All unreferenced quotes throughout this post come from Hamilton’s ‘Silent Invasion’.
Some time ago I read Clive Hamilton’s Silent Invasion, a book which details how Australia has begun transitioning into a Chinese vassal state. I encourage all my readers to purchase this book for full reading here.
I was initially reluctant to publish a full-length summary due to the work involved. But as Federal politicians have eschewed all mention of China–at election time, the supposed epoch of ‘our democracy’–this heightened an urgency to disseminate the below information as widely as possible. To that end, I have created the following book summary.
Now to the substance. Key points made in ‘Silent Invasion’ include:
1. The 2 Turning Points in Chinese-Australian Relations
Hamilton describes 2 major events after which Australia began turning into a Chinese satellite state.
- Bob Hawke’s Gift
After the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, Bob Hawke tearfully told Chinese students they would not be sent home. This decision led to 42 000 Chinese students obtaining permanent residency rights, and with “close family members following,” a total of 100 000 Chinese migrants were granted a permanent stay in Australia.
While Bob Hawke is often praised for this humanitarian gesture, “the reality was not as it appeared.”
As Hawke’s ‘gift’ applied to all Chinese students in Australia at that time, three quarters were not even in Universities–they were only doing basic English language courses.
Because the immigration department was overwhelmed after Hawke’s ‘gift’, it had to “rubber stamp most applications.” As a result, most of these Chinese granted permanent Australian residency, were in fact pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Hamilton writes “each year on 4 June groups of Chinese-Australians get together to drink a toast to the Tiananmen Square crackdown for getting them permanent residency.”
It was thus from 1989 that China was first given a substantial population from which to leverage Australian politics, business and culture. From this time onwards, China has recognised and acted upon our debilitating weakness to multiculturalism.
- Howard’s deal
Hamilton expatiates on the ‘China is our future’ craze that prevails among business elites. By warning any Australian opposition to Beijing will trigger widespread poverty, these elites serve as a 5th column for the Chinese government.
Largely, this craze traces back to a 25 billion dollar deal an Australia-based consortium won in August 2002, to supply the Guangdong province with gas. At the time, Prime Minister John Howard declared winning this deal a “gold medal performance” and hence the fruits of engagement with China. However, Chen Yongling, a political officer in the China Sydney-based consulate during that time, tells a very different story. In fact, the Guandong government was set to award the contract to Indonesia which offered to supply gas at a cheaper rate. This was until the CCP Central Committee in Beijing intervened, and instructed the contract be granted to an Australian company. Said Chen Yonglin:
They thought Australia was really important…. And that at the time Australia had totally turned towards America, so they thought we should use economic means to bring Australia back.
One month later, Howard refused to meet with the Dalai Lama. From this moment onwards, our elites have regarded China as indispensable to Australia’s economic fortunes “exactly as Beijing planned it.”
2. The Eternal Truth of Nationalism:
Hamilton explains the force that has united China for the past 25 years: nationalism. While Chinese were “once taught an internationalist story that united the oppressed of China with the oppressed around the world,” they are now told about a “nationalist story that set the Chinese people against the world.” Hamilton points out that while students had once “resisted classes in Marxist doctrines, they proved far more amenable to patriotic education.” Evidently, race remains a vast reservoir of social cohesion, even if ignored or denied for decades.
3. China’s Future Claim to Australia:
Chinese leaders regard their national good as above and beyond concerns for truth. This is reflected in China’s expansive ambitions, often justified by bogus accounts of history. Specifically to Australia, Hamilton warns,
It would be a mistake for Australians to believe that spurious historical claims to territorial ambitions are confined to China’s traditional sphere of influence.
In his 2003 address to the Australian Parliament, Chinese President Hu Jintao outrageously claimed that in medieval times, Chinese “settled down in what they called Southern Land, or today’s Australia.” While laughable historical revisionism, this is akin to other fake history China has proposed in seeking the South China Sea and Korean territory. Hamilton foreshadows “China is using fake history to position itself to make a future claim over Australia.”
Further concerning to future Australian sovereignty is China’s jingoistic rhetoric about rejuvenation, to compensate for its century of humiliation. The ensuing question for all nation-states including Australia, becomes: when or will does this ‘rejuvenation’ derived aggression cease? As explained by China watcher Jamil Anderlini,
The logic of China’s great rejuvenation is essentially revanchist and assumes the country is still a long way from regaining its rightful level of power, influence and even territory. The dangerous question for the rest of the world is at what point China will feel it has reached peak rejuvenation and what that will look like for everyone who is not included in the great family of the Chinese race.
4. The Political Influence of Chinese Businessman:
In understanding the overarching role of Chinese businessman, or for that matter ordinary Chinese-Australians, Hamilton explains the Chinese government’s approach.
All Chinese people in Australia are potential (or actual) agents of the CCP. Towards Chinese living in Australia–China sees no distinction between first-generation migrants or Australian-Chinese citizens–the CCP takes a “carrot and stick approach.”
Serve the Chinese government in a way that is useful–then financial resources, business connections, prestige, national pride and employment opportunities may all follow for Chinamen who acquiesce. But refuse to act for China or resist its influence, and the government has various ‘stick’ tools for inflicting retribution. These include: ousting dissidents from Chinese organisations, refusing them visas to visit sick relatives in China, threatening relatives, imprisonment upon return to China, or even stripping financial assets. Importantly, as China has no independent judiciary for citizens to appeal state decisions, there is little the government can’t do in coercing Chinese people into action. These activities of China’s government make Chinese people distinctly subversive compared to other Australian-based minorities.
Now to the poisonous influence of Chinese businessmen who reside in Australia; Huang Xiangmo is one of them. Up until the December 2017 Dastiyari affair, Beijing looked upon Huang “favourably” as he used his political, business, and cultural influence to promote Chinese interests.
In April 2014, Huang convened a meeting in Hong Kong with the then-trade minister Andrew Robb, to discuss the proposed China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Hamilton points out it was Huang who suggested restrictions on Chinese visas and investment should be lifted. The final agreement signed in October 2014 removed these restrictions, despite widespread union protest. While this agreement thoroughly betrayed Australian interests, things worked out well enough for Andrew Robb. Huang then organised large sums of money to be directed into the Victorian Liberal Party. In 2016, Robb ended up retiring from federal politics. Now, Robb’s former press secretary works on Yuhu’s media relations; whilst Robb himself has worked for various Chinese investment firms, including Landbridge which recently leased the Darwin port.
Zhu Minshen is another. Zhu is a scholar, a businessman and delegate of the United Front Work Department–an organisation which coordinates the activities of overseas Chinese organisations into line with CCP policy. In 2008, he provided financial assistance to the Chinese student protest at the Olympic torch relay, where Tibetan protestors were violently suppressed. Zhu chartered students from his Top Education Institute to attend this rally, which counted towards the students’ assessment. Given this, Zhu’s Institution is “perhaps the only accredited degree program in Australia that counts agitating for a foreign power towards its qualifications.”
After Zhu’s entities donated $44,275 to the Liberal party in 2014-15, Christopher Pyne awarded his Top Education Institute access to the exclusive streamlined visa program, further filling Australia with Chinese students.
Another noteworthy businessman is Yang Dongdong, a member of several United Front Work Department organisations. Yang sponsored Craig Laundy’s 2013 and 2016 federal election victories in the seat of Reid, through a “highly effective Chinese-language media campaign.” Laundy has since emerged as one of China’s biggest supporters in federal politics, remains unabashed about assisting the Chinese consulate in Sydney, and is “cited in CCP-controlled newspapers praising China’s contribution to Australia.” In reward for Laundy’s support for China now, one could expect him to work at a CCP affiliated firm upon retiring from politics.
5. Beijing Bob and the ACRI:
On Bob Carr Hamilton writes, “For his advocacy of pro-Beijing positions within the New South Wales and federal Labor Party, Carr has been nicknamed ‘Beijing Bob’.”
Hamilton documents the origins of Carr’s Australian-China Relations Institute (ACRI), that was established at the University of Sydney in 2014. This centre was initially funded by a $1.8 million dollar donation from Huang Xiangmo, while Bob Carr was appointed to run the institute. The ACRI purports to conduct research based upon a “positive and optimistic view of China-Australia relations”. In other words the ACRI is a CCP propagandist centre, driven to allay legitimate concerns Australians have over China.
The ACRI has criticised Australian restrictions placed upon Chinese investment and apologised for our “aggression” in the South-China Sea. Perhaps most concerningly, the ACRI’s ‘research’ was cited authoritatively by proponents of the Australia-China Free Trade Agreement. If a few million dollars can effectively subvert our foreign policy, what hope is there in ever reclaiming Australian sovereignty? (This theme is revisited towards the end of this post.)
6. Increased Chinese Control of our Media:
In May 2016, Liu Qibao (who heads the CCP Central Committee Propaganda Department), arrived in Australia. Liu signed six extraordinary agreements with major Australian media companies, and “in exchange for money from the PRC, they would publish Chinese propaganda supplied by outlets like Xinhua News Agency, the People’s Daily and China Daily.”
Organisations to this deal included Sky News, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and the Australian Financial Review. With the seemingly insurmountable financial challenges of the mainstream media, their weaknesses were all too easily taken advantage of by China. Obviously, in anything from these outlets relating to China we cannot expect any objective, critical coverage.
7. Chinese Trade and Investment in Australia:
Hamilton addresses apologists for exploding levels of Chinese investment in Australia, who “compare the total amount of Chinese ownership of Australian assets with the substantially larger amount owned by British, American and Japanese companies.” As opposed to British, American and Japanese investors, Chinese capital is used as a ‘strategical tool’: the CCP forces their private companies into consonance with Chinese interests. This is achieved through government tools available for coercing individuals (as earlier outlined). It is also done in the structure of Chinese companies, through the required appointment of a party secretary. These party secretaries ensure CCP compliance, through having “power to appoint and dismiss senior managers and nominate board members.” As put by Hamilton, this means the “state and the market cannot be separated.” So, when a private Chinese company is investing in Australia, this is practically equivalent to direct Chinese government investment. Further, Chinese investment is being undertaken by a “totalitarian regime bent on dominating Australia,” which separates it from investment by British or American investors.
Hamilton illustrates the true purpose of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement. The Agreement,
Was not really about trade; it was about investment. It explicitly agreed to treat Chinese investments no differently to investments by Australians in Australia.
And while Australians gained an additional capacity to invest in China–through the agreement–Australians cannot rely on Chinese courts enforcing the agreement. Contrastingly, Chinese can rely on the agreement being enforced here through Australian courts.
Moreover, the agreement allowed Chinese companies “special migration arrangements for large projects,” so that Chinese rather than Australian workers can be used to complete these jobs.
Both Left and Right Australian globalists celebrated this agreement. However, this “reflected the usual blinkered, short-term perspective” on China. Hamilton noted this investment deal conformed with China’s grand One Belt, One Road plan, for establishing political leverage over its neighbours. Likewise, China’s recent trade agreements–with ASEAN, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea and Australia–reflects an overarching desire to break up US alliances. Something our so-called representatives raised little to no concern about.
Now, more on the scope of Chinese investment in Australia. In 2016-2017, Chinese investment proposals amounted to $20.5 billion, “accounting for fifty-four percent of all foreign proposals. Over eighty percent by value were targeted at energy, mining and utilities.”
China has made particularly far-reaching inroads in investing into Australian Energy. Energy Networks Australia “is the peak body representing the companies that own this country’s electricity and gas distribution networks.” However, “half of those who sit on the board of Energy Networks Australia” are directly or indirectly Beijing-controlled entities.
Hamilton writes of the Chinese policy of buying up Australian ports, evidenced when “a 99 year lease of Darwin Port was sold to a Chinese company with close links to the CCP in 2015.”
Needless to say, these investments have severe potential and/or actual ramifications for Australia. Hamilton points out in a time of war, China would be able to shut down much of our power network and descend Australia into a chaotic state. Undoubtedly, as foreign ownership by China increases across various areas, our capacity to act independently in a time of war is weakened.
But China’s leverage extends beyond these blatant externalities. China could (effectively) limit the amount of energy supplied to compel Australia into obedience, for periods so long as they desired. They can also hold us ransom to potential raises in the domestic price of electricity and gas; a tool that will grow more powerful as their control of our energy market increases.
And when patriotic Chinese companies buy our businesses, they carry motives which extend beyond profit. For example, they may seek to sell their goods back to China at lower prices, thus undercutting Australian businesses. In 2017, Chinese investor Sally Zou declared her mining investments would “sell iron ore to Chinese enterprises at a lower price than Australian mining tycoons, to support the construction of the ancestral nation.”
8. Influence of Huawei and Chinese Spying:
Huaewei is a Chinese telecommunications company that maintains extensive links to the CCP. In America, Australia and across the Western world, it is widely known China can use Huawei’s hardware for spying purposes. This was precisely why its devices were excluded from Australia’s National Broadband Network.
Nevertheless, Huawei has sold equipment to major Australian telecommunication companies, including Vodaphone, Optus and Telstra. With China capable of spying through these devices, it becomes virtually impossible to stop the insidious influence of Chinese spying–even in government departments–where no ban on Huawei equipment is in place.
While China possesses the capacity to covertly spy on us through Huawei and other telecommunications companies (including Hikivision and ZTE), they employ other more overt methods. Hamilton speaks about Tony Abbott’s first trip to China in 2014, accompanied by his chief of staff Peta Credlin. The pair attended the Boao Forum and prior to arrival, were briefed this was the “most bugged” event in China. Accordingly, when Credlin first entered the hotel room at Boao Forum, she “immediately pulled out the plug of her clock radio, and disconnected the TV set.” However soon after, there was a knock at the door. Under the auspice of “housekeeping,” a staff member plugged the radio and TV back in, only for Credlin to pull them out. Again, housekeeping came back, only for Credlin to remove the radio and TV, putting it in the corridor outside their room.
How brash and assured of itself must China be, to engage in such a predatory spying attempt on our Prime Minister?
China outright hacks information from our government agencies, including the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in 2015. In this respect, China is unique by employing abroad private companies to commit cyber theft. Our counter-intelligence agencies often warn of this threat, which is described as being China in all but name.
Equally concerning is the response of Australian leaders to the theft of intellectual property. Hamilton speaks of an executive for Codan (an Adelaide-based communications and mining technology firm) who visited China in 2012. While in China, this executive logged onto his hotel wifi for business and general use. Upon his return to Australia, this executive was “blissfully unaware of any harm, until ASIO officers arrived to reveal that its (Codan’s) computer system had been infiltrated.”
What of the consequences? In 2013-14, Codan’s sales collapsed, and it was “discovered that cheap copies of its product were being manufactured in China and sold in large numbers in Africa.” Now to the Australian government’s response. When Codan’s CEO reached out to the federal government, he was told “you’re on your own,” due to ongoing negotiation over the free trade deal. While ‘appeasement’ is an overused cliché when it comes to countries like Russia or Iran; this is a dynamic entirely befitting of it. Inevitably, the more China is permitted to get away with such behaviour, the more we stand to lose.
In 2016, the “federal government announced a new cyber-security strategy that would pour more resources, staff and determination into protecting Australia from cyber threats.” But given this immediate need for another “100 cyber security specialists” where would such experts come from? Responds Hamilton: “Many will graduate from Deakin University, regarded as Australia’s premier institution for students to specialise in cyber security.” On the University’s Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation, 6 of its 10 academic staff members are Chinese. Often it’s staff members, including Yang Xiang, work closely with Universities that further the People Liberation Army’s cyber capabilities. One must pose the question: how can our cyber intelligence agencies circumvent the Chinese threat, when the skillset and knowledge of our cyber security ‘specialists’ is readily discoverable by the Chinese government?
Meanwhile, in the cyber warfare command of the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA), their chief professor is Hu Jiankun. Jiankun’s published work features in “the top five most secretive research universities in China.” The AFDA is also staffed by ethnic Chinese cleaners, and is dominated by Chinese students–which provide ample opportunities for CCP spying, as has occurred in American Universities and all over the world.
Hamilton writes of ‘honey traps’ China sets for visiting Australian politicians. “There are persistent stories of Australian political representatives on organised visits to China finding ‘girls’ in their hotel room.” Honey traps may be established through “fear of compromising photos with an escort,” or simply “infatuation”: where politicians pass on information to attractive Chinese women, while ignorant of their position as Beijing agents.
After completing a honey trap, Chinese agents use this leverage to bring Australian politicians subserviently into line with CCP interests. On this Chinese success in capturing Australian politicians, Hamilton writes: “I have been told a former senior Australian political leader was caught in such a trap and is now a reliable pro-Beijing commentator.” My sources have too informed me of such a leader, but like Hamilton, I’ll not explicitly who this is.
9) Chinese Influence in CSIRO:
CSIRO–the leading Australian agency for scientific research–has been widely infiltrated by China, through joint projects conducted with Chinese researchers. A high-level of CSIRO experts were born in China, which provides amply opportunity for ‘patriotic’ researchers to share this research with the Chinese regime.
Hamilton sums up the CSIRO Chinese influence, writing: “It’s fair to assume that the results of every piece of scientific research carried out by the CSIRO becomes available free of charge in China.”
10) Chinese Influence in Our Universities:
Hamilton cites Professor Fitzgerald, who says China has “begun to export the style of interventionist academic policing it routinely practices at home,” to ensure Australian universities better conform to Chinese interests.
In today’s university landscape, many academics receive lavish financial returns for lecturing in both Australia and China. But academics deemed ‘unfriendly’ to Beijing are blacklisted, thus incentivising their silence on China’s human rights abuses and geopolitical ambitions. Due to this our universities “have substantially withdrawn their capacity for sustained, genuinely independent analysis of contemporary China or of Chinese history.”
But “if academics will not censor themselves, university administrators will do it for them.” Hamilton describes how our universities have been strong-armed into such action.
In May 2017, Monash University lecturer Aaron Wijernate gave his students a quiz. The students were asked to complete the following statement from a ‘commonly-used’ textbook: “there is a common saying in China that government officials only speak the truth when…” The correct answer was “when they are drunk or careless.” While this joke is widely known in China, a Chinese student complained about the quiz, and the Melbourne Chinese consulate become involved. A consular official phoned Monash’s Dean expressing concern about the quiz, reminding him that 4400 Chinese undergraduate students were paying full fees, and of Monash’s licence to build a graduate school and research institute in China. Subsequently, Monash’s Business School Deputy Dean Robert Brooks suspended Wijernate, withdrew the quiz, and banned this ‘commonly-used’ textbook. China’s Global Times responded triumphantly: “The change we can see here is that as China’s power grows stronger… Thoughtless remarks about China will die down.”
At the University of Sydney in 2017, a lecturer zoomed in on a world map that “showed an Indian version of the disputed India-Bhutan-China borders.” Chinese students protested, and the lecturer was forced to issue an apology. Hamilton follows this incident to its logical conclusion: “presumably, all maps covering disputed territory used at the University of Sydney must in future reflect the PRC’s claims. Other nations’ claims do not count.” There are many similar examples of Chinese influence into universities that Hamilton speaks of.
China has also established 14 Confucius institutes across Australia. These are considered virtual arms of the Chinese state, and many perceive them to threaten academic freedom. For example in 2013, the University of Sydney was “accused of cancelling a visit by the Dalai Lama to avoid damaging its ties with China, including the funding it receives for its Confucius Institute.”
11) Friends of China:
Where ex-Prime Ministers–Kevin Rudd, Paul Keating and Bob Hawke–are deprived for attention, China has stepped in by forging “close relationships with (these) prominent figures… who can be persuaded to disseminate Beijing’s position.”
This is done through regular all-expenses paid trips to China, where these ex-PM’s meet and/or work with prominent Chinese political and business leaders. Bob Hawke for one has facilitated many Chinese business deals, which greatly enriched the retirement of our 23rd Prime Minister.
China is cogniscent of the appeal these ex-prime ministers have in assuaging public opinion, their knowledge of Australian domestic politics; and they have acquired their assistance accordingly. With patriotism no bar and the appeal of prestige, little holds back these former Prime Ministers from serving the Chinese regime.
This parroting of CCP positions isn’t even a matter of subtlety–for the sin of investigating Chinese influence in Australia, Paul Keating believes our security chiefs should be “sacked.”
12) My Key Takeaways:
- Why we need a substantive national identity
Hamilton rightly spoke about the Chinese threat to our national sovereignty and freedom, but is silent on the crucial question of identity. Australia lacks a confidently asserted racial, ethnic, religious, cultural and national identity. Continuing in this vein and given enough time, Australia will be subverted by a more driven and serious actor. If we are to ever overturn Chinese influence, we will require a compelling reason for doing so.
- The inevitable consequences of multi-racialism
We should not conclude–as Hamilton essentially does–the Chinese government bears exclusive culpability for growing Chinese influence in Australia.
Like any other normal group, Chinese people fight for their shared interests. While the CCP apparatus is particularly malignant, Chinese influence is downstream from a more defining entity than governmental structure: race, which is acted on following from the nature of multi-racialism in Australia.
- The inflated weight of Chinese economic measures
Hamilton describes how China uses economic measures to bully countries into line: through trade, investment, cutting off tourists and students. On the few occasions Australia has demonstrated national resolve, China has made veiled threats of enforcing punitive economic actions against Australia.
Because our leaders are obsessed by economics, China possesses tremendous leverage in this area: they are prepared to endure economic pain for the national good; we are not. Until we transcend profit and act according to the true function of our economy, through financial expedients, China will be able to compel Australia into whichever course it so desires.