Status of Chinese People

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    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Cyber attacks from China hit Australia Media Company on “sensitive” news

Posted by Author on April 14, 2010

By Ben Grubb, on April 13th, 2010 –

News Limited has had numerous distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks aimed at its infrastructure in Australia and around the globe, according to its Australian IT security manager, Bob Hinch.

Hinch, who is one of four working on IT security in Australia for News Limited was at a media briefing held by security company Websense in Sydney today, where he revealed the media giant had been hit by numerous DDoS attacks. The attacks often came together with emailed extortion notices demanding the retraction of articles, which he said he mostly referred to the police.

But the police had no power to do anything about it, he said, and often the problem had been referred to the Australian High Tech Crime Centre.

“It’s very difficult to get the police to pay attention to some of these issues and the threats we get,” Hinch said.

Many of the attacks originated “especially” from the Chinese Government, according to Hinch, and they occurred when something written by one of News Limited’s journalists “hit a raw nerve” and wasn’t in favour of the attacker’s view. “It depends on the story you’re running,” he said.

Hinch told that the attacks were growing “more and more political” and they weren’t stopping.

Asked if the media giant had ever bowed down to pressure and retracted an article, Hinch said that only in the case of death threats to its journalists did things start to become serious. “The police get very interested then,” he said.

Although Hinch would not give an example of a news article or site which had been targeted in this manner, he did say that News Limited’s business listing website had been hit recently. He wouldn’t go into detail about where that attack originated from.

Hinch said part of the problem he saw was that there was not a lot of case law to litigate against the attacks.

Posted in Australia, China, cyber attack, Freedom of Speech, hacking, Human Rights, Internet, Law, Media, News, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, website, World | Comments Off on Cyber attacks from China hit Australia Media Company on “sensitive” news

Another company withdraws, validating Go Daddy’s move out of China

Posted by Author on April 5, 2010

By Cecilia Kang,Via The Washington Post, April 5, 2010 –

An Australian domain name registrar said last week it would stop taking new accounts in China. And the Web site of Foreign Correspondents Club of China recently experienced two days over continued cyber attacks.

Those events were among the scattered episodes in recent weeks that reaffirms Go Daddy’s decision to stop business in China, said executive vice president Christine Jones. Go Daddy and Network Solutions are domain name registrars that have stopped new business in China following that government’s push for tighter controls over online content. Last week, Net Registry, an Australian domain name hosting company said it would also stop taking new accounts but would continue hosting existing .CN Web sites.

“Each time see story like that, it’s confirmation that we did the right thing,” Jones said in a telephone interview over the weekend.

She said the episodic attacks or firewalls such as that Google experienced last week on its Hong Kong site, indicates Go Daddy, Network Solutions and Google could be in for a long standoff with the Chinese government over Internet censorship.

“Meanwhile we will hurry up and wait. Whether it takes months or years, no final resolution will be reached until there is action via Congress or the U.S. Trade Representative and big business together,” Jones said. She said the issue of online censorship in China and other nations needs to be part of a bigger dialogue on trade relations between the U.S. and other nations.

Those companies have been the few to alter course in China. And while business in China represents about 1 percent of revenue for Go Daddy and Google, the country of 400 million Web users is seen as an important market to growth their businesses.

Separately, last week, the Foreign Correspondents Club of China shut down its Web site last Friday after continued denial of service attacks. In an email to its members that it was unclear if the denial-of-service attacks on their Web site last week were from the Chinese government. But the attacks stemmed from within the U.S. and China. The event came days after foreign journalists said they discovered their Yahoo email addressed had been breached. They said it was unclear who had hacked into their accounts and that Yahoo hadn’t explained the circumstances around the episode.

“We do not know who is behind these attacks or what their motivation is,” the organization said in the letter about the recent Web site attack.

Washington Post

Posted in Australia, Business, censorship, China, Company, cyber attack, Google, Human Rights, Internet, News, Politics, Technology, website, World | 1 Comment »

China Oil Spill Threatens Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Posted by Author on April 5, 2010

VOA News, Apr. 5, 2010-

Australian officials warn that the Great Barrier Reef is in grave danger of being further contaminated by oil after a Chinese ship ran aground off Queensland.  The vessel is stuck on a sandbar and has already leaked at least two tons of dark sludge into the water.

A frantic clean-up operation is under way where the Chinese-registered coal ship, Shen Neng 1, is aground in an area where commercial shipping is restricted to protect the world’s largest coral reef.

About two tons of oil has seeped into the water so far from the damaged vessel, creating a slick up to three kilometers long.

Aircraft have sprayed chemicals in an attempt to disperse the contamination.

There are concerns that the ship, which ran aground Saturday, may break up and spill 950 tons of oil into the sea.

Salvage experts are on board to try to prevent that from happening.

The Queensland state premier, Anna Bligh, says the emergency team will help to minimize the environmental damage……. (more details from VOA News)

Posted in Asia, Australia, China, Environment, News, pollution, water, World | 3 Comments »

Shen Yun Show Schedule in April 2010 (Asia, Europe, USA, Canada, New Zealand)

Posted by Author on April 4, 2010

From Shen Yun Performing Arts’ Website

Tainan, Taiwan
Apr 1 – 4
Aarhus, Denmark
Apr 2 – 3
Regina, SK, Canada
Apr 3
Edmonton, AB, Canada
Apr 5
Stockholm, Sweden
Apr 5 – 6
Changhua County, Taiwan
Apr 6 – 8
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Apr 7 – 8
Linköping, Sweden
Apr 8
Kaohsiung County, Taiwan
Apr 10 – 13
Oslo, Norway
Apr 10 – 11
Chicago, IL, United States
Apr 10 – 11
Minneapolis, MN, United States
Apr 14
Dresden, Germany
Apr 14 – 15
Taichung, Taiwan
Apr 16 – 18
Vienna/Wien, Austria
Apr 17
Denver, CO, United States
Apr 17 – 18
Brno, Czech Republic
Apr 19 – 21
Omaha, NE, United States
Apr 20
Yunlin County, Taiwan
Apr 21 – 23
Milwaukee, WI, United States
Apr 23 – 24
Paris, France
Apr 24 – 25
Taipei County, Taiwan
Apr 25 – 27
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Apr 27 – 28
Auckland, New Zealand
Apr 30 – May 2
Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium
Apr 30 – May 11
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Above: video of Shen Yun Performing Arts’ show in Europe in 2009. Video length: 11’21”

(video) Shen Yun in North America 2009 (1)-  USA: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience
– (video) Shen Yun in North America 2009 (2) – Canada: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience
– (video)  Shen Yun in Asia 2009 (1)- Korea, Japan: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience
– (video)  Shen Yun in Asia 2009 (2)- Taiwan: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience

Posted in Asia, Canada, Chinese Culture, Culture, Czech, Dance, Entertainment, Europe, Event, Germany, Life, Music, New Zealand, News, Shen Yun show, shows, Taiwan, USA, World | Comments Off on Shen Yun Show Schedule in April 2010 (Asia, Europe, USA, Canada, New Zealand)

A ‘wake-up call’ on operating in China

Posted by Author on March 31, 2010

Sarah-Jane Tasker and Jennifer Hewett, The Australian, March 31, 2010-

AUSTRALIAN companies are deeply concerned about the impact of the Stern Hu case on normal commercial business practices in China.

Because of the vagueness of the laws, the greatest concern is uncertainty about what constitutes a commercial secret in China and how rigorously — or arbitrarily — Chinese authorities will pursue cases.

Under Chinese law, a China-based lawyer said, a trade secret was something that gave an individual or company an advantage in the market, and had been unfairly obtained.

“That could cover information that is publicly available, because by obtaining that information, if you gain an unfair advantage, then that information in itself could be deemed to be a commercial secret,” he said.

That issue becomes even more complicated because access to market information through methods common in Western countries is extremely controlled in China.

“You cannot just do surveys by yourself and gain information that way,” the lawyer said.

“The movement of information is strictly regulated, so the idea of commercial secrets, state secrets and obtaining survey information are all interlocked, and there are different entities that regulate” each of those things.

Nicolas Groffman, a Beijing-based partner at Mallesons Stephen Jaques, said the perception of doing business in China would have changed for many foreign companies.

“Because they are now more aware of the fact China has a strict criminal justice system, it may make people reconsider their corporate governance and how to structure that, as they didn’t envisage this type of prosecution happening,” Mr Groffman said.

Linda Liu Bearne, an investment consultant whose clients include China International Capital Corporation, the country’s largest investment bank, said the outcome of the Rio Tinto case would have a big impact on how Australian companies did business in China.

It was a “good wake-up call”, she said, and would force some companies to improve their understanding of the rules and regulations in China.

“It will affect the representation companies have in China,” she said. “They will have to be careful how they train their staff.

“Companies will be very careful how they deal with Chinese companies.”

The secrecy surrounding the case and the basis of the convictions of the four Rio employees for stealing commercial secrets meant no company could be confident knowing the rules and how they would be enforced.

Nathan Backhouse, from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Australian businesses would need to seek “clarity from Chinese authorities on the unanswered questions that arise about foreign nationals doing business with state-owned enterprises in China”……. (more details from The Australian)

Posted in Australia, Business, China, Company, Law, News, Politics, World | Comments Off on A ‘wake-up call’ on operating in China

18 more Australians facing charges of ‘economic crimes’ in China

Posted by Author on March 31, 2010

Malcolm Farr, The Daily Telegraph, Australia, March 31, 2010 –

THE Government is tracking the trials of 18 Australians facing charges of “economic crimes” as it deals with the 10-year sentence imposed on former mining executive Stern Hu.

The clear majority of Australians before the courts in China — 18 of a total of 23 — have been arrested in relation to “fraud and other economic crimes”, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said yesterday.

There are 17 Australians serving sentences in Chinese prisons, according to DFAT. Most were convicted of fraud or corruption.

A further two were on assault charges, one is on a charge for a car accident, one for a visa violation and one is on a drugs charge.

Hu, an Australian citizen, was sentenced to ten years in jail plus two hefty fines for bribery and industrial espionage after a three-day trial, in which the part covering claims of spying was closed to Australian observers.

In related developments, corporate watchdog the Australian Securities and Investments Commission said yesterday it was monitoring developments after the jailing of Hu.

And in London, the Serious Fraud Office said it was reviewing whether to launch an inquiry following comments by the Chinese judge who sentenced Hu and his three Chinese colleagues in Shanghai on Monday……. (more details from The Daily Telegraph)

Posted in Australia, Business, Businessman, China, Company, East China, Economy, Law, News, People, Politics, shanghai, World | Comments Off on 18 more Australians facing charges of ‘economic crimes’ in China

Rudd criticises China over Hu case

Posted by Author on March 30, 2010

AAP via Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, Mar. 30, 2010-

By holding part of an Australian businessman’s criminal trial in secret, China has missed an opportunity to prove itself on the world stage, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says.

A Shanghai court yesterday sentenced Rio Tinto mining executive Stern Hu to 10 years behind bars for taking bribes and stealing trade secrets.

Hu admitted to the bribery charges but the commercial secrets elements of the trial were heard in secret.

Mr Rudd said that left “serious unanswered questions” about his conviction.

“In holding this part of the trial in secret, China I believe has missed an opportunity to demonstrate to the world at large transparency that would be consistent with its emerging global role,” he told reporters in Melbourne today.

“Australia … has reservations about the manner in which the second charge contained within this particular court case has been handled.”

Mr Rudd said the federal government made strong, frequent and high-level representations to Chinese officials on behalf of Hu and would continue to do so.

He expects the bilateral relationship between China and Australia to sustain the pressure of Hu’s trial and sentencing.

“We’ve had disagreements with our friends in Beijing before, I’m sure we’ll have disagreements again,” Mr Rudd said.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop questioned the strength of a consular agreement between the two nations, which should have allowed local officials to attend Hu’s trial in its entirety.

“If China is able to ignore the agreement in these circumstances, are there other circumstances where the consular agreement will not be adhered to?” she asked on ABC Radio.

“This would be an issue of great concern to many companies from Australia and also around the world.”

Ms Bishop accused Mr Rudd of engaging in “megaphone” diplomacy, instead of telephoning Chinese officials to discuss the issue.

Australian Greens leader Bob Brown said the government was scared to push China on the matter because it did not want to damage trade relations between Australia and China.

“Beijing sends a certain fear into the hearts of politicians in Canberra,” he said.

“There’s no doubt the pressure for trade overcomes the pressure for democracy, human rights and the proper processes under the law.”

Three of Hu’s Chinese colleagues were also jailed for terms ranging from seven to 14 years. (via Sydney Morning Herald)

Posted in Australia, Business, Businessman, China, Company, East China, Law, News, People, Politics, shanghai, Social, Trade, World | Comments Off on Rudd criticises China over Hu case

China Missed Chance for Open Rio Trial, Rudd Says

Posted by Author on March 30, 2010

By Marion Rae, Bloomberg, via BusinessWeek-

March 30 (Bloomberg)
— China “missed an opportunity” to be transparent and give companies more confidence by hearing charges of industrial espionage against four Rio Tinto Group executives in secret, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said.

China had the chance “to demonstrate to the world at large transparency that would be consistent with its emerging global role,” Rudd said in Melbourne today. There are “serious unanswered questions” about the conviction of Stern Hu, the Australian executive who led Rio’s iron ore unit in China.

Hu was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison by a court in Shanghai and colleagues Liu Caikui, Wang Yong and Ge Minqiang given prison terms of between seven and 14 years. They were found guilty of bribery and stealing commercial secrets after China’s anti-graft authorities vowed this year to crack down on corruption.

Australian officials were present when the court heard evidence about bribery charges against the four, who were accused of accepting money in exchange for giving priority access to iron ore to steel mills.

“Australia condemns bribery where ever it occurs,” Rudd said. “Australia also, however, has reservations about the manner in which the second charge, contained within this particular court case has been handled.”

Trade Pacts

The case frayed ties with Australia after Rio rejected a $19.5 billion investment from China last year. Rudd said he expects other pacts with China will survive the Hu ruling.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, with a two- way relationship worth A$83 billion ($76 billion). Iron ore makes up half, or A$22.1 billion, of Australian exports to China. The country is also Australia’s largest source of overseas students and 15th largest investor.

The Rio trial raises questions about how global companies navigate a country when engaged in commercially sensitive issues such as iron ore price negotiations.

“There are real concerns in the business community now about the trend of China’s policy and whether in the years ahead China will be more or less open for foreign companies,” John Frisbie, president of the U.S.-China Business Council, a trade group in Washington, told Bloomberg Television today.

A clear definition is needed between state secrets and commercial secrets, as confidence “does revolve around transparency,” he said……. (more details from Business Week)

Posted in Australia, Business, Businessman, China, Company, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, Social, World | Comments Off on China Missed Chance for Open Rio Trial, Rudd Says

Australian company head Sentenced to 10 years, China business and political environment unpredictable

Posted by Author on March 29, 2010

JOHN GARNAUT AND SANGHEE LIU, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, March 29, 2010 –

Stern Hu has been sentenced to 10 years’ jail by a Chinese court for stealing commercial secrets and receiving bribes.

His three Rio Tinto colleagues will face between seven and 14 years for the same charges.

The sentences were at the higher end of expectations and will add to fears that China’s business and political environment is becoming increasingly unpredictable.

The case against Hu has strained relations between Australia and China, with the three-day hearing taking place last week in a closed court and Australian consular officials barred from hearing some evidence.

Australian officials were allowed into the court for today’s verdict, while journalists were able to watch on a video screen in an adjoining room.

Hu, the head of the Anglo-Australian miner’s Shanghai office, and the three Chinese men – Wang Yong, Liu Caikui and Ge Minqiang – had pleaded guilty to taking $US13 million ($A14.33 million), and one admitted to commercial espionage.

The men have been in custody for more than eight months.

The four Rio employees were arrested last July during contentious iron-ore contract talks between top mining companies and the steel industry in China, the world’s largest consumer of the raw material. The talks collapsed.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the world would be watching the trial, which has been widely seen as a test of the rule of law in China and has sparked concerns about doing business in the world’s third-largest economy.

Three decades after China opened up to the world, US and European businesses are now complaining of increasingly onerous rules, preferential treatment for local firms and growing nationalism.

A prosecutor had recommended that Hu be given a lenient sentence after he apologised to the court and to Rio, saying he took more than $US900,000 ($A994,475) to help childhood friends in need, his lawyer Jin Chunqing said.

At the three-day trial of the Rio employees, the court heard evidence that millions of yuan in bribes had been stuffed into bags and boxes for the accused, according to state media.

Hu took money from small private steel companies, which before the global financial crisis were locked out of buying iron ore from Rio because the mining giant prioritised large state-run steel companies, Jin said.

When the global economic crisis hit in September 2008, demand for iron ore plummeted and the smaller players paid bribes “to squeeze into the club and join the buyers,” he said.

Wang strongly objected to the bribery allegations, saying he simply borrowed the money from one of China’s richest men, Du Shuanghua, the National Business Daily said.

Du, the former head of Shandong-based Rizhao Iron & Steel group, has contradicted Wang’s account, saying he paid the Rio employee $US9 million ($A9.94 million) for preferential treatment, the newspaper said.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith chastised China last week for locking the country’s diplomats out of the courtroom during the hearings on the commercial espionage allegations.

China appeared to have broken its own laws by excluding Australia’s consular staff from the hearings, according to New York University professor Jerome Cohen, a leading US expert on Chinese legal issues.

The decision “to exclude the Australian consuls violated existing Chinese law, which since 1995 has explicitly instructed China’s courts to permit foreign consular representation even at non-public trials,” Cohen wrote in an article co-authored with Yu-Jie Chen, a fellow at the US Asia Law Institute.

Hu’s lawyer Jin Chunqing told The Associated Press by telephone that an appeal had not yet been decided.

“We haven’t decided yet if we would appeal to the higher court or what we should do for the next step, as we need to meet and discuss with Stern face to face, and as soon as possible,” Jin said.

Sydney Morning Herald

Posted in Australia, Business, Businessman, China, Company, corruption, East China, Law, News, People, Politics, shanghai, Social, Trade, World | Comments Off on Australian company head Sentenced to 10 years, China business and political environment unpredictable

Truth, justice and the Chinese government’s way of business

Posted by Author on March 27, 2010

Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific editor, The Australian, March 27, 2010 –

SINCE Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu and his three Chinese colleagues were arrested last July, a weight of expectation has hung on their having their day in court to explain what on earth this is all about.

Courts are usually the places to clear up mysteries and bring murky deeds into the light, but the three-day trial this week in the Shanghai No 1 Intermediate People’s Court only added to the speculation that has engulfed Hu, Ge Minqiang, Liu Caikui and Wang Yong.

There is now almost no way in which the accused can convincingly be viewed as either wholly innocent or wholly guilty. They will be sentenced on Monday, perhaps to serve five or so years each, and so will be in no position to give their side of the story until most of the world has lost interest.

Since the four were arrested, the more fervent backers of Beijing, especially in the business community, have been nudging and winking hard: “no smoke without fire”, and so on. These people will have felt vindicated by the guilty pleas.

Those pleas could be part of a deal to cut sentences, since 98 per cent of people charged in China are convicted. But they add to the questions to which we still have no convincing answers.

First, why, in a country where bribery and the stealing of commercial secrets are ubiquitous, were these four singled out? The tensions over Rio’s eventual rejection of the move for 19 per cent of the company by Chinese state-owned giant Chinalco framed the context, but that is all we know for sure.

Second, how is it that the four were the recipients rather than the givers of the bribes? What services did they provide? Who was the victim? If it was Rio Tinto, should the company not have been asked whether it wished them to be prosecuted?

And what about those who dispensed the bribes? The implication is that the four were offered money to give precedence to iron ore shipments in a tight supply situation. But we do not really know.

And what about the commercial secrets they were charged with stealing? One pleaded guilty, apparently, and three denied the charge. But since this part of the trial was in camera, again, no one really knows.

There is a supposition that it is about the tactics involved in the annual benchmark negotiations for the ore price, but outside China a company that learns about such negotiations by talking to people who work for its competitors or clients is perceived as smart rather than criminal. And that structure is giving way to more flexible price arrangements now anyway.

Though it appears that prominent Shanghai lawyer Duan “Charles” Qihua was appointed to defend Hu, despite not taking on many criminal cases, he did not appear in court.

Andrew Forrest, the billionaire chief executive of Fortescue, Australia’s third biggest ore producer, says he does not think Australia-China relations will be damaged by the trial. He is doubtless thinking of the damage in China. But in Australia the trial has educated people about how China’s highly political legal system works, shocking some. It also has served as a warning to Chinese-born managers – whatever their nationality – of foreign enterprises in China, that their ultimate loyalty is to the People’s Republic. The ruling Communist Party certainly needs the economic growth that Australian resources help to ensure. But the reality behind this is that key decisions are ultimately made for political reasons and that sometimes this requires that commercial commonsense is overridden.

It’s also unclear why the Rudd government has responded the way it has. We may know more about this after Monday’s verdicts when the government promises a “considered statement”.

Canberra’s position so far has been to respect China’s legal process, but what does this mean?

Trade Minister Simon Crean has said that key questions about the trial cannot be answered until we know “what the full evidence presented is and the basis of the findings”. The chances of this happening are slim indeed. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Australia, Business, Businessman, China, Commentary, Company, East China, Law, News, Opinion, People, Politics, shanghai, Social, World | Comments Off on Truth, justice and the Chinese government’s way of business

(video) Shen Yun in Australia, New Zealand 2009: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience

Posted by Author on March 13, 2010

Video length: 13’44”

Vodpod videos no longer available.
(video) Shen Yun in North America 2009 (1)-  USA: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience
– (video) Shen Yun in North America 2009 (2) – Canada: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience
– (video) Shen Yun in Asia 2009 (1)- Korea, Japan: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience
– (video) Shen Yun in Asia 2009 (2)- Taiwan: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience
– (video)  Shen Yun in Europe 2009: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience

Posted in Australia, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Event, Music, New Zealand, News, Opinion, People, review, Shen Yun show, shows, Video, World | Tagged: , , , | Comments Off on (video) Shen Yun in Australia, New Zealand 2009: Reviews, Comments and Feedback from Audience

China set to be stripped of Sydney Olympics bronze medal for false birth certificate

Posted by Author on February 26, 2010

AFP via Herald Sun, Australia, Feb. 26, 2010-

could be stripped of their 2000 Olympics women’s gymnastics team event bronze medal after one of its athletes Dong Fangxiao was found to be under age.

Gymnast Dong Fangxiao, who competed in the women’s gymnastics team event, claimed she was 17 years old at the time of the Sydney Games, but an investigation by the International Gymnastics Federation discovered she was just 14, well below the strict minimum age of 16.

Chinese teammate Yang Yun, a bronze medallist in the team event as well as the uneven bars and who was also under investigation, was cleared of breaking the rules but issued with a warning.

Dong’s results in Sydney have been cancelled and the International Olympic Committee will be asked to withdraw the bronze from the Chinese team.

“Young gymnasts cannot be manipulated. Athletes must be protected. To prevent such fraud in the future, a new licensing system has been implemented by the FIG,” said the organisation’s president Bruno Grandi.

Start of sidebar. Skip to end of sidebar.

End of sidebar. Return to start of sidebar.

Dong’s case came to light at the 2008 Beijing Olympics when she applied for accreditation as a team official when she declared her birth date as January 23, 1986, which would have made her 14 during the Sydney Olympics.

Posted in Athlete, Australia, China, Life, News, People, Sports, World | Comments Off on China set to be stripped of Sydney Olympics bronze medal for false birth certificate

China company chase donor for Australian Labor Party on fraud claims

Posted by Author on February 12, 2010

RICHARD BAKER AND PHILIP DORLING, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, February 11, 2010 –

THE Chinese-born benefactor of the former defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon is being pursued by a state-owned enterprise in Beijing that accuses her of a multimillion-dollar fraud involving the illegal transfer of funds to Australia.

Correspondence from the Chinese enterprise names Helen Liu and her Diamond Hill International company as those responsible for the alleged misappropriation of up to 30 million yuan – nearly $6 million – that was originally lent for an apartment complex development in the Chinese port city of Qingdao.

The Fitzgibbon family has had a long involvement in Ms Liu’s Qingdao Bihai Garden apartment complex. Mr Fitz- gibbon and his father, Eric, are believed to have visited the site on a trip to China in 1993.

The former Labor MP Eric Fitzgibbon last week contradicted his previous denials of commercial ties to Ms Liu by admitting his role in helping sell her Qingdao apartments.

There is no suggestion any member of the Fitzgibbon family is involved in the alleged fraud.

A 1997 letter from the Beijing investment house to Ms Liu states: ”Our investigation shows that your company did not use our funds on this real estate project in Qingdao. Instead the funds were used for other purposes and have mostly been transferred to Australia. Under relevant law of the People’s Republic of China, this constitutes fraud.”

A separate document from December 2005 shows the Beijing company was still pursuing Ms Liu for the money, and had engaged the help of another Chinese firm to help track the missing millions allegedly ”obtained by fraud”.

The Beijing company is understood still to be pursuing the money and the matter has been investigated by police.

Ms Liu has donated tens of thousands of dollars to Mr Fitzgibbon and the NSW ALP through Diamond Hill International and other companies.

She is well known to senior figures in the NSW party, including Mr Fitzgibbon and the former premier Bob Carr, who have praised her as an outstanding businesswoman.

Mr Fitzgibbon was named on a list last week among 135 pages of Ms Liu’s private financial papers with the figure of 850,000 yuan ($142,000) next to his name.

Mr Fitzgibbon has emphatically denied receiving any money from Ms Liu other than two donations totalling $40,000 declared by the NSW ALP, and has threatened legal action.

Included among the 21 other individuals named on the list under the heading ”money paid including expenses and gifts” are senior Chinese officials.

It is understood some of Ms Liu’s financial dealings with those on the list were in part carried out by her sister and business partner, Queena Liu, a Chinese-Australian citizen well known to Mr Fitz- gibbon and other Labor figures.

Ms Liu’s papers record her contribution of $3 million to establish a joint venture company with ”Joel’s family”, with Eric appointed as an agent who would visit Qingdao regularly.

They also refer to a private meeting with Joel Fitzgibbon and the provision of $20,000 for ”family expenses support”.

A letter by Ms Liu to the Bank of China’s former Australian general manager, Wang Hang Bang, refers to financial dealings with Mr Fitzgibbon. ”The money we pay him is worthwhile,” she wrote. ”The cash is withdrawn on my credit card. There won’t be any problem.”

Mr Fitzgibbon told Parliament last week that reports claiming large undisclosed payments by Ms Liu were ”outrageous”.

Sydney Morning Herald

Posted in Australia, Business, China, News, Official, People, Politics, Women, World | 1 Comment »

Video highlight (2): Shen Yun show 2010

Posted by Author on February 5, 2010

Shen Yun, a show that has been called by professionals as “State of the arts”, “mind-blowing”, ”first class”, “the best”, “the top”,  “perfection”,  “out of the world” and “beyond all-beyond”, now is traveling in about 20 countries, 100 cities around the world.

Show schedules can be found from official website:

Shen Yun show featuring:
– strong expressive technique of classical Chinese dance
– stunning costumes
– 3D digital backdrops
– live orchestra

More Shen Yun videos

Video highlight (1): Shen Yun show 2010
Review (video): Shen Yun Performing Arts’ Chinese Dance and Music Show
Collection of Shen Yun 2010 Show Promotion Videos (HD)

Posted in all Hot Topic, Asia, Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Europe, Event, Germany, Hong kong, Japan, Life, Music, New Zealand, News, Shen Yun show, shows, South Korea, Taiwan, UK, USA, Video, World | 1 Comment »

Video highlight (1): Shen Yun show 2010

Posted by Author on February 5, 2010

Shen Yun, a classical Chinese dance and music show that has been called by professionals as “State of the arts”, “mind-blowing”, “first class”, “the best”, “the top”,  “perfection”,  “out of the world” and “beyond all-beyond”, now is traveling in about 20 countries, 100 cities around the world.

Shen Yun Show schedules can be found from official website:


Shen Yun show featuring:
– strong expressive technique of classical Chinese dance
– stunning costumes
– 3D digital backdrops
– live orchestra

More Shen Yun videos

Video highlight (2): Shen Yun show 2010
Collection of Shen Yun 2010 Show Promotion Videos (HD)
Review (video): Shen Yun Performing Arts’ Chinese Dance and Music Show
Shen Yun Review, by Senior Manager for the Grammy Awards, Feb 5, 2010

Posted in Asia, Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Culture, Culture, Dance, Entertainment, Europe, Event, Germany, Hong kong, Japan, Life, Music, News, Shen Yun show, shows, South Korea, Taiwan, UK, USA, Video, World | Comments Off on Video highlight (1): Shen Yun show 2010

Chinese businesswoman’s PRIVATE records: Former australia minister received money to increase political and business influence

Posted by Author on February 3, 2010

RICHARD BAKER, PHILIP DORLING AND NICK MCKENZIE, The Age, Via Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, Feb. 3, 2010 –

PRIVATE records
of a Chinese-Australian businesswoman close to former defence minister Joel Fitzgibbon indicate he received substantial payments as part of a campaign to cultivate him as an agent of political and business influence.

The confidential papers of businesswoman Helen Liu contradict claims last year by Mr Fitzgibbon — and his father, former Labor MP Eric Fitzgibbon — that they had no financial or business relationship with Ms Liu.

Mr Fitzgibbon resigned from Cabinet last June after it was revealed his brother, NIB Health Funds chief Mark Fitzgibbon, had used his office to lobby for defence health contracts.

The minister’s political standing had already been weakened by his failure to disclose that he had accepted two first-class flights to China bankrolled by Ms Liu, a wealthy entrepreneur with high-level political and military contacts in Beijing. He was also renting his Canberra residence from the Liu family.

The documents obtained by The Age show Ms Liu recorded her 1997-98 payment of 850,000 Chinese yuan — approximately $150,000 at the then current values — to Joel Fitzgibbon under the heading “money paid including expenses and gifts”.

The same document shows Ms Liu recorded the establishment of a joint venture with the Fitzgibbon family, including reference to “Eric (Fitzgibbon) as agent. Regular visits to China. $3 million for start up”.

In a letter to a senior Bank of China executive, Ms Liu wrote that Joel Fitzgibbon would become a cabinet minister when federal Labor won power, adding: “The money we pay him is worthwhile.”

The Age can also reveal that the office of Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard was told in April last year by lawyers for a former business associate of Ms Liu that Mr Fitzgibbon may have had more extensive dealings with the businesswoman than acknowledged.

In response to the latest disclosures, Mr Fitzgibbon said he had already declared all he was required to about his relationship with Ms Liu, who returned to China late last year where she remains. Last night she would not comment.

Mr Fitzgibbon said: “I totally reject the suggestion that I have received any money from Helen Liu beyond campaign donations which were appropriately declared as required.”

He would not comment on his father’s dealings with Ms Liu.

However, Eric Fitzgibbon — who last year denied any commercial ties to Ms Liu — has this week disclosed that he has worked for the businesswoman by helping sell apartments in her property development in Qingdao, in China’s Shandong province.

The former MP, who does not speak Chinese, said he was not paid in cash, but had his accommodation, travel and other expenses covered.

Eric Fitzgibbon told The Age this week: “They were building a hotel, a major development in a part of China. They asked me if I would like to give them a hand for the selling of the units. I appreciated the opportunity.”

The 135 pages of personal and business records obtained by The Age after a 10-month investigation include a list prepared by Ms Liu recording “money paid” for unstated purposes to 22 individuals, including Joel Fitzgibbon, variously connected with her property interests in Sydney and Qingdao.

The list, apparently written in late 1998 or early 1999, includes senior Bank of China executives and high-level Chinese Communist Party and government officials.

In another note Ms Liu refers to a planned private meeting with Joel Fitzgibbon to discuss “Family expenses support 20k.”

The note also mentions Ms Liu’s intention to call on then NSW premier Bob Carr, stating: “visit Premier Bob C’s home”. At that time, a NSW government department was a tenant in one of Ms Liu’s Sydney buildings.

The note then refers to a visit to the home of a senior Bank of China executive, saying, “Give 50k cash as a gift” followed by a proposal to engage the man’s wife as a consultant.

Mr Fitzgibbon was first embroiled in controversy in March last year when The Age revealed Defence Department officials had undertaken an unauthorised clandestine investigation of his 16-year relationship with Ms Liu.

Mr Fitzgibbon then called Ms Liu a “close personal friend”. Eric Fitzgibbon said at the time: “We might have had dinner a few times together, but there have been no big cheques in the mail or anything like that.”

The NSW Labor Party declared political donations by Ms Liu’s companies, including two donations totalling $40,000 to Joel Fitzgibbon’s 1996 and 1998 election campaigns.

The MP’s parliamentary declarations do not record any benefit from or financial relationship with Ms Liu other than his trips to China in 2002 and 2005, which were retrospectively added after the scandal erupted in March last year.

Ms Liu’s papers include a letter to a close business associate in which she says Mr Fitzgibbon had boosted her business and political standing and that she was “willing to give him money”.

In a letter to the general manager of the Bank of China in Sydney, Ms Liu also noted that Mr Fitzgibbon was “very concerned” with legal action between herself and her former business partner, Humphrey Xu, and that the MP had given her “great help”.

The Age has had Chinese language documents included among Ms Liu’s correspondence translated by a nationally accredited translating firm.

In April last year, former Labor leader Mark Latham, Mr Fitzgibbon’s former close friend, wrote in The Australian Financial Review that in regard to the relationship between Ms Liu and the Fitzgibbons he had “never encountered MPs so engaged, politically and financially, with a business benefactor” and “the full list of largesse received by the Fitzgibbon family is yet to be made public”.

Sydney Morning Herald

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Australian writer quits China tour over dissident Liu Xiaobo’s jailing

Posted by Author on January 30, 2010

Radio Australia, Jan 29, 2010-

Award-winning Australian author Frank Moorhouse is pulling out of a Government backed writer’s tour to China. He says it would be against his conscience to take part while the high profile dissident writer Liu Xiaobo is in jail. Liu was sentenced to 11 years jail last month for his part in writing a petition calling for political reforms in China.

Presenter: Ashley Hall
Speakers: Frank Moorhouse, Australian Author; Clothilde Le Coz, Reporters Without Borders

ASHLEY HALL: When Frank Moorhouse received an invitation to join a Government backed good-will tour to China he quickly said yes.

It seemed a very attractive idea. Seven years ago I was at the first Hong Kong festival and it seemed to be a good idea.

ASHLEY HALL: The Australian Writers’ Week tour was designed to take a number of Australian authors to Beijing and Chengdu and give them the chance to read their work, speak in public and visit universities. And they’d participate in the international writers’ festivals in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

But Frank Moorhouse says his enthusiasm waned when he learned that the Chinese authorities had sentenced the Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo to 11 years’ jail for subverting state power.

FRANK MOORHOUSE: This alerted me to the fact that things weren’t improving. And I’d had the impression that freedom of expression was gradually improving in China. But this brought home to me in a very glaring way that things were very grim there.

ASHLEY HALL: He says he had to take a stand.

FRANK MOORHOUSE: It seemed to me very easy to be a great advocate of freedom of expression in Australia. But at the time there were good reasons for writing an essay about it. That was because of terrorism and the new legislation that was coming through at that time.

But it seemed to me very difficult for me now to go to China in the face of the jailing of Liu.

ASHLEY HALL: At first Frank Moorhouse considered going ahead with the tour and pointedly displaying an empty chair wherever he spoke to signify the absence of Liu Xiaobo.

It’s a tactic used often by the international network of writers devoted to freedom of expression, known as PEN.

FRANK MOORHOUSE: But I was advised that this was a very risky thing to do. It would endanger the organisers of the festivals and other people, Chinese people involved in organising this tour.

It would also probably put the other writers on the tour and myself at risk of some legal action.

I was told it would be very unwise to even mention the jailing of writers in China.

ASHLEY HALL: So he’s decided he won’t go at all. …… (more details from Radio Australia)

Posted in Australia, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Journalist, News, People, Politics, Speech, World | Comments Off on Australian writer quits China tour over dissident Liu Xiaobo’s jailing

China’s ‘lesson’ for Australia Company Fortescue Metals Goup

Posted by Author on January 6, 2010

Susannah Moran, The Australian –

A SENIOR Chinese government official wanted majority ownership of Fortescue Metals Goup’s $1.85 billion Pilbara iron ore project, claiming it was Chinese “national policy” to “obtain control”, and later vowed to “teach (Fortescue) a lesson”.

That lesson, or “alternative way of co-operation”, turned out to be providing information to a newspaper — whose subsequent negative article about FMG’s planned project sparked the corporate regulator’s investigation and subsequent highly costly court case, which was last week comprehensively dismissed by Federal Court judge John Gilmour.

The machinations of the behind-the-scenes dealings are revealed in the 204-page judgment.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission alleged Fortescue and its chief executive, Andrew Forrest, breached the Corporations Act and that Mr Forrest was deliberately dishonest and misled the market in relation to 2004 market releases that outlined “binding contracts” made with several Chinese companies about the planned Pilbara project.

The court heard that by early 2005, the Chinese were demanding an 80 per cent majority stake in the Pilbara project, a move Fortescue was resisting.

The judgment reveals detailed conversations that Xin Lou-Lin, later to become a Fortescue consultant, had with the deputy director-general of China’s National Development Reform Commission (NDRC), He Lianzhong.

Mr Xin, who was a former schoolfriend of Mr He, gave damning evidence in the case, recalling a conversation in February, the month before the article in The Australian Financial Review appeared. “The Chinese companies wanted control of FMG and as FMG was resisting, we would teach them a lesson,” Mr Xin recalled Mr He saying.

Justice Gilmour said in his judgment that Mr He caused information to be provided to an AFR reporter to the effect that the agreements with the Chinese contractors to build infrastructure were not binding. The report “caused considerable public commercial distress” to Fortescue, which the judge said “was Mr He’s intention”. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Asia, Australia, Business, China, Company, Economy, Investment, News, Politics, World | Comments Off on China’s ‘lesson’ for Australia Company Fortescue Metals Goup

Tension Increases as China and Australia Grow Closer

Posted by Author on August 22, 2009

New York Times, Aug. 21, 2009-

BEIJING — China’s diplomatic relationship with Australia, so recently flourishing despite occasional spats, this month has taken a severe turn toward the governmental equivalent of thrown dinner plates.

Public exchanges between the nations, already testy after China’s detention of four employees of the British-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto, grew sharper when Australia granted a visa to Rebiya Kadeer, the American-based rights advocate for China’s Muslim Uighur minority. Ms. Kadeer was accused by Chinese officials of plotting riots last month in China’s Xinjiang region.

The Australians recalled their Chinese ambassador to the capital, Canberra, for talks on Wednesday, after a week in which Beijing’s state-controlled news media excoriated Australia’s “Sinophobic politicians” and suggested that China’s billions were better spent trading with friendlier nations.

The Chinese also canceled planned visits by Vice Premier Li Keqiang, the heir apparent to Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, and the vice foreign minister, He Yafei, who was supposed to attend a meeting of Asian nations. Columnists in the Chinese press have also advocated limiting Chinese tourism in Australia and curbing the number of Chinese students studying there.

Australia’s prime minister, Kevin Rudd, countered that the nations’ relationship is always “full of challenges” and that their broader ties will endure. “We share enormous common interests with our friends in China, but we have continuous differences,” he was quoted as saying.

Hardly all Australians are persuaded. “I really don’t think there’s anything that Australia can do,” J. Bruce Jacobs, a China specialist at Monash University in Australia, said of the tiff. “The Chinese seem to have various people they like to pick on — the French, because of the Dalai Lama, and us, because of Kadeer. I think all of this is driven by political imperatives within China.”

Mr. Jacobs was referring to China’s decision to boycott a European Union summit meeting last December because the union’s leader then, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France, planned to meet the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetans. The Chinese accuse the Dalai Lama of plotting to split Tibet from China.

In the latest case, China sought this month to keep Australia from granting Ms. Kadeer a visa to attend the screening of a film about her life, then tried to prevent her from making a speech to the National Press Club.

They were further examples of how Australians and Chinese have chafed at their inexorably growing ties. Trade between China and Australia has grown sevenfold this decade, making China Australia’s largest trading partner. Chinese investment in Australia, while still small compared with its investment in the United States, is mushrooming.

But Australians worry that Chinese investment is directed at their vast natural resources, turning them into a sort of open-pit mine for Chinese interests……. (more details from The New York Times)

Posted in Activist, Asia, Australia, China, Economy, Human Rights, News, People, Politics, World | 3 Comments »

Chinese entries pull out of Australia film festival for China’s political pressure

Posted by Author on July 21, 2009

ABC Online, Australia, Jul 21, 2009-

Chinese filmmakers have pulled out of the Melbourne International Film festival two days before it opens.

The development comes after Chinese officials asked organisers to drop a documentary that criticises the Chinese Government.

Australian-made film The 10 Conditions of Love is about the exiled Uigher leader Rebiya Kadeer.

Festival organisers say the withdrawal of all entries from China is regrettable.

Festival director Richard Moore says one of the Chinese filmmakers objected to the documentary, while the other gave no clear reason for his decision.

“We’re having to scramble for new films and reorganise the festival only two days out from the scheduled program,” he said.

“It’s a terrible inconvenience but more than that, beyond the inconvenience, it’s a terrible thing to happen to the festival that all this political pressure has been brought on us this year.”

Ms Kadeer lives in exile in the United States and will visit Melbourne for the festival next month.

Mr Moore says he has no intention of excluding the film about Ms Kadeer’s life, but he is in no doubt that his decision has prompted the boycott by the producers of China’s entries.

“Their reasons are connected to the presence of the documentary called 10 Conditions of Love about the leader of the Uighur movement in exile Rebiya Kadeer,” he said.

“The things that have happened have all been a result of a phone call from a consular official telling us in no uncertain terms that we had to remove the film from the festival.

“We stick by our guns; we’ll play it and we won’t bow to that form of bullying.”

Mr Moore received the phone call from the Melbourne-based Chinese consulate last week.

“She told me that she was ringing to urge me to withdraw the particular film 10 Conditions Of Love from the festival,” he said.

“I said I had no reason to withdraw the film from the festival and she then proceeded to tell me that I had to justify my decision to include the film in the festival.

“I said ‘Well, I’m very sorry but I didn’t have any reason to justify the inclusion of the film in the festival.’ So she then proceeded to … list Rebiya Kadeer’s crimes. I have to say to you after about five minutes I blanked out.”

ABC online

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China Uses Prominent Americans to Influence U.S. Policies: Congressional Testimony

Posted by Author on May 15, 2009

Bill Gertz, The Washington Times, May 14, 2009 –

Chinese influence

China’s communist government has used its relationships with prominent Americans to further a propaganda effort aimed at influencing U.S. policies and softening economic sanctions, according to recent congressional testimony.

Those whose names, words or friendships have been invoked by China to influence the debate over sanctions include former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former President George H.W. Bush, said Anne-Marie Brady, an associate professor of political and social sciences at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Ms. Brady testified before the U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission April 30 that it is long-standing Chinese policy to exploit foreigners for global propaganda work.

“Historically, foreigners have been extremely useful in producing a wide range of propaganda materials, ranging from books, films and poetry, to public and private lobbying,” she said.

In 1989, Chinese President Jiang Zemin ordered foreign diplomats to step up influence operations after the Tiananmen massacre by gaining support from “prominent foreigners friendly to China,” she said. The goal was to influence Western governments into dropping sanctions imposed on China after the military crackdown on protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

“Henry Kissinger and George Bush senior are commonly cited as being particularly helpful to blunt the effects of sanctions in this period,” Ms. Brady said.

“The foreign friends the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] has come to value most in the post-1989 period are prominent foreign figures that can bring commercial and political advantages to China and the Chinese oligarchy. Public agreement on China’s political positions is not required, though it might help business along a little.”

Ms. Brady did not provide further details on how figures like Mr. Bush or Mr. Kissinger are used in the propaganda efforts. But a U.S. defense official said the Chinese government invests vast resources in seeking out prominent Americans whose views coincide with many aspects of Chinese foreign policy. The Chinese can provide preferential business treatment and access to senior Chinese leaders as a way to enhance the standing of these former officials.

China’s government also limits criticism of China by blocking visits to the country by perceived opponents of China.

Asked about China’s efforts to block or remove U.S. sanctions, Larry Wortzel, co-chairman of the commission, said the Tiananmen-related sanctions remain important for U.S. national security because of growing Chinese military capabilities. “If the U.S. lifted sanctions, it would open the floodgates for European arms sales to China,” Mr. Wortzel said.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Kissinger said the former secretary of state was traveling and could not be reached for comment. A spokesman for Mr. Bush could not be reached.

Chinese Embassy spokeswoman Wei Xin did not address the points raised at the hearing in an e-mail response.

“China has solemnly stated on many occasions that China never does anything undermining the interest of others and China advocates cooperation between countries on the basis of fairness, justice, equality and mutual benefit,” Ms. Wei said.

Ross Terrill, a historian at the Harvard University Fairbank Center for Asian Studies, testified that China is using money to try to manipulate foreign opinions of China.

“A symbiosis occurs between Americans who benefit from business or other success with China and American institutions,” he said. “Money may appear from a businessman with excellent connections in China and it is hard for a think tank, needing funds for its research on China, to decline it. But the money may bring with it major Chinese ideological input into the program of the U.S. think tank.”

Ms. Brady also said China is working to plant Chinese propaganda in Western news media. “China’s propagandists try to get foreign newspapers to do China’s propaganda work; this is called ‘borrowing foreign newspapers,’ ” she said.

Beijing announced early this year that it will invest $6.6 billion in its media organs to increase news coverage. Xinhua, the official news agency that U.S. officials say is frequently used as cover for Chinese intelligence personnel, is increasing its foreign bureaus from 100 to 186. China also is setting up a new satellite television station to beam Chinese propaganda around the world. “As such this new initiative could well have a significant impact in strengthening China’s soft power internationally,” Ms. Brady said.

Another specialist, Jacqueline Newmyer, president of the Long Term Strategy Group, told the commission hearing that Chinese foreign-directed information operations are part of a broader Chinese strategy involving Beijing’s development. …… (more details from The Washington Times report: Inside the Ring)

Posted in China, New Zealand, News, People, politician, Politics, USA, World | 1 Comment »

NZ Expert Tells US of China Overseas Propaganda

Posted by Author on May 14, 2009, New Zealand, 12/05/2009 –

A Canterbury expert on Chinese propaganda has made a rare appearance before a United States security commission.

Canterbury University associate professor Anne-Marie Brady travelled to Washington last month to appear before the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s hearing on China’s propaganda operations. The commission was established by the US Congress in 2000.

Brady was told she was the first person from outside North America to appear before the commission. She believed her invitation was due to her research into propaganda in China, enabled by a $634,000 Marsden Fund grant in 2005.

Brady said China had two propaganda machines, one directed at those in China and another focused on Chinese living overseas. Chinese in New Zealand were affected by this, as Chinese language media in New Zealand relied heavily on free content from Chinese media. “These papers are important, especially to new migrants to New Zealand,” she said. “It’s importing the propaganda line to Chinese-language discourse in New Zealand.”

The Chinese Government was well aware the Chinese diaspora could be a haven for liberal thinkers and therefore a threat to the regime, she said.

Propaganda focused on promoting nationalism and encouraged a perception that China was unfairly treated by Western media, Brady said.

“It’s de-politicising the message; encouraging people to make the connection with China their motherland, not worrying about political affiliations.”

She said the success of this propaganda campaign was shown in the global demonstrations of Chinese migrants against Western reporting of the Olympic torch relay and last year’s crackdown on the uprising in Tibet.

Protesters in New Zealand were sent T-shirts and promotional materials from Beijing.

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Australia Urges China to Stop Supporting Fiji’s Military Government

Posted by Author on April 25, 2009

By Phil Mercer, Sydney, Australia, 24 April 2009 –

Australia has been pressing China to reduce its support for the military government in Fiji. Canberra has been leading international calls for a boycott of the government of armed forces chief, Commodore Frank Bainimarama. But the Chinese have quietly increased aid to the troubled South Pacific country.

The concern among many in Australia is that China’s apparent effort to use money as a persuasive diplomatic tool in the South Pacific undermines international efforts to isolated Fiji’s military government.

Since Commodore Frank Bainimarama’s troops seized power in 2006, Beijing’s aid pledges to Fiji have increased seven-fold, to $160 million.

Buying influence?

China has been keen to spend big in the region to win a diplomatic battle with Taiwan for the support and recognition of island nations.

Fiji’s military has sought to cash in on this political competition, according to Fergus Hanson, a research fellow at Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy.

“As the international community came down on Fiji following the coup and increasingly isolated the regime, I would imagine that the coup leaders would have been casting around for funds and playing off China and Taiwan against each other would have been an obvious trick to play,” Hanson said. “So, that was initially, I think, a key driver. Now we have had a bit of reconciliation between China and Taiwan, I think things might be starting to change.”

Regional condemnation of Beijing’s support

Australian and New Zealand officials have raised their concerns with China about its support for Fiji.

Canberra and Wellington believe a concerted international approach to the dismantling of democracy there is the best way to convince Commodore Bainimarama to relinquish power.

Fiji faces suspension from both the Commonwealth of former British colonies, and the Pacific Islands Forum, the region’s key political and trade bloc. That prospect does not seem to worry Fiji’s military.

Arrogant dictator?

The most recent unrest, which saw Fiji’s president scrap the constitution after judges ruled the army’s power grab illegal, has seen the army’s position strengthened, with senior officers insisting that fresh elections could well be more than five years away.

The army seized control in Fiji almost two-and-a-half years ago, accusing the elected government of Laisenia Qarase of corruption and of pursuing racist policies against the country’s ethnic Indian minority.

Commodore Bainimarama said Fiji’s political system would have to be cleansed before democracy could be revived.

His critics accuse him of being an arrogant dictator, who was leading his country of 800,000 people towards economic collapse and international isolation.

VOA News

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