The re-education of Mack Horton

The “evil” Murdoch press carried a must-read story for every Australian on the weekend about the CCP’s attempted re-education of Australian Olympic gold medalist, Mack Horton:

On a mild October day last year Cheryl Horton was cleaning the backyard pool at the family home – a chore she rigorously avoids until it can be ignored no longer – when the vacuum head made a curious grinding sound. She raised the appliance, felt beneath it, and winced with pain. Blood coursed down her hand, dripping into the pale water. She called to her husband, Andrew, and together they discovered a “bucketload” of broken glass on the floor of the pool. She holds one of these centimetre-thick glass chunks, ­glinting like a rough-cut diamond, as she speaks. “We keep it on the desk in the study,” she says, “as a reminder of how bad things got.”

The couple knew immediately where the ­broken glass had come from, and why it was there. Just three months earlier their son, ­Olympic 400m freestyle gold medallist Mack Horton, had refused to join Chinese swimmer Sun Yang, a three-time Olympic gold medallist and 11-time world champion, on the medal podium at the World Championships in the South Korean city of Gwangju. Horton had just won silver in the 400m freestyle; Sun Yang gold. Mack Horton’s mute ­protest – standing up for clean sport by refusing to stand beside Sun – unleashed a wave of hostility more disturbing than anything the family had ever experienced. And since their son famously labelled Sun a drug cheat at the 2016 Rio Olympics, they’ve experienced a lot. “We’ve had so many death threats that we’ve stopped taking them seriously,” says Andrew with a grim chuckle.

…Mack’s remark in Rio, a reference to a three-month suspension his Chinese rival had served in 2014 for taking a banned stimulant, detonated across all forms of media – print, television and internet – with the force of a depth charge. Within 45 minutes, some 680,000 slurs, insults and death threats had assailed Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the Chinese social media ­platform Weibo. His Wikipedia entry was later trolled. Mack was dog shit, a racist, destined for the Paralympics, and perhaps a nuclear bomb strike. He must apologise. Or else.

A week later, with Mack and his parents still in Rio, there was a break-in at the family home in the blue-chip Melbourne suburb of Glen Iris. Andrew’s business – he runs an educational ­technology company – also began to experience relentless cyber attacks that could only be mitigated, he says, by denying access from China.

After Mack’s theatrical and somewhat passive-aggressive follow-up protest in South Korea last year, “the hate”, as the family calls it, rose to another level of intensity. Dog turds were hurled at the family home; their trees and plants were poisoned. A passing parade of youths gathered at the back fence to chant slogans while banging pots and pans in the dead of night, or stood in the driveway hurling abuse. Someone who spoke broken English took to phoning Andrew every second day to detail what he would like to do to his daughter (he has no daughter). And there was the broken glass in the family pool.

“The biggest change was the intensity,” says Andrew. “It was unrelenting. Every day and night in the second half of 2019, peaking in September, easing off in February this year.” It relented in the same month that Sun received an eight-year ­suspension for destroying a blood ­sample in an out-of-competition doping test.

Horton, who has regular and ongoing ­security briefings about threats to his family, has been informed that his assailants call themselves ­“Confucianists”. The 5th century BC ­Chinese ­philosopher has been revived in recent years as a national icon by a Chinese Communist Party seeking ethical moorings outside its founding credo of Maoism, and his name has become a codeword for Chinese nationalism. Sun himself seemed to invite a nationalist interpretation of Horton’s comments in Rio, saying: “Disrespecting me was OK, but ­disrespecting China was unfortunate.”

…The family’s challenges are part of a broader pattern of harassment and intimidation of the Chinese Communist Party’s critics and dissenters. Says a national security analyst who keeps a close eye on the case, and spoke on condition of ­anonymity: “The Hortons’ story is very disturbing… It says something about the reach of foreign ­powers within Australia.” Clive Hamilton, professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University, tells me: “Australians should know that China’s secretive Ministry of State Security has been carrying out a campaign of intimidation in this country against critics of the regime. It’s illegal and nasty.” Hamilton, co-author of the upcoming Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World, says ASIO is trying to monitor activities of this kind. “I hope we see some arrests and prosecutions soon. When that happens, we can expect the usual hysterical ­denials and calculated outrage from the Chinese embassy, state newspapers and the Party-affiliated Chinese-language media in Australia.”

It’s understood that no arrests have been made in the Horton case, which has been kept from the public gaze. The Hortons report a “constantly revolving cast of characters” at their fence and in their driveway. If any were apprehended by police they would be questioned, cautioned, released, and another would take their place. “This is not an amateur operation,” remarks a security insider.

Politically motivated attacks on non-Chinese Australians are rare, but not unknown. In July last year a University of Queensland student, Drew Pavlou, a vocal critic of the university’s ties with Chinese organisations, says he was assaulted while leading a pro-Hong Kong rally on campus. “In the aftermath I saw my social media flooded by ­hundreds of abusive ­messages from supporters of the Chinese government,” says Pavlou, who is Greek-Australian. “There were dozens of threats in Mandarin and English. They threatened to kill me and my family, to rape my mother. It’s a terror ­tactic to silence critics of the Chinese government.’’ Another position on the spectrum of debate about Chinese influence in Western society is occupied by John Keane, professor of politics at the University of Sydney, who warns about the “prejudice known as Orientalism” and points to “the treatment of Sun Yang by Australian xenophobes”.

…Things have changed dramatically for the ­Hortons since Sun Yang was given the ­eight-year ban. The “hate” has lost much of its heat. Sun, ­disgraced, has been derided online by many of his former fans; Mack, once widely vilified, has been publicly vindicated. Andrew, who claims to have much sympathy for Sun and his parents, shares, at the very least, something of their pain as families dedicated to their athletically elite offspring.

Let me add one more anecdote. This is how Mack Horton’s alma mater treated him:

Caulfield Grammar will keep the name of its golden graduate Mack Horton off its newly-opened, $25 million aquatic centre to preserve the school’s commercial interests in China.

A plan to name the state-of-the-art centre after Horton, the school’s first Olympic champion, was quietly ditched late last year in response to the public fall-out from Horton’s refusal to share a medals dais at the FINA World Championships with Sun Yang, one of China’s most-celebrated athletes.

Sources familiar with the matter say that prior to Horton’s decision to snub Sun Yang on the podium, the school intended to name the pool in his honour…

…Caulfield Grammar was the first Australian school to open a campus in mainland Chin

At the school’s secondary campus in Wheelers Hill, a suburb in Melbourne’s east where one in six residents were Chinese at the time of the most recent census, Chinese children make up a large percentage of the student body.

That is, they decided to be “diplomatic” and to embrace the 14 conditions recently laid out by the CCP as a precursor for any form of economic engagement. The conditions were not official then but implicit. Now it’s in the open thanks to Australia’s defence of its sovereignty flushing the CCP out:

The treatment of the Horton family could not be any more eloquent expression of the peril in which Australia finds itself. Systematically attacked in violation of Australian sovereignty and sold out by China-bribed elites.

This is what the ABC, The Guardian, The Conversation and the Australian Labor Party are campaigning for under the misnomer of their celebrated “diplomacy”. Little more than selling the freedom of Australian children to the CCP.

Instead, the question we all need to ask ourselves is what does this tell us about an Australia that meets the 14 conditions and continues down its old path.

Thirty years hence, the re-education of non-CCP compliant Australians may be undertaken in mandatory remote camps, just as it is in every other CCP-dominated, formerly free nations.

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


  1. Pity they couldn’t have captured one of those assaulting the family home. Then we could follow the trail back to whatever rathole they crawled out of.

    Also that ABC guy arrested for dealing drugs, it would be interesting to know where his supply was coming from.

  2. That family harrassment had all the hallmark of an operation co-ordinated by CCP operatives. How is it possible that all of them were just cautioned and not targeted as agents of influence from the Chinese government. Each and everyone of them should have been deported.

  3. That DLP idea should be put on the agenda asap.

    Can you imagine the treatment if an invasion proper took place. But Stan Grant’s mob would be respectfully treated albeit in a minorities camp

  4. my toranaMEMBER

    Murdoch press could be the true left’s useful idiots! Given that I’m not ready to see them as not evil, yet.

  5. This is Australia. They should be arrested and locked in prison. Diplomacy shouldnt have anything to do with it.

    Dont like our rules then get out of Australia.

  6. Ronin8317MEMBER

    The CCP didn’t have to plan the attack : the Chinese social media turned completely rabid. At its root of the anger is that pretty much every Chinese believes Sun Yang’s is a cheat, but they are too ashame to admit it.

    It only got better after the Australian swimmer Shayna Jack was caught out cheating as well, showing Horton as a hypocrite.

  7. As DLS already knows, and suggest in this article – it’s too late to take successful evasive action. Someone show me more than a handful with the political spine to refuse the millions upon millions offered up as personal gain to be made by being compliant. The game’s already lost. “If you can’t beat them, join them” is the political and financial policy of most. And those 30 years he writes of will pass in the blink of an eye.

  8. reusachtigeMEMBER

    I just wish I had something the Chinamen wanted to pay me off for so that I could profit from them!

  9. working class hamMEMBER

    What would have happened if a neighbour or the father caught one of the criminals in the act of vandalising the property?
    If the police don’t respond, seemingly helpless people react, often violently, to threats on their homes.

    Mack has character. To stand by your beliefs, even with the threat of danger.

  10. Stewie GriffinMEMBER

    MultiCult – makes us stronger and more united.

    We should just accept these new Chinese EZFKA consumer units we have imported have cultural points of view different to our own.

    This is who we are now.

  11. Arthur Schopenhauer

    This. It happened once to indigenous Australians, not acknowledging that has already happened, makes us very susceptible a repeat.

  12. Former Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority CEO Richard Ings called for a hefty penalty.

    “I am no fan of Sun Yang. But he has served his suspension for a doping violation and he has been cleared by a FINA panel of refusing to provide a sample. Innocent unless and until proven guilty,” Ings tweeted. “Not standing on the podium with him should attract a hefty penalty.”

    “Win, lose or draw you’ve got to be gracious and to not share the podium with someone who has just beaten you is a really big call,” Channel 9 sports presenter Tony Jones

    Some things are fight for a cause, some are just a sore loser stuff.

    DLS for President!

  13. Huh ? As much as I am prone to view the CCP as anything but well intentioned in their dealings with Australia, they’ve yet to start making any noises or actions which would imply that genocide is in their MO. Let’s just contemplate what’s in front of us without exacerbating the situation with histrionics.

  14. Investigations into the origin of covid have begun. China is supplying the data to be analysed. By attacking Australia, they have gotten what they wanted. Beyond belief.

    The entire West should divorce China, make dual citizens choose a passport, or get out. Every Australian voter should leave the Greens and Labor last, and demand complete reform of the ABC. Begin investigating every current and past politician, local, state and federal.

    We owe our kids this. We have royally wrecked their futures and can only try to retrieve what’s left.

    We keep learning disturbing details about China, corruption, FTAs, politicians and elites, what’s been sold off. Imagine what we don’t know.

  15. Absolutely best comment this year.

    We have one advantage. Incumbency. We are here, we own it. Chinese are far smarter, far harder working, far more organised, disciplined, and determined. They are to be revered and feared, and intimately knowing them, I will not hear otherwise.

    Our kids don’t stand a chance.

    Our politicians, elites, and the entire leftard movement (MSM, Labor, Greens, ABC, unions) are working hard to give it all away.

    If we don’t stop them we’re utterly fked, and frankly deserve it.

  16. Heard unions are calling for Albanese to be rolled?

    This is a step in the right direction for Australia.

  17. What’s a bit scary for Australia is how brazen China has recently been with the 14 demand etc. They don’t seem to care that they have shown electorate’s of Australia, and the world their hand.

    They will have a plan B, no doubt.

    The politicians that gave them a sense of entitlement to Australia must be made accountable, stand trial, punished and lose their wealth.

  18. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    “It’s understood that no arrests have been made in the Horton case, which has been kept from the public gaze.”

    Who gets to decide what gets “kept from the public gaze”?
    If this was a POC (Person of colour) getting threatened and harassed by an organised group of “whites” it’d be run as the main headline story on the ABC, SBS and the Guardian every day, for weeks!

    • Code ErrorMEMBER

      The ‘‘Kept from Public Gaze’ guidelines are quite clear.


      The Delegate of the Public Gaze shall approve for the Public Gaze

      (a) Men aged 40 and over
      (b) Men aged under 40

      (c) The Delegate shall note in the exercise of 16.1 (a) or (b) that regulations forbid the Public Gaze being in any way appropriate for any individual other than a Caucasian male.

    • Stewie GriffinMEMBER

      What?!? MSM deliberately shaping the mainstream narrative to support their own person opinions and biases!

      Well I never!

  19. I didn’t think my earlier post to be completely outrageous
    Traditionally there have been huge differences between the solution spaces discovered by Western empires and those of Eastern empires.
    Eastern empires have always found far more pragmatic and long lasting solutions to their problems.
    This is what makes reeducation such a laughable solution because it solves nothing especially when education wasn’t the problem to begin with.

    • I’m pretty sure re-education isn’t re education, if you get my meaning.
      Quite a lot of reeducation happening in europe in the early 40’s

  20. “Within 45 minutes, some 680,000 slurs, insults and death threats had assailed Facebook, Instagram, Twitter”
    I don’t recall Facebook, Instagram and Twitter being instantly deplatformed for inciting violence, do you?

    • Great point. They are “platforms” when they want to be and “publishers” when they want to be. I think they are dangerous. No care and definitely no responsibility.

  21. Appalling…

    Melbourne police are quite happy to chase a mentally impaired man having a psychotic episode, to run him over, to tackle him and stomp on his head, and yet with these people, zip. But then the mentally ill guy was white and it’s not racist…

  22. This is the sort of thing that makes me begin the search for a group to join.
    If our leaders are going to fail in their duty, we have no other choice but to take matters into our own hands.