‘China influence’ book proves divisive in Australia debate

‘China influence’ book proves divisive in Australia debate, by Frances Mao.

A controversial new book asserts that the Chinese government is undermining Australia’s sovereignty through a network of local agents.

Silent Invasion: How China is Turning Australia into a Puppet State has fuelled debate – some have welcomed discussion about China’s influence, while others say it could fuel xenophobia.

The book, by Australian academic Clive Hamilton, argues that Beijing’s reach has extended into Australian politics, business, education and religious groups. China has previously dismissed similar allegations as “hysteria”. …

Prof Hamilton asserts that China is a “totalitarian regime bent on dominating Australia”, and likens the relationship to “boy scouts up against Don Corleone” – a reference to The Godfather.

China plans to dominate the world, and has been using Australia and New Zealand as a testing ground for its tactics to assert its ascendancy in the West,” writes Prof Hamilton, a lecturer in public ethics at Charles Sturt University.

He says such a suggestion would have been “fantastic” in the past, but now “so much evidence has accumulated that the conclusion seems irresistible”.

Prof Hamilton argues that Beijing has deliberately targeted its diaspora in Australia to recruit “informers, plants and spies” in business, academic, and other circles. Aspects of society covered by the book include:

  • Politics: Prof Hamilton alleges that Australia’s two major parties are “severely compromised” by links to Chinese benefactors, and those “whose loyalties lie in Beijing”.
  • Community groups: The book asserts that pro-Chinese government advocates have made an “almost complete takeover” of Chinese community groups in Australia …
  • Research: The author alleges that some Chinese-Australian scientists and academics are allowing advanced research to be shared with Chinese universities, either unintentionally through joint projects, or because of duress.

Prof Hamilton told the BBC he had based his assertions on “very credible” sources and numerous materials that were publicly available, which he had referenced in his book. He said they confirmed “what intelligence agencies have been telling government in secret for the last few years”.

Sprung. Now “everyone knows.”