Australia’s anti-China witch hunt goes to extremes

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By Qi Zhi Source: Global Times

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Australian authorities’ McCarthyism-style horrific persecution of Chinese journalists and scholars has escalated. The witch hunt campaign under the excuse of investigating the so-called Chinese infiltration, promoted by Australian security departments, is getting infuriating. In an unprecedented move, the visas of two leading Chinese scholars have been revoked. In June, Australian police illegally raided the residences of four Chinese journalists, whose personal electronic devices were seized, including even children’s tablets and electronic toys. The Australian side has so far not given a reasonable explanation for the raid and has not returned all the seized items to the journalists.

The raid was a horrendous violation of the basic rights and freedom of the press of the Chinese journalists. Australian security departments also blatantly intimidated the journalists and asked them to keep the raid secret. It is unbelievable that such barbaric behavior actually happened in broad daylight in a country that claims to be a free and democratic country. Australia’s so-called freedom of the press and freedom of speech have become a complete joke.

Chinese authorities also questioned two Australian journalists based in China. The two journalists flew back to Australia after “seeking refugee” in the Australian embassy and consulate for days. Chinese authorities did not search their residences or electronic devices. However, Australian media has spared no efforts in discrediting China’s actions, deliberately fabricating a scene in which China suppresses journalists from Western countries. Such double standard is disgusting. To be honest, the bizarre logic of Australian journalists leaves us speechless.

Australia has clearly played the role of a hatchet man for the US. It not only closely follows Washington’s policies, but also carries them out in a more ruthless way. The US State Department has tightened visa rules for Chinese journalists in the US multiple times, which has created a bad influence. Australia has gone even beyond by committing a “white terror” crackdown against Chinese journalists. The Australian administration has also followed Washington’s steps in suppressing Chinese scholars.

The intent of Australian authorities is clear – they want to hype the anti-China sentiment to the largest extent possible so that political figures who hold somewhat neutral views fear voicing their opinion which in turn has led to anti-China Australian public opinion to become one-sided. Meanwhile, Canberra extends its goodwill to Washington and supports the Trump administration’s containment of China, creating the false impression that US allies are united against China.

Australia is a member of the Five-Eye alliance. This anti-China campaign showcases its hooligan nature. Australian authorities are trampling on objectivity, neutrality and pursuing short-term narrow political interests at the cost of China-Australia relations. Australia seems to be certain that China will prioritize stability in bilateral ties and bear all the petty moves by Australia. It will turn out that Australia is making the wrong calculations.

It can be expected that during the run up to the US election in November, more hysterical witch hunts against Chinese nationals will be staged in Australia. It would surprise no one to see the Australian political atmosphere toward China to stoop to new low.

The author is an observer of Australia issues. [email protected]

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