CCP’s Aussie interference hits new lows

Over the weekend, DFAT Secretary Frances Adamson vowed Australia won’t tolerate Beijing’s “wolf warrior” diplomacy or interferences in our internal affairs, warning that our legal system, freedom of speech and democracy are at stake:

“We’ve seen China seeking to assert itself in this region, in the Indo-Pacific and globally, in ways that suits its interests but don’t suit the interests of countries like ­Australia. We want a peaceful, stable, prosperous region … but when influence­ builds into interference, that is something we don’t want to see, our government won’t tolerate and I think most Australians are broadly supportive of that”…

“Wherever the challenges come from, Australia should, Australia must, Australia is, standing up for its interests because if we don’t we are on a very slippery slope.

“The institutions we take for granted — our parliament, our democracy, our legal system, our freedom of speech and association — they really are at stake now. This is not a theoretical threat or concept and we need to make sure our institutions are strong and that we can defend ourselves. And this is where the role of diplomacy comes into play.”

Yesterday, we received a prime example of what Frances Adamson was referring to with Chinese military contractor, China Zhenhua, accused of compiling a database on more than 35,000 Australians:

A Chinese company with links to Beijing’s military and intelligence networks has been amassing a vast database of detailed personal information on thousands of Australians, including prominent and influential figures.

A database of 2.4 million people, including more than 35,000 Australians, has been leaked from the Shenzhen company Zhenhua Data which is believed to be used by China’s intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security.

Zhenhua has the People’s Liberation Army and the Chinese Communist Party among its main clients.

Information collected includes dates of birth, addresses, marital status, along with photographs, political associations, relatives and social media IDs.

It collates Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and even TikTok accounts, as well as news stories, criminal records and corporate misdemeanours.

While much of the information has been “scraped” from open-source material, some profiles have information which appears to have been sourced from confidential bank records, job applications and psychological profiles.

The company is believed to have sourced some of its information from the so-called “dark web”.

One intelligence analyst said the database was “Cambridge Analytica on steroids”, referring to the trove of personal information sourced from Facebook profiles in the lead up to the 2016 US election campaign.

But this data dump goes much further, suggesting a complex global operation using artificial intelligence to trawl publicly available data to create intricate profiles of individuals and organisations, potentially probing for compromise opportunities…

The company’s chief executive Wang Xuefeng, a former IBM employee, has used Chinese social media app WeChat to endorse waging “hybrid warfare” through manipulation of public opinion and “psychological warfare”.

Of the 35,558 Australians on the database, there are state and federal politicians, military officers, diplomats, academics, civil servants, business executives, engineers, journalists, lawyers and accountants.

They range from the current and former prime ministers, to Atlassian billionaires Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, and business figures David Gonski and Jennifer Westacott…

“China is absolutely building out a massive surveillance state both domestically and internationally,” Professor Balding told the ABC.

“They’re using a wide variety of tools — this one is taken primarily from public sources, there is non-public data in here, but it is taken primarily from public sources.

“I think it speaks to the broader threat of what China is doing and how they are surveilling, monitoring and seeking to influence… not just their own citizens, but citizens around the world.”

Where are the China apologists now?

Unconventional Economist
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    • “Where are the China apologists now?”

      …..still glad that none can accuse them of being racist despite their failure to do anything to stop this country from being sold off or unduly influenced by China.

  1. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Australia “node” is in a location somehow associated with an Australian university.

  2. Colin R SamundsettMEMBER

    Could be that they have cracked into ASIS/ASIO/Border Force Data. Could ask the miscreant Timor L’este mob on trial in Australia about that.

  3. Stewie GriffinMEMBER

    The real kicker is at the conclusion of the article:

    Zhenhua Data, established in 2018, is believed to be owned by China Zhenhua Electronics Group which in turn is owned by state-owned China Electronic Information Industry Group (CETC), a military research company which had an association with the University of Technology Sydney until 2019.

    Three cheers for Universities operating in EZFKA !

    • Luca BiasonMEMBER

      “The University of Technology Sydney has now established six joint research centers with China, such as the Quantum Physics and Artificial Intelligence Joint Research Center with Tsinghua University, and the Robotics Joint Research Center at Zhejiang University.”

    • China has been at war with Australia and the west for decades. Economic war, narrative war, and now cyber war. We only think of war as armed conflict. In Communist-Leninist ideology warfare covers a much broader spectrum of activities.

      For them this is warfare. We just don’t realise it. Yet.

      • Very true. We have a very narrow definition of war. The Chinese do not. Hopefully the current war doesn’t turn hot but that will depend on what happens to Taiwan given the current emperor’s aspirations to greatness.

      • Very true. This is classic CCP insurgency approach used during the Civil War, but it goes much older than that. This is very much in accord with Sun-Tzu

      • Can I ask a question. Do they not realise that eventually the other side will work it out, and then you are f’d because no one trusts you?

        I mean, you can lie to some people all the time, or most people some of the time, but not all people all the time. Like, it doesn’t work.

  4. Roger Faligot in his book Chinese Spies (2008,2014,2019) mentions in passing Australia’s intelligence programme with respect to China. He states that Australia recruits amateurs ie persons travelling to China to furnish reports on just about every subject you could think of. He states that this effort is “massive” . Pine Gap is described as the “Jewel in the Crown” with its prime purpose being to eavesdrop on Chinese military Communications. Interesting. …….meanwhile back at the ranch the Australian search for Fu Manchu continues.

  5. “Where are the China apologists now?”

    They are still on the Leong March in Sydney suggesting that there is a moral equivalence with the USA’s own security apparatus.

    Both are a bloody big concern of course, but what sort of numb-nut can’t see the difference?

    Jenny Leong just needs to go down the road and pop in to University of Technology Sydney to chat to the people associated with Chinese military R&D. Those other OZ universities involved with the China state owned companies who designed the surveillance systems used for the social credit scoring tyranny will no doubt need her to protect them from racism, sexism, transphobia and common sense.