18:35 GMT09 August 2020
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    Australia’s state-owned broadcaster ABC aired a report on Monday claiming the Chinese government is “secretly infiltrating” the country and engaging in “election interference.” But do the allegations ring true? Tom McGregor takes a closer look.

    By Tom McGregor, CNTV commentator and editor, based in Beijing

    Australia’s ABC TV, a state-owned broadcaster, aired a news program on Monday, “Power and Influence” by reporter Nick Mackenzie.

    The program claims the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has pursued “clandestine operations” to support elections meddling in the nation “on an unprecedented scale,” according to a document signed by Duncan Lewis, director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization AIOS).

    Lewis did not identify China as the culprit, but ABC launched a scathing indictment of the CCP anyway. But upon closer examination of the video, one wonders if the Australian broadcaster was producing a fiction spy thriller in a TV documentary format instead.

    Fake news from the beginning

    Every good horror film needs scary music playing in the background and ‘Power and Influence’ did not disappoint.

    The screen flashes random faces at the intro, while speakers discussed the so-called evils of “Red China.” One man, without being identified with subtitles, at the beginning can be heard saying, “election interference on an unprecedented scale.”

    But viewers discover later on the quote was used out of context. The speaker is US Representative Mike McCaul (R.-Tx.) chairman of the Homeland Security and he is not even talking about Australia.

    He is referring to his experiences “as lead prosecutor in a high-profile federal campaign corruption case in the mid-1990s, he won a guilty plea from Johnny Chung, a Taiwan-born businessman, in a case involving nearly $30,000 in illegal contributions to Democrats, including $20,000 to the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign in 1996,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

    Ford Foundation connections

    Another key person interviewed is Professor Fitzgerald, who served as representative for the Ford Foundation in Beijing, 2008-2013.

    He described China’s “clandestine operations” with the sole intent to ”silence dissent” among the 1 million Chinese nationals living in Australia.

    He gave the starkest warnings of alleged nefarious deeds conducted by the CCP, but the Website, Centre for Social Impact, says “In Canberra he served as Chair of the Education Committee of the Australia-China Council of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.”

    He played a vital role to negotiate an Australia-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA), signed on Dec. 20, 2015. His fears of China did not stop him from accepting paychecks to encourage Canberra and Beijing to support the bilateral FTA.

    Leftist infiltration of global media

    The ABC report repeatedly highlighted how the CCP was “secretly infiltrating” Australia’s government, education, business circles and elites nationwide.

    Producers aimed their sights on Chinese-native billionaire property developers — Dr. Chau Chak Wing and Huang Xiangmo — who moved to Australia and have donated tens of millions of US dollars to open charity foundations, boost education programs and to give generously to the nation’s leading political parties — Liberal and Labor.

    But, how do these actions differ than what billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros and his Leftist tycoons have been doing?

    Soros has poured hundreds of millions of US dollars into the NGO (non-government organization), Open Society, to promote social justice causes worldwide, including in Australia.

    Additionally, the Ford Foundation, which receives funds from Open Society, funds the ‘Democracy Now’ organization based in ChinaTown New York.

    The group coordinates with international media outlets to broadcast a daily radio and TV show that spread anti-CCP dissent in 800 channels in the US, Canada, Australia and European countries.

    The director, Amy Goodman, received an annual salary — $US1 million from 2002-2007, according to Jabari Zakiya treaurer of Pacifica, the flagship radio network for Democracy Now.

    Easy solution to end election interference

    If anything, the news report does bring to light a major problem in Australian politics. Candidates running for office are legally permitted to receive donations from non-Australian citizens.

    Foreign donations in a country’s political process can be abused. The Chinese business community, seeking to expand in Australia, saw a loophole and exploited it.

    The Chinese are not the only foreigners to engage in such practices in Australia. But the ‘Red China’ narrative makes for a great “spy thriller” and that’s why ABC made a big splash with it.

    Australia should move forward on legislation to forbid foreign donations to political candidates.

    Australians should not look suspiciously at China, but reflect on its culture, since they have already allowed other foreign-based NGOs, such as Open Society and Ford Foundation, to meddle in their internal affairs that have placed national interests at risk.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    fake news, meddling, election, Australia, China
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