The dining zone of the Sydney Opera House Photo: Xinhua
Under the frenzied anti-China atmosphere in Australia, expatriates from the Chinese mainland have become targets of Australian media and intelligent agencies and have suffered from repeated defamation, discrimination and accusation. Recently, an average businessman from the mainland working in Australia was accused of being a spy engaged in interference activities based on groundless speculations and distorted facts.
Analysts pointed out that the case is a warning that any expatriate from the Chinese mainland is likely at risk in Australia, especially those who hope to keep a good relationship with China and joined activities organized by Chinese consulates. Such people could be targeted by the Australian government and intelligence agency with malicious accusations, analysts warned.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Friday reiterated accusations against Liu Huifeng, a businessman and president of the Australian Emergency Assistance Association (AEAAI), a non-governmental voluntary association that provides safety assistance and protection to local Chinese in Australia, “had engaged, and was at risk of engaging, in activities which constituted ‘acts of foreign interference’.”
ABC also reported that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) claimed the AEAAI is an official consular protection assistance agency of China’s Melbourne Consulate.
Oddly, the ABC had lambasted Liu’s case as early as January this year. On January 4, the ABC and the Sydney Morning Herald published stories regarding Liu’s visa refusal in September 2020.
China’s Consulate-General in Melbourne refuted the media reports on January 4.
The Australian media have made distorted reports on the regular cooperation between the consulate and non-government volunteer organizations, claiming that the consulate provided financial support to some organizations, and hinting that the consulate interfered in Australian internal affairs. “Such reports are seriously inconsistent with the facts,” said the Chinese consulate general.
In recent years, with the increasing number of Chinese nationals visiting Australia, the cases of missing, telephone scams, injured and death also increased, as well as rising racial attacks since COVID-19 outbreak in the country. The consulate, according to international practice and Australian laws and regulations, carried out cooperation with local volunteer organizations registered in accordance with the law, to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals, the consulate general noted.
“We did not, do not and will not interfere in the internal affairs of any country, nor do we accept any groundless accusations against China,” it said.
The Chinese consulate general urged the Australian media to respect the truth and stop deliberately smearing the consulate general and the Chinese government.
Liu said on AEAAI’s WeChat account on January 8 that the stories, which implied that his visa refusal was caused by Australia and China tensions and that Liu and the association behaved as pawns of the Chinese Consulate General in Melbourne, are not true. Liu said he and the association never had any links with political parties, nor did they receive any funds or financial support from the consulate.
According to Liu’s statement, his lawyers have sent a complaint note to the ABC legal department and other media outlets regarding the way the news was portrayed, saying the comments reported in the stories were not verified by him. ABC has rectified some issues with an editor’s note but other imputations are still under negotiation, Liu noted.
Liu said he donated 20,000 Australian dollars through public channels to attend a public dinner event organized by officials of the Australian government and attended another public event organized by the Governor of New South Wales, with a cost of 1,125 Australian dollars per seat.
The donation allowed him to obtain a seat at events to promote his products, Liu said.
He was extremely shocked to see the story from ABC news indicating these were from foreign political power intending to influence Australian political party.
Analysts warned that, as Australia’s crazy anti-china policy escalated in recent years, Chinese expatriates from the mainland have become targets of the Australian media and intelligent agencies.
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