WANNING SUN.-Response to ‘Red Flag: Waking Up to China’s Challenge’ by Peter Hartcher

Following the logic of his own argument, can we assume that Hartcher now wants to recant the position he has advanced in the Quarterly Essay?

On my first reading of Hartcher’s ‘Red flag’, the following passage leapt out at me:

‘In other words, we understand that you have ties of sentiment and bonds of kinship to other countries, and we’re unconcerned. We know it takes time to put down roots in new social soil. This is part of democratic pluralism and it’s an enrichment of a society. But a nation cannot tolerate acts to advance a foreign political movement with hostile intentions’. (pp. 63-4)

Further down in the essay, Hartcher argues that the Australian government should consider

‘changing the composition [of Australia’s immigration profile] in favour of Chinese immigrants from places other than mainland China. Screening must still apply, of course, but prima facie ethnic Chinese immigrants from Taiwan or Hong Kong are more likely to value Australian liberties. … [Therefore,] preference should not only be given to immigrants with the most suitable work skills but also to those with the most compatible values. (p. 83)

Hartcher also makes it clear that he is making this recommendation in order to ‘improve the balance of risks’ (p. 83).

Let’s think through the logic of Hartcher’s argument. He is saying that PRC migrants are a source of risk, and I presume that he reached that conclusion based at least partly on his own observations of the actions and behaviour of the majority of the PRC migrants who are already here in Australia. Or was it based mainly on the claims made by Dr Feng Chongyi? Or perhaps he received an undisclosed briefing from ASIO that provided him with some concrete evidence to substantiate the public assertions made by retired ASIO head Duncan Lewis – whom Hartcher quotes approvingly? Hartcher leaves us to speculate widely and wildly about the factual basis for his grave fears – fears that are so grave that he advocates a discriminatory change to our immigration policy in relation to our largest trading partner, and the source country of our largest non-Anglo migrant population. Assuming, for a moment, that there is some factual, moral and political cogency to his argument, and that in response the Australian government decides not to accept any further migrants from the PRC. What should the government do with the half a million PRC migrants who are already naturalized Australian citizens?

Given that PRC migrants come from a country with ‘hostile intentions’, as Hartcher puts it, and given that their past, current or possible future behaviour is apparently of sufficient concern to Hartcher that he wants to ‘armour-plate’ (he used this phrase in an interview with Tom Switzer) Australia against any risks posed by them and their homeland, the logical and most urgent thing to do would be to take measures against them – those Chinese who are already here. Surely they are a more credible and imminent threat than any future PRC migrants, who, in the current climate, would come under intense scrutiny during the screening process – even without an outright ban on PRC immigration? Shouldn’t Hartcher be urging the government to take a leaf out of China’s own playbook – or Australia’s own wartime internment playbook – and argue for putting them all into detention or ‘re-education’ camps, as with the Uighurs? If that is the case, then what do you do with the thousands of non-Chinese Australians who have married PRC migrants, not to mention the thousands of children these PRC migrants have produced? How many generations of ‘distance’ from the PRC would they need to demonstrate before qualifying as politically trustworthy? At a minimum, and drawing instead on George Orwell, shouldn’t our domestic intelligence organisations implement widespread and personalised surveillance of all PRC migrants and their close associates – if they haven’t done so already – just to play it safe? And this, of course, would be an excellent justification for a vast increase in funding for these organisations. If China is to be treated seriously as a country with hostile intentions – rather than just being a sacrificial pawn in a game of rhetorical brinksmanship – then the logic of Hartcher’s argument seems to lead him ineluctably down a path very much like this.

Max Suich, a former chief editorial executive of Fairfax, recently observed in a letter to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald that ‘The conspiratorial material, unsourced, that often purports to document the Chinese threat, can only come, directly or indirectly from the intelligence community’s conduits and media handlers’ (Letters to the editor, SMH, 5 December 2019). Suich further observes that ‘these “scoops” have made the threat the dominant theme in discussion of relations with China in what is the liberal wing of the Australian media, which might usually be expected to be a bit more sceptical about the actual dimensions of the threat.’

Like Suich, I’m baffled about why the Left and the Right have become such odd bedfellows over this issue. Does it not intrigue or bother Hartcher, as a senior journalist of the ‘liberal wing of the Australian media’, that he seems to be singing from the same song sheet as Andrew Bolt on the topic of China and Chinese influence?

I think I understand – up to a point. Hartcher abhors Communism, and he’s wary – no, he’s extremely worried – that China intends – and is actively seeking – to infiltrate the so-called free world. He’s keen to see that our democratic values stay constant and strong. He wants to find a way to minimise the likelihood that Australia and the Australian way of life are jeopardised by China’s current and future actions. And many PRC migrants would agree with him; that’s why they’re here, not in China. However, if we were to bring a halt to immigration from the PRC – during peace time – without presenting any evidence that many – or even any – of these possible future migrants harbour ‘hostile intentions’ towards Australia, then this would seem to give expression to a profound lack of confidence in the effectiveness of the capacities of our security and intelligence establishment in screening potential PRC migrants. And if that’s the case, then why should we rely on that establishment in relation to potential immigrants from other nations? Shouldn’t we just pull up the drawbridge on immigration altogether?

Hartcher cites Huang Xiangmo as an example of a Chinese person who was a ‘covert agent of influence for the CCP’ within Australia. But even if we imagine that Huang had been brought to trial and found guilty of the accusations against him that dominated media reports for several weeks, it remains true that the vast majority of PRC migrants in Australia do not act in these ways. So my question to Hartcher is this: what does a PRC migrant or permanent resident in Australia have to do in order to be exempted from his suspicion – given that Hartcher stops short of using ethnic Chineseness as his criterion for discrimination? If Hartcher is reluctant to go down the path of internment camps for former citizens of a country suspected of having ‘hostile intentions’ towards Australia, then what would he count as proof of their loyalty to Australia, in order to justify allowing them to continue going about their lives as normal?

It may be useful for Hartcher to know a few things about how pro-China patriotism works. First, it’s important to make clear that the love that many PRC migrants harbour for their homeland is not exclusively the handiwork of the CCP. If Hartcher believes that, then he’s giving the CCP and its propaganda apparatus far too much credit. It’s also the market – nationalism sells. It’s also the Internet – nationalism can be click bait. And it’s also simply the sense of oneness that we humans seem almost inevitably disposed to feel towards the culture that we are born into and the people who nurture us; even from an evolutionary point of view, nationalism looks like a useful default position. Finally, Hartcher should realise that journalists such as himself may unintentionally lend a helping hand to the CCP in advancing its ideological work within Australia, by effectively pushing many migrants closer to ‘the other side’.

There seems to be a huge blind spot in the narrative of the ‘untrustworthy PRC diaspora’: modern China has experienced only one-party rule. These migrants, and those who remain in China, did not choose to live in a Communist country. They were born into that system. It’s not that there’s the CCP and one or more opposition parties, and that Chinese people have chosen to side with the CCP. It’s therefore not only unfair but also illogical to assume that citizens of the PRC – or PRC migrants – are loyal to the CCP simply because they live – or have lived – in a nation that happens to be ruled by the CCP.

I currently lead a research team, funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant, to investigate the cultural practices of PRC Chinese communities in Australia and their use of Chinese-language digital social media. We have published some of these findings in peer-reviewed journals, and while our research is ongoing, we’re already fully convinced that this is an extremely heterogeneous cohort, marked by great diversity in terms of class background, education level and cosmopolitanism, as well as in their political distance from the PRC. We’ve conducted large-scale surveys, in-depth interviews and longitudinal ethnographic research. Our surveys suggest that PRC migrants don’t always side with the Chinese government on matters of political policy (just as non-Chinese Australians don’t always side with the Australian government on such matters). Most of our survey respondents were very happy to promote Australia and many of them were already active in doing so (https://theconversation.com/new-research-shows-chinese-migrants-dont-always-side-with-china-and-are-happy-to-promote-australia-126677). Our careful analysis of the content of Australia’s Chinese-language media suggests that they are not functioning merely as a blunt and unquestioning tool of the Chinese government and its state media; nor are they just a ventriloquist for mainstream English-language media. Rather, wedged between a frequently anti-Chinese public rhetoric in Australia’s mainstream media and anti-Australian responses in China’s state media, this sector seems to exist profitably by actively giving voice to PRC migrants’ sense of ambivalence towards both Australia and China (https://www.abc.net.au/religion/what-we-learn-from-chinese-language-media-in-australia/11735478). And our engaged ethnographic interaction with more than 40 WeChat groups of PRC migrants indicates that there is a very high level of enthusiasm among first-generation PRC migrants to learn about democratic values, practices and processes. Throughout the summer months when Australia’s bushfires burned, I closely followed how PRC Chinese migrants used WeChat to organise fund-raising events and mobilise fellow citizens to make donations for bushfire victims; how they spread stories about volunteer fire-fighters of Chinese heritage and other generous and compassionate non-Chinese Aussies; and how they engaged in heated debate on the relationship between climate change and bushfires. Their reason for doing these things was simple: as one Chinese community organisation put it, ’Australia is our home‘.

Democracy is Australia’s biggest soft power asset, and we must work hard to keep it. But if you start to think, talk and behave like an authoritarian government, and start to distrust your own citizens and question the allegiance of PRC migrants on the basis of the actions of a few individuals, then you are taking a crucial step towards undermining the ‘brand’ of Australia as a liberal democracy, and effectively shooting yourself in the foot. And that’s certainly not the way to ‘armour-plate’ Australia.

Finally, I’d like to quote an excellent piece recently written by Hartcher on the topic of Scott Morrison’s lack of leadership. There, he says:

Populism – of the left and the right – is a political style offering unworkably simplistic solutions to complex problems. … Our leaders do not single out Muslims or Mexicans or other minorities for special exclusion. Our leaders do not risk national breakup by sponsoring divisive shocks, like the one now testing the unity of the United Kingdom. (‘“In denial, in hiding or in Hawaii”: Scott Morrison goes MIA’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 December 2019; https://www.smh.com.au/national/in-denial-in-hiding-or-in-hawaii-scott-morrison-goes-mia-20191220-p53lw1.html)

In this piece Hartcher appears to be arguing directly against the position he had articulated in the Quarterly Essay, where he urged our leaders to ‘single out’ prospective PRC migrants – literally – ‘for special exclusion’. There, he appeared unconcerned that his position amounted to an ‘unworkably simplistic’ and seemingly populist solution to a deeply ‘complex problem’. Following the logic of his own argument, can we assume that Hartcher now wants to recant the position he has advanced in the Quarterly Essay?

Response to ‘Red Flag: Waking Up to China’s Challenge’ Published in Quarterly Essay, Issue 77, 2020, pp.133-137

Wanning Sun FAHA is Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UTS.


Wanning Sun FAHA is Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UTS.

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15 Responses to WANNING SUN.-Response to ‘Red Flag: Waking Up to China’s Challenge’ by Peter Hartcher

  1. Avatar Gavin O'Brien says:

    Jack, I agree with the tenor of your critige.
    It beggars belief that Chinese immigrants coming to Australia, either direct or after being here as students, would wish to be agents for the CCP. There is no doubt that the CCP tries to infiltrate and influence the Chinese community in Australia and other parts of Asia with large ethnic Chinese communities. They are certainly not alone, Russia and certain Middle Eastern countries seem to be doing the same.We need to be vigilant but not paranoid about these practices.
    For the record throughout China’s long history, surpassing by centuries, our Western heritage , authoritarian rule has been the norm . China has never had ‘democracy’.

  2. Avatar Anthony Pun says:

    I suppose Peter Hartcher should blame and single me out (including two NSW former MLCs, the Hons Henry Tsang & Dr Peter Wong) for the successful lobbying of 44,600 plus Chinese students to remain in Australia through former PM Bob Hawke and former Immigration Minister Nick Bolkus. https://johnmenadue.com/anthony-pun-history-of-multiculturalism-part-1-early-development-chinese-australian-community-involvement-and-chinese-students/
    There is no need to speculate why Left & Right were such odd bed fellows because both of their parties wanted to play the race card for votes! The current slant on national security, FITS legislation and looking for Reds under bed, has remained unchanged. On this issue, Paul Hanson, MP, has done well, in dragging the “boys” by the nose to play the racist card on politics for VOTES!
    Hartcher’s reading of the wide 1.2 million Chinese Australian diasporas is not exactly correct. The simplistic partition of pro-CCP or anti-CCP according to place of birth of ethnic Chinese, is entirely flawed. The notion that ethnic Chinese form HK or Taiwan is anti-Chinese government is also flawed. I bet Hartcher would also guess wrong what the political attitudes of ethnic Chinese from different SE Asian countries are. Or understand the core culture of overseas Chinese to see the difference between Chinese nationalism and Chinese empathy via cultural teachings by word of mouth through the generations. See https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Chinese-nationalism-so-popular-on-Quora-While-obviously-nationalism-exists-in-all-countries-it-seems-disproportionately-popular-when-it-comes-to-questions-about-China/answer/Anthony-Pun
    As observed by Prof Sun, Hartcher is ambivalent about Chinese matters and to his credit, the community issued this comment which appeared in the SMH 4Feb2020): The Chinese Community Council of Australia wish to thank Peter Hartcher for showing an empathy with the Chinese Australian (CA) community with this statement “the national government needs to stem the fear and suspicion of Chinese people, and even anyone who might be mistaken for being Chinese. Australia has a deep national investment in the wellbeing of its 1.2 million Chinese Australians.”

    “Expert” Chinese critics would be more sophisticated if they are prepared to learn more about Chinese history, culture, philosophy and religion, ie. the civilization of China. For this reason, the most noble cause of highlighting human right abuses to China falls on deaf ears because of geopolitical bias and culturally unacceptable arguments. https://www.quora.com/Is-there-a-problem-with-Australia-s-approach-to-human-rights-in-the-PRC/answer/Anthony-Pun
    Finally, Mr. Barney Zwartz – With due respect, your perception about P&I being over friendly with China is not correct! I don’t see any pro-CCP or “Red” writers in this blog or perhaps it has been edited out!!

  3. “Does it not intrigue or bother Hartcher, as a senior journalist of the ‘liberal wing of the Australian media’, that he seems to be singing from the same song sheet as Andrew Bolt on the topic of China and Chinese influence?”

    Mr Hartcher spent some years in Tokyo for that ‘liberal wing of the Australian media’ at the same time as myself. What’s more he was located in the same building as myself, together with other liberal media people. But we never got to see Mr Hartcher. He refused invitations. He seemed to prefer talking to the Australian Embassy, mainly the military and intelligence people there, as far as we could discover.

  4. Avatar Jocelyn Pixley says:

    Thanks for your measured criticism. I stopped reading Hartcher when he was obsessed about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s removal from office.
    Years ago, a high school boy whom I taught always asked the whole class and teachers home for dinner once a year. The family’s friendliness and their Chinese food were sensational; they have relatives living across Australia, whose ancestors arrived in about the 1830s-40s to live up in New England (NSW). This was before the 1851 gold rushes, when Chinese miners were treated terribly. Much later my former student said that he’s always asked where he’s from, and he says Coogee. White supremacism is evil. I’d hoped for better in Australia, until the 1990s dashed those hopes.

  5. Avatar Malcolm Crout says:

    I see few contradictions in Peter Hartcher’s views.

    I don’t agree with all of them just as I don’t agree with some of the points made by this author, but I am concerned at the nit picking nature of this article, which develops into a bellicose challenge at the right of Hartcher to put forward his views. I would add that these views resonate with much of the Australian community.

    Let’s be candid. There is world concern about China interfering in other countries’ governance and that demands open and full discussion. China has been obscure to say the least when they explain their intentions. ( questions are put to the USA who may or may not be forthcoming, but are generally more open) This may concern discussing the interference allegedly made by China through the Chinese diaspora and I understand this can be an awkward conversation. Because it’s awkward shouldn’t mean it’s one we shouldn’t have or that people become illogically defensive. This is the way the Chinese State works and there is no place for that in a democracy.

  6. Avatar Rex Williams says:

    One should NOT assume that Hatcher “wants to recant the position he has advanced in the Quarterly Essay”, as stated above.

    Instead one should remember that Hartcher is a journalist, first and foremost, one who has survived the transfer of ownership from one weary old media experienced company to a crass football television network, an organisation with little interest in anything but profit, as noticeably reflected in any issue of any publication that bears the name of The Sydney Morning Herald or any other masthead under their banner in 2019-2020.

    Therefore he has learnt to swim in all weather conditions. If his new employers are anti the PRC for some reason, any reason at all in Australia or elsewhere, or alternatively, if they have a need for support from China’s direction, (unlikely, however) then he is eminently capable of changing horses midstream just to fulfil the need to to keep his job. He is not a John Pilger or a Robert Fisk, those few journalists whose fame was generated over decades by telling the truth. They are rare. We have no one that even comes close.

    So he will probably listen to the “intelligence” sources (a misnomer) as a start, those who are located in Canberra’s buildings and those wandering the halls and dark corners of so many ANU offices in various highly imaginative roles and then give anything that smells of China a long hard serve as suits the US climate at that time and his informant’s credibility, being always cognisant of their need to maintain their well-remunerated roles in ‘Security and Intelligence’. Rational thinking from those ”experts” will go out the door, common sense and the truth will be put on hold to be later discarded, as we then see some member of Parliament from some grand “Committee” with a highly imaginative title, deliver to our sleepy elected members in great pomp and circumstance, the well considered US reasons why the Chinese should be shunned. The frontbenchers (both sides) will agree wholeheartedly as they do on all things that have their birth in the US State Department and the nodding backbenchers will nod in unison.
    That’s how it becomes policy. Nodding in unison.

    And then it shall be carved in stone by a Cabinet, the likes of which we have thankfully never seen before, sadly, with a PM to match.

    We’ve seen it for a year or so and will continue to see it as before. It is our response to our typical ‘yes sir’/ ‘no sir’ role as tame little US lapdogs. No independence, no original ideas, no rational thoughts on the future dealings with our #1 export market, called China, showing little or no respect for their grand achievements over the past fifty years.

    What partners we could have been. We will pay for that lack of rationality.

    The likes of Hartcher, a seasoned journalist, well and truly knows the ropes and whose drum he should be beating on any day of any year. He is a pro.

    Tomorrow though? Let’s wait until then and see what the USA, our manipulated politicians and his “Intelligence” informants want him to say. One thing for sure, the chapters will be written by the USA.

  7. Avatar Mark Skinner says:

    It sounds like Mr Hartcher has an opinion with very little to back it up. The implication that there might be an intelligence source sounds rather like an appeal to authority designed to bolster that tenuous case.

    Why would an intelligence source leak this to Mr Hartcher? To publicly urge the government to do something that would more easily and be better done on the quiet? Hardly. To thwart an elected government that had decided the present policy was suitable? Tinfoil hat territory right here. However, if so, that would be a bigger story, and Mr Hartcher hasn’t gone there.

  8. Avatar Andrew Glikson says:

    As a broad but not invalide observation, a large part of the “fourth Estate” has and continues to forment fear and hate toward other couutries, in particular those which happen to be regarded as adversaries of the global empire, i..e. the US. If and when this leads to open conflict, which in the nucear age can lead to horendous consequences, it will be recorded in history that, instead of attempting to advocate peaceful solutions, large parts fo the media has been pushing in the direction of war.

  9. Avatar Barney Zwartz says:

    I value Pearls and Irritations as a window on the Australian world, and purveyor of intelligent and often counter-cultural opinions. But one thing that disturbs me slightly is my perception that it is over-friendly to the Chinese government, complacent about lack of threat and always looking to defend it.
    Chinese people are just people, the same as people everywhere. I have no problem with Chinese people. I have many problems with the Chinese Government, its belligerence, its self-pity, its bullying, its persecution of minorities, its harvesting of organs from Falun Gong and the like, its constant attacks on Australia via cyber warfare and attempts to control Australian universities and how Australia depicts China.
    China is a hostile state. It is not neutral. I have been told by those who should know that ASIO spends more effort on Chinese citizens than Muslims these days, and that is appropriate.
    But the vast majority of Chinese Australian citizens are like any other expatriate group, looking only to build their own lives and communities and also to build Australia. They are very welcome here. To question the Chinese Government is not racist, and it is not to cast doubt on all Chinese immigrants.

    • Avatar Malcolm Crout says:

      Well said Mr Zwartz.

      If there are questions to be asked, then they should be asked by anyone with an interest without a fear of being labelled as racists or xenophobic. After all this is a democratic value which should be supported and not decried.

      I feel the same as you regarding the distinct differences between Chinese migrants and the Chinese Regime. I disagree with the author that the state was forced upon them. Other countries were faced with similar formative processes and resisted in body and soul to retain freedoms; some eventually turning back the tide. It’s often said that people get Governments they deserve, which resonates with historical events throughout the ages. Why would be judge the Chinese any differently when we didn’t do so with Germany or Japan for example?

      There are strong under currents within Australia of the need to defend China against any criticism. This is the China that imprisons ethnic groups, censors the press, imprisons suspected dissidents without trial, just to mention a handful. Have we really forgotten Tibet?

      I make no apology for having strong suspicions about the global intentions of the Chinese State. These suspicions are confirmed progressively as China moves further into expansionary mode….. and no that doesn’t mean that I support US world activities.

      It confuses me that people who fled from oppression of a totalitarian state and become citizens in another feel any sense of obligation or affection to their past country. I’m sure most Chinese migrants just want to get on with their lives, but if familial ties to relatives stuck in China sway their thinking, then why did they become Australian citizens in the first place? I thought that was all covered in the citizenship oath.

    • Avatar Rex Williams says:

      It is pleasing to see the supportive comments from Cameron Leckie and James O’Neill in response to this article. Realists, both.

      Once again we see listed above, this time by Mr. Zwartz in his first paragraph, the comments about some of the failings and unacceptable policies of the People’s Republic of China today, listed, as is a common practice by those who consider that a country can become a perfect democracy from what China was, just seventy short years ago, without still needing changes today. Point out a perfect democracy, anywhere.
      Even China knows that they have a way to go yet.

      One its therefore tempted to mention that the USA…. by comparison…. with its “democratic” experience since their Constitution was penned so long ago in 1787, is so much more frightening with its values, its hegemonic aims and practices, its barbaric behaviour and bullying, issuing again today further inhumane sanctions against a country like Iran to gain further advantage for yet another attempted regime change, thereby using the current pandemic as a weapon.
      How many millions have died in the world through those kind of US actions over time, Mt. Zwartz? Has China started a war in your lifetime?

      Has America? Certainly. 12 wars to their credit and 72 attempts at regime change and still going strong with many more “on the table”.

      Do you even remember what China was after WWII?

      Now look at what China is today. The best way to do that is to research the successful industrial organisations today, here and all around the world and to see what percentage of their revenue comes from products / components made in China. Not a bad effort I would suggest. While there, look at the financial dependence this country has on that same country, one that is our #1 export partner and what that will mean to us in 2020. Now should they tire of our US-influenced anti-China rhetoric and find other supportive, yes ‘friendly’ avenues for their needs, we’ll far better understand then what value that represented over all those years. And for what will we lose that valuable marketplace? To remain a US lapdog, without independence, without respect, fighting wars based on any US State Department direction, anywhere they demand.
      Now there’s something to make an Australian really proud.

      What country is perfect? Not China, but certainly not Australia either under a feeble government with questionable values, a government which wastes time and money on an unwanted, unneeded Religious Discrimination Bill; which prosecutes loyal Australians like Bernard Collaery and ‘Witness K’ for telling the truth about East Timor and our criminal behaviour against the one of the poorest countries in the world; with a ‘leader’ who is perhaps the most disrespected PM we have ever witnessed and a parliament of predominantly second rate members, now enjoying a break from their roles for five months….on full pay.

      When one makes comparisons, when one criticises a country for any reason, one needs to consider all the factors, not choose to be selective to make a point or to totally ignore the history and record of others.

  10. Avatar James O'Neill says:

    In my 18 years in this country I have observed a number of recurring traits. One is the deep seated racism of a large number of Australians who appear never to have looked at a map, or the trade figures, or reflected on the fact that they are very recent inhabitants of this continent. Another is the degree of deference offered to some journalists who pontificate in solemn fashion (of whom Hartcher is a classic example) but whose writings betray many unpleasant traits and the examples you use illustrate the point perfectly.
    An observation of Australia’s post colonial history shows that they went from being a British colony to an American one with scarcely an independent period. Hartcher’s views precisely reflect American ignorance and prejudice. It is a singularly dangerous phenomenon. Not because the Chinese are likely to invade or any similar fantasy, but because the time will soon come when they have had enough of Australian bigotry and racism and take their business elsewhere.

  11. Avatar roma guerin says:

    Thank you for bringing some fresh air into this rather manufactured “problem”. One only has to look at the incredible powers given to Peter Dutton to control the equally manufactured problem of invisible “terrorist threats”. Billions of Australian dollars handed over without a blush and no accountability. I will be watching for Mr Hartcher’s response.

  12. Avatar Teow Loon Ti says:

    Ms Sun,

    Thank you for putting the predicament of a “genetically” Chinese migrant in perspective. About thirty years ago, a young student of mine decided to question my loyalty to Australia. His own loyalty to Australia was premised on the fact that his grandparents migrated to Australia from the United Kingdon. Without going into the details of that shocking experience, I said that the two famous spies who betrayed the UK to the Soviet Union were Kim Philby and Donald MaClean, two “dinky-di” Brits. This boy was only 18 years old. Boys at that age can be forgiven.


    Teow Loon Ti

  13. Avatar Cameron Leckie says:

    A great article.

    There is a saying that you ‘imitate what you contemplate.’

    The more we contemplate the over-hyped China threat the more we will turn into an authoritarian state in an effort to ‘save democracy’. The irony!

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