Beijing knows an asset when it sees one. From the ultra-nationalist Global Times yesterday:
The Bolt Report on Sky News Australia on the night of September 10 was almost like “a bully’s report,” where ultra-conservative anchor Andrew Bolt intimidated and interrogated Gladys Liu, the first Chinese-born female Federal Liberal MP from Chisholm in Victoria, Southeastern Australia, on her social affiliation and connection with a few Australian-Chinese associations.
Bolt groundlessly insinuated Liu was a foreign agent and a member of Australia’s so-called “Chinese Fifth Column.” Other anti-China sharks, such as the self-proclaimed China expert Clive Hamilton, instantly smelled blood and closed in on the media unsavvy Victorian backbencher, alleging she was disloyal to Australia while serving another country’s political agenda.
The target of this ferocious attack was not Gladys Liu herself, but China. By insinuating Liu was a Chinese agent who had infiltrated Australia’s federal political arena, Cold War combatants have sounded the alarm once again on China as an evil menace to Australia’s political sovereignty and national independence. The actions have provoked a new wave of paranoid hysteria among China-threat conspiracy theories.
This fear and smear campaign against China from Australian media outlets, specialists, and politicians has been underway since 2017, and to the disgust and impatience of fair-minded people in both Australia and China.
They ceaselessly split hairs in search of the slightest traces and nuances of the imaginary “Red Peril.” Linkage with any organization or individual with Chinese connections is misinterpreted as a threat to Australia’s interest and has created a Sinophobia among the public and inside political circles.
This 21st century witch-hunt has the unmistakable aftertaste of McCarthyism, the mythology of the Reds under the bed, which led to Liu’s television lynching. It also terrorizes those who hold more independent and unbiased views on China-related issues. The most recent instance is the Sydney Morning Herald’s attack on John Zhang, a staffer of New South Wales parliament’s assistant president Shaoquett Moselmane, citing his and Moselmane’s friendly relations to China as evidence of the alleged Chinese influence in Australia. Such doormat journalism is of little real value, but they vigorously contribute to the unrelenting crusade against Australia’s comprehensive strategic partner, China.
Bloodthirsty anti-China hawks like Bolt, Hamilton and their ilk allegedly act as defenders of Australia’s national interests, but they achieve precisely the opposite.
…The US has consistently instigated their allies to act as pawns by enlisting more support to gain leverage in its economic war against China. The US also aims to keep its political, technological, and military hegemony not only in the region but also in the world.
Will Canberra fall for the heinous trap and serve as Washington’s legionnaire in the Asia-Pacific, while the Trump administration espouses its America First policy?
It was a decent gesture that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison condemned the defamation of Liu’s political allegiance, calling such finger-pointing as “casting a smear on Chinese Australians.”
All the usual buzz words used to shut down discussion of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are there: “red peril”, “sinophobia”, “McCarthyism”, “fifth column” etc, etc. Nobody in Australia sees this as an issue of race, except Shanghai Scott and his mates in Beijing, seemingly.
Professor John Fitzgerald nicely explains how badly the desperate PM has trashed local ethnic Chinese Australians, at The Lowy:
This country’s diverse Chinese-Australian communities are hurting. From conversations with friends, I gather they feel burdened by an obligation to show loyalty to Australia that others simply take for granted. Some report feeling caught in the crossfire between a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) reaching out to them to advance its interests, and prominent people in Australia putting them down as possible agents of a foreign power. Others resent being bundled together in broad generalisations, overshadowing the many ways they distinguish themselves from one another, and want other Australians to understand that their political, religious, and contemporary cultural identities often align them more closely with other social groups in Australia than with other Chinese Australians – and only rarely with China.
Still, they are thrust together by a demographic accident that links their cultural identity and national loyalty to the “1.2 million Australians of Chinese heritage” listed on the Australian census rolls. And now they learn from an official Prime Minister’s press conference that they are united and collectively smeared through critical questions directed at one of their number, parliamentarian Gladys Liu.
My Chinese-Australian friends thought the critical questioning was about Liu’s dubious fundraising practices and connections with China. No, according to the Prime Minister – it is all about them.
Indeed. Hong Kong lawyer and political commentator, Kevin Yam, chimes in at Crikey:
We must all be careful of xenophobia and witch-hunts, but it’s foolish to dismiss allegations of CCP influence as mere “racism”. To do this — to look to the individuals rather than the systems they inhabit, to not interrogate methods and results — would be to play directly into the United Front playbook.
The lesson from Hong Kong for Australians is simple: be vigilant.
Amen to that. This is about Gladys Liu’s corruption and links to the CCP, not her ethnicity or community. To wit, from Herald Sun today:
Besieged MP Gladys Liu promised on Chinese social media she would write references for foreign students in return for volunteering on her campaign at this year’s federal election.The references, to help the students find jobs which could lead to permanent residency, came along with the offer of internships in her office if she was elected in Chisholm.
The Herald Sun can also reveal:
— The first document showing Chinese Communist Party-linked groups donated to try and elect Ms Liu to state Parliament in 2014.
— Links between one of Ms Liu’s former campaign organisers and groups tied to China’s United Front operation for overseas influence.
— A photograph of Ms Liu’s post-election celebration in Box Hill of a sign championing China’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative.
Not to mention the High Court challenge for election day dodgyness:
The Liberals authorised controversial signs displayed at Kooyong and Chisholm polling booths on election day this year.
They were in the Australian Electoral Commission’s official colours of purple and white, they had no Liberal branding, did not refer to the Liberal candidates or policies, and they were in Chinese.
The translation of the words was: “The right way to vote: On the green ballot paper fill in 1 next to the candidate of Liberal Party and fill in the numbers from smallest to largest in the rest of the boxes”.
The commission has previously said it would not take action because the signs were authorised by the party, and there were no rules around colour schemes.
The story has begun to seep into the global press too, but the BBC could only find those on the pro-CCP payroll to make the case for race:
As with previous debates about foreign influence in Australia, some have questioned whether Ms Liu’s case is down to anti-China hysteria.
“If Ms Liu was a white, blonde haired, blue eyed, Anglo-Celtic woman, rather than an Australian of ethnic Chinese background, would she be facing the treatment that she has had to tolerate in the last week? I doubt it,” a former government minister, Christopher Pyne, wrote in a newspaper opinion piece.
“There is an ugly strain of xenophobic paranoia running through this story.”
Mr Laurenceson said he believes the attacks on Ms Liu’s integrity and loyalty are misplaced.
“To be clear, no evidence has been presented that she tried to alter Australian government policy on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party, much less that she was successful at doing so,” he said.
“Just a month or so ago she voiced her support for the anti-government protesters in Hong Kong. Why aren’t her critics acknowledging that?”
Sam Dastayari isn’t ethnic Chinese and he copped the same from the LNP leading to his resignation. Peter Dutton labeled him a “double agent”.
But he simply took the CCP
bribery donation drugs while Gladys Liu pushes them.
Which kind of “double agent” is worse?