chinese institute, it’s only role is propaganda. Resign, Bob, and we can then take you seriously.
Worse, if Beijing Bob stays the course then it plays into all of those fears outlined yesterday about Labor not being up to the job of governing Australian sovereignty vis the encroachments of a Chinese dictatorship.
He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.