Time to ban WeChat

Via the ABC:

Australia’s media has faced “persistent efforts” by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to influence and censor content, according to a new report from an Australian think tank.

In an analysis of 24 privately-owned Australian media organisations that produced news media in Chinese, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) found four had evidence of CCP ownership or financial support — including the Australia Pacific Media Group which has been previously criticised for being a propaganda arm for the CCP through its publication Pacific Time.

Other outlets — including the ABC — were found to be influenced by Party campaigns to restrict information that does not align with Beijing, through decisions about content posted on the social media platform WeChat.

“CCP-aligned media in Australia have been involved in a range of concerning activity, including suspected political interference,” it said.

Nevertheless, ASPI said the ABC and SBS were among the most reliable sources of Chinese-language news media in Australia.

“A handful of outlets, such as the ABC and SBS, generally offer high-quality coverage of a range of issues”, it said, recommending that the Federal Government provide greater funding to the public broadcasters’ Chinese-language news services.

Changing Chinese-language media landscape

Changing demographics among Australia’s Chinese diaspora in recent decades has seen significant shifts in the Chinese language media.

gy Sydney, growth in the population of mainland Chinese people in Australia has meant that Chinese language media is “no longer dominated by media establishments catering to earlier Cantonese-speaking generations”.

“What has emerged instead is a vibrant media sector catering mainly to a Mandarin-speaking migrant community from the People’s Republic of China,” she wrote in 2016.

The current media landscape has also been shaped by the rise of social media.

“Persistent efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to engage with and influence Chinese-language media in Australia far outmatch the Australian Government’s work in the same space,” the ASPI report’s author Alex Joske said.

WeChat has approximately 3 million users in Australia, and according to ASPI may be behind “the most substantial and harmful changes ever observed” in Australian Chinese-language media.

The social media giant, owned by parent company Tencent, heavily censors content mainly for users registered in China, while international accounts do not share the same restrictions.

Media organisations can set up “Official Accounts” internationally, which allow them to post content publicly to their followers.

But WeChat’s international version only allowed outlets four posts a month, a restriction which the report found pushed Australian media organisations to register in China.

The app also recently blocked one of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s posts, while there have been concerns that other politicians using the app have been forced to self-censor their comments.

Australia should curtail CCP influence over media, report says

The ASPI report urged the Australian Government to hold WeChat to the same oversight as other social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, to ensure that it meets the same standards and rules.

Other examples of CCP influence identified by ASPI included Australian Chinese-language media executives attending forums and training sessions backed by Beijing, and the organisation’s owners having ties to Chinese businesses.

This led some media groups to completely avoid publishing news critical of the Chinese Government, disinformation or a tendency for bilingual media organisations to omit certain information in their Chinese translations.

ASPI said Government policy must be tightened to prevent foreign influence on Australia’s media.

“[Australian regulations] haven’t introduced sufficient transparency to the Chinese-language media sector and influence from the CCP,” its report said.

ASPI, established by the Federal Government in 2001, is partially funded by the Department of Defence and lists a number of defence companies among its sponsors.

The independent think tank has also received funding from overseas governments, including the US State Department, for specific projects as listed on its website.

This is ridiculous. Ban WeChat. Stop Chinese immigration.

David Llewellyn-Smith
Latest posts by David Llewellyn-Smith (see all)

Comments

  1. reusachtigeMEMBER

    This aint gonna happen. All the girls in the lounges use wechat. So many locals also hooked up to it too. Too much power and money involved. This will trump national security, easily.

  2. Shut it down! and might as well take down twitter while we are at it.
    Instagram/facebook is a joke as well

  3. Stewie GriffinMEMBER

    This is ridiculous. Ban WeChat. Stop Chinese immigration.

    This almost sounds as though Culture (ideas/values) matters….

    • The90kwbeastMEMBER

      They do matter.

      If Wechat was to be banned here though, the CCP would have a valid point though about the legitimacy of our freedom of speech notions. This is the issue we have with our multicultural everything to everyone society our billionaire class has created. Who is to judge what is unacceptable anymore and what needs to be banned?

      • there is no freedom of speech in wechat, banning it does nothing to compromise our position regarding FOS.

      • “the CCP would have a valid point though about the legitimacy of our freedom of speech notions.”

        Sorry but I couldn’t agree less if i tried, banning WeChat says nothing about FOS and everything about limiting a foreign gov of having the ability to control messaging of its nationals here. There are plenty of platforms for people to voice their opinions.

        “This is the issue we have with our multicultural everything to everyone society our billionaire class has created. Who is to judge what is unacceptable anymore and what needs to be banned?”

        And I don’t agree with this either as we managed to achieve that with massive immigration from the 50s to the 70s and please don’t play the “they were from the west” because we didn’t treat them any better than we have immigrants from the M.E. and Asia. Yeah, I know the “western culture” bit, but we didn’t consider them to be us, just as the Irish were considered to be cockroaches up to the early 1900s.

        • The90kwbeastMEMBER

          Obviously I think it should be banned also but I’m just pointing out the easy counterattacks with semi valid points the CCP would throw back at Australia.

          And immigration from every other country in the 50s-80s were primarily democracies, and yes as you note western countries. The massive and unnecessary influx of Chinese came from a now dictatorship with sometimes very different values to a western democracy. There is a big difference. Likening the cultural values of immigrants today from China and their ability to assimilate to the immigrants from Europe in the 60s and 70s is a disingenuous comparison and you know it…

      • Who is to judge what is unacceptable anymore and what needs to be banned?

        D, L and S!

        D, L and S for President in the Australai (PitA)!!!

  4. So WeChat claims 3 million Aussie users? And yet there are only about 600,000 Chinese born Aussies, even if you add all other Aussies of Chinese descent you’d struggle to get half the WeChat number & assuming most pre teens & many of the older Chinese don’t use it the number seems very high.

    • In 2016 there was 1,214,000 self declared Chinese Australians. There’d be hundreds of thousands more now. Plus the literal millions of “ temporary “ residents who forgot to ever leave , hundreds of thousands of students, illegal residents etc etc . Not to mention that many immigrants and visa holders from other nations ( Malaysia , Singapore , New Zealand etc ) speak Chinese and are Chinese in all but name.

        • In our Anglo family all three of us have it. I used to live in China so mum and dad got it to communicate with me over there. I’m not using it too much these days but that’s how I communicate with people in China. It’s illegal to use a vpn in China so it’s kinda necessary if you want to communicate with China

        • “3m still sounds really, really high”

          Search outside Guggle and MB pond may provide info that EeVhat has a steady worldwide grow.
          People are sick of ads galore with every other messenger and antisocial networking

    • Plenty would use it for business to reach their customers/suppliers in China.
      Then also we have pollies – Just take slomo’s attempted post for example

  5. The way China works is pretty simple; if you’re Chinese ethnicity, you’re a Chinese citizen, regardless of where you are, and if you’re not ethnically Chinese but live in a Chinese society, you’re a subject. Note the difference. So I live in Singapore now and am a subject… even if I get the piece of paper (which I won’t go for anyway)…

    Based on this line of thinking, the CCP is perfectly entitled in their minds, to use the Chinese diaspora in Australia as a fifth column and to interfere in Australia because as they see it, we’ve relinquished part of our sovereignty having them here…

    They view sovereignty on race, not territory, hence they’re quite happy to interfere in other counties affairs.

      • Absolutely.

        It’s actually quite interesting, because it’s the cornerstone of the confusion that occurred in Hong Kong when the British arrived. The Chinese thought they were merely letting the British set up an operation there, they didn’t realise the British would see it as a transfer of sovereignty; hence the start of hostilities that led to the Opium Wars and present day Hong Kong.

        People don’t study history and then wonder WTF is going ok today…

    • …funny how NGO, think tanks, institutes etc are, well, modern democratic means to peddle influence (or dispense coloured revolutions) but identical means when applied to self entitled “leaders of the free world” it is a “fifth column”
      I really wonder how come???

      • I don’t get what you are saying. Organisations like Greenpeace, Amnesty International etc have at times been vocal opponents of Australian government policy (think about the carbon policy or the policy towards illegal immigrants being shipped to Christmas Island)… so these organisations are very active.

        And tbh, I really couldn’t care. I am an Australian (NZ) nationalist. I don’t want to see our society undermined by the communists in China and their authoritarian form of government. I will fight that…and them, until my dying breath… and I will do everything in my power to limit theirs.

    • You still banging on about “official hearings” (actually public information session at the Hyatt hotel) and crickets from MSM (actually reported but un-newsworthy so no longevity)? Have you not got something better to do? As Romulus says, so 2016. Biden is your man for 2020 and beyond. Enjoy the ride.

    • interesting observation.

      I never got any comment banned or message deleted or warning.
      On FlatulenceBook i regularly get peddled narrative, unsolicited debunking of other people opinions and warning that the video I recorded in public contains copyright material because background music iwjixh is outside my control s more important than my filmed event.
      And then also everything Trump and Vax

  6. Banning WeChat is only fair, given that China long ago banned google, facebook, whatsapp and pretty much every other western messaging, search and social networking app, all to prop up Baidu and Tencent.

    • damn, you had me until the last part of the sentence which not even D, L and S would say in the pinnacle of the frothing at mouth wrt anything China.

      It never crossed your mind that WeChat is 10fold superior and absolutely not intrusive (no ads popping up and interfering with anything), particularly in comparison to Western messengers???
      (ih irony, large chunk of them is Semitic which is not Western)

      Ban them all, my take, otherwise let the competition rip the meak

  7. oh, irony, fight censorship with censorship!

    I wish to see how is someone to ban me from using the least intrusive messenger/social networking in the market (and I dont care if cheenks know what I know, it is blubber anyway)
    In comparison to goggle it is as innocent as a baby.

    If one sentence clickbait articles at least made some traffic… but can it, if every 5th article is not clickbait.