A silent cry of Chinese Australians in this difficult period

As the Australia-China relations deteriorate further, we are trying to highlight our government focus to maintain and protect our trade relations for the sole national interest of sustaining our economic, providing jobs and peaceful co-existence for all nations in the Asia Pacific.

We are also encouraging our government to position for the leadership of Asia Pacific by a strategic outreach of our influence to win the hearts and minds of SE Asian nations first and then moving north east to include the Koreans, Japan, China and Russia. We ought to be an influential power in the South Pacific as well.

We can do all the above and maintain our military alliance with the US, without having to bow to pressure from China. We can continue to build a bi-lateral relation with China based on mutual economic benefits through trade, mutual respect and understanding. In terms of how to do these, we confidently leave it in the hands of the professional diplomats of the DFAT.

We have been uncomfortable when eyed suspiciously as being disloyal to Australia whenever we promote Australia-China trade relations, but the real truth is that we ought do so for our national interests, to preserve the national economy for all Australians.

It is clear that economic influence of China has been a long time coming, and the past 20 years has witnessed this powerful lever at local level across our communities. All Australians has benefited from this, and from a cultural, heritage, social, investment and trade base, there has emerged enormous relationship capital for us to value and prosper. Over the past 190 years, Chinese Australians have continually engaged and merged into the fabric of society and made their mark in civic and economic contributions at all levels, despite the effects of many decades of adverse policy and legislation on anti-Asian immigration and settlement.

When the bugle sounded, Chinese Australians wore the Australia Armed Forces uniform, fought bravely and gave their lives alongside with the ANZACS, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam wars. We celebrate ANZAC Day to commemorate these Australians who had made the ultimate sacrifice and honour those who survived the wars. We built a war monument in Sydney Chinatown (Goulburn Street), commemorating the Chinese Australian servicemen and women.

Australians of Chinese descent when called up should remember this: We fought because we love our country; not because we hate our enemy (see ref for pictorial details).

The post WW2 Chinese background immigrants to Australia were mainly from the former British colonies and were mainly men and women educated under the British educational system which is similar to Australia. They merge in well with the local born Chinese Australians and the mainstream Australians and were “integrated” into the Australian culture, values and way of life. . The more recent immigrants from China are stringently qualified with English adequacy, higher and needed skill levels under our immigration system. They have been successful in integration in all parts of Australia in the past 30 years. Our multicultural policies and programs have ensured this continues successfully.

As Australians, we understood the meaning of the phrase “my country right or wrong” and when we as citizens are called up, we are obligated to conform to the law.

We do have a view of South China Sea and we believe Australia should tread with caution: (SMH Media comment 28Jul2020). Various recent mainstream media comments view such caution is more within our comfort zone and it has collaborative merits. Australia can reach out more to ally with more SE Asian nations with common regional interests. We recognize that current geopolitical alignment and national interests of SE Asian counties are complicated and complex, and it is difficult and time consuming to get the right level of mutual commitment. We ought to avoid the dilemma, where we find ourselves alone in the Asia Pacific when the missiles start flying.

We are comforted by recent statement by FM Marise Payne “United front? Why Payne and Reynolds went to Washington

“There is no need to kowtow to any side. Payne’s utterance of “independence” is a welcome sign of geopolitical wind remaining static and waiting to change direction. If Payne applies her diplomatic skills to China as she did in the US, we could see a start of an independent foreign policy for Australia in the Asia Pacific region.

One critic has been trolling us on Twitter and attacked the credibility of CCCA and the National Chinese Australian Leaders Group (NCALG). Rather than guessing, all critics are welcome to write to us for more information about the NCALG.

The NCALG is an independent group of leaders that formed an ad hoc group nationally with the intention of organizing an independent Australia-China Think Tank which deals with Chinese Australian issues and supporting Australia-China relations that is consistent with our Australian national interests.

Finally, all NCALG members, not born in Australia or NZ, have chosen to live in Australia and adopt her as their home. Australia is the future for our descendants. They join in with the other immigrants from all over the world to call Australia our home.

Henceforth, we wish to dispel further suspicions and doubt of our loyalty to Australia. We are Australians and “when we die, our ghosts will be Australian”.

For more details of our “cry” please refer to our Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference Committee: CCCA Submission No. 9 on “Inquiry into the issues facing diaspora communities in Australia (July 2020).

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Dr Anthony Pun OAM, is the National President of the Chinese Community Council of Australia (CCCA);

Kinglsey Liu is the Vice-President of the Chinese Community Council of Australian Inc. (CCCA).

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