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Academic freedom and relationships with China

Written By: - Date published: 8:07 am, November 26th, 2018 - 108 comments
Categories: act, China, david seymour, greens, human rights, International, jacinda ardern - Tags:

The strange case involving Professor Anne Marie Brady and the apparently politically inspired burglaries of her home and office and the allegation of tampering with her car received further coverage by Matt Nippert in the Herald this morning.

Police investigations are continuing.  As detailed by Nippert:

To date police have made only one brief comment on the affair, saying in September while it was a “complex case” they had “positive lines of inquiry” and Interpol were involved.

It is understood a secretive branch of police, the national security investigations team typically employed to handle terrorism and espionage cases, is working the case.

The article includes this open letter signed by twenty eight senior academics and researchers including Nicky Hager.  The letter says this:

As New Zealand academics, researchers and human rights advocates, we have been shocked and disturbed by the reports of intimidation and harassment suffered byProfessor Anne-Marie Brady of Canterbury University. According to news reports, she has been repeatedly burgled and her car tampered with, starting from December 2017. Reports have suggested that these events are related to her high-profile academic work on overseas influence campaigns by the government of the People’s Republic of China. Attempts to intimidate and harass one academic in New Zealand have implications for the freedoms of all the others – and indeed, for the freedoms of all who live here, including migrant communities and tangata whenua. Freedom of expression and academic freedom are taken for granted in New Zealand, as givens upon which our social and political norms are based. Threats to these freedoms should not be taken lightly. In these uncertain times, these are principles to hold to, and are not to be traded away.

We note that universities in New Zealand are legally obliged to act as “critic and conscience of society” (Education Act, 1989). For that obligation to be fulfilled, academics must be able to work without fear. As such, we echo the recent calls by Professors of Chinese history and literature Geremie Barmé and John Minford for the New Zealand authorities to take the threats against Professor Brady more seriously, in consideration of their implications for all New Zealanders. We reject any attempt to blame or scapegoat whole ethnic communities in New Zealand for threats to academic freedoms, and urge the government to be transparent in the outcome of any investigation in order to help prevent this. We also urge Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to make a clear statement in defence of academic freedom in New Zealand in light of the Brady case, and to be very clear that any intimidation and threats aimed at silencing academic voices in this country will not be tolerated.

The Greens and ACT have also indicated support for the intent of the letter.  David Seymour has gone further and chosen to attack Ardern:

It’s been far too long for an issue as important as academic freedom, and ultimately New Zealand’s freedom and sovereignty,” he said.

“It makes you wonder if Winston and Jacinda are living on their knees because they’re too scared to die on their feet – and this position is not acceptable to rest of the country.”

The criticism is unfair.  Of course she should wait for the inquiry to conclude before saying anything.  When relationships with China are concerned you do not blunder in.

This is not a particular problem for only New Zealand.  Last year then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a ban of political donations from foreign sources.  And Labor has called for a Parliamentary Inquiry into foreign influence on Australian politics.

The incident brings into sharp focus National’s acceptance and the apparent carve up to hide a $100,000 donation from Chinese sources.  The police inquiry into that is ongoing.  If it was not for the salacious details of some of Jami-Lee Ross’s revelations I suspect this particular allegation would have had even more attention focussed on it.  Although the claim that two Chinese MPs are more valuable than two Indian MPs is still resonating through the ethnic community.  And there is the troubling concern about the links that National MP Jian Yang may have with the Chinese Government.

This is not a simple issue for Ardern.  How do you handle relations with arguably the most powerful nation in the world when these allegations are swirling around.  I am not surprised that planned trips to China by Ardern have been postponed.

108 comments on “Academic freedom and relationships with China ”

  1. Ed 1

    Those that signed.

    Tony Blackett, Executive Director, Amnesty International New Zealand
    Anne-Marie Brook, Co-founder, Human Rights Measurement Initiative (Motu Economic and Public Policy Research) New Zealand Alternative
    Dr Julienne Molineaux, Auckland University of Technology
    Dr Kate Nicholls, School of Social Sciences and Public Policy, Auckland University of Technology
    Asssociate Professor Jane Verbitsky, School of Social Sciences and Public Policy, Auckland University of Technology
    Dr Cristina Parra, School of Social Sciences and Public Policy, Auckland University of Technology
    Dr Antje Deckert, School of Social Sciences and Public Policy, Auckland University of Technology
    Dr Carol Neill, School of Social Sciences and Public Policy, Auckland University of Technology
    Dr Kirsten Hanna, School of Social Sciences and Public Policy, Auckland University of Technology
    Dr David Hall, Senior Researcher, The Policy Observatory, Auckland University of Technology
    Professor of Law Kate Diesfeld, Auckland University of Technology
    Associate Professor Ineke Crezee, School of Language and Culture, Auckland University of Technology
    Dr Pat Strauss, School of Language and Culture, Auckland University of Technology
    Associate Professor Nicola Gaston, Department of Physics, University of Auckland
    Kate Hannah, Research Fellow, University of Auckland/PhD Candidate, Science and Society Centre, VUW
    Dr Matheson Russell, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Auckland
    Dr Barbara Grant, Associate Professor, Higher Education, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland
    Dr Lindsey Te Ata o Tu MacDonald, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Canterbury
    Professor Jack Heinemann, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury
    Dr Jarrod Gilbert, Department of Sociology and Anthropology,
    University of Canterbury Robert Patman, Professor of International Relations, Department of Politics, University of Otago
    Professor Jack Vowles, Professor of Comparative Politics, Victoria University of Wellington
    Professor Tahu Kukutai, University of Waikato
    Dr Reuben Steff, School of Social Studies, University of Waikato
    Nicky Hager, Author
    Dr Paul G Buchanan, IGIS Reference Group member, 36th Parallel
    Dr Christopher Fung, Director Native American and Indigenous Studies, and Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, University of Massachusetts Boston
    Tze Ming Mok, PhD Candidate, Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science

  2. Ad 2

    China not having the time to receive a state visit from us is a political signal in this context.

    I was impressed with the independence shown by Minister Andrew Little with regard to the Huawei ban request from the US. Clearly different to the Australian Federal government ban, and a big signal to China.

    I expect the same kind of independence of thought from our Prime Minister.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      The Big Hack: How China Used a Tiny Chip to Infiltrate U.S. Companies

      The attack by Chinese spies reached almost 30 U.S. companies, including Amazon and Apple, by compromising America’s technology supply chain, according to extensive interviews with government and corporate sources.

      Yeah, Little isn’t showing independence but is kowtowing to China.

      • cleangreen 2.1.1

        This is a huge story that Jacinda needs to get control over Chinese influence in NZ now.

        A member of the Chinese governement MP Jian Yang National List 2011- is inside our National Party as a MP already now.

        China was found to be rigging US elections in 2000; Yang enterprises was the company with connections to the Chinese government.

        Chinese spies were also behind the 2000 Florida election bungles as “yang enterprises were found to be working for the Chinnese Government at the time that a US citizen “Clint Curtis” gave Congressional evidence that Yang Enterprises were asking him as a computer scientist to rig that election in Florida.


        • Draco T Bastard

          Making sense of the Supermicro motherboard attack

          Where does this leave us? There are few facts, and much supposition. However, the following scenario does seem to make sense. Let’s assume an implant was added to the motherboard at manufacture time. This needed modification of both the board design, and the robotic component installation process. It intercepts the SPI lines between the flash and the BMC controller. Unless the implant was designed with a very high technology, it may be enough to simply divert the boot process to fetch firmware over the network (either the Internet or a compromised server in the organisation), and all the complex attacks build from there — possibly using PCI Express and/or the BMC for exfiltration.

          If the implant is less sophisticated than others have assumed, it may be feasible to block it by firewalling traffic from the BMC — but I can’t see many current owners of such a board wanting to take that risk.

          So, finally, what do we learn? In essence, this story seems to pass the sniff test. But it is likely news to many people that their systems are a lot more complex than they thought, and in that complexity can lurk surprising vulnerabilities.

      • Unicus 2.1.3

        Absolutely true Andrew is cowtowing . In the big picture the US and Australia are our vital allies China is not .This is no time for divided response from our politicians – if they are going to rescue us from the Chinese maw they need to act together

        • Draco T Bastard

          We don’t need rescuing from the ‘Chinese maw’. We need to pull ourselves out, to actually become an independent nation capable of standing on our own. Then we can stand with those other nations that have the same principles as us (which excludes the US BTW).

    • D'Esterre 2.2

      Ad: “I expect the same kind of independence of thought from our Prime Minister.”

      I do hope so.

    • SPC 2.3

      Independence or servitude?

      If this government cannot even use Huawei being allowed here to leverage a trade deal equivalent to the Oz-China one, they are pretty dumb negotiators.

      PS The “problem” with Huawei is the speed and mass data capability, which means it has plenty in reserve (great for companies who take it up in terms of future function, but a security risk in terms in what it could be gathering up).

      • Unicus 2.3.1

        The widrawal of the CCP invitation to our PM to meet Xie can reasonably be construed as a victory for her progressive disengagement approach .

        She should – and is – exiting the bed of vipers Helen and Key dumped us in

        A belt of constraint and a one way road – not today thanks – not ever . .

  3. Anne 3

    Anne Mare Brady is clearly being harassed and intimidated by Chinese operatives because of her academic work. You don’t need a year long ongoing investigation to be able to come to that conclusion. As far as I can tell no Chinese official in NZ or elsewhere has denied the charge.

    PM, Jacinda Ardern or someone on her behalf should tell the Chinese Ambassador that this is not the way we do business in NZ. That in fact such activity is against our laws and it must immediately cease.

    This type of behaviour however is not new to NZ. During the Cold War years it was not uncommon for some homes and offices to be broken into and papers etc. disturbed. The culprits were rarely caught and often the target was entirely innocent of any wrong doing – just the victim of someone have a ‘paranoid day at the office’.

    • ianmac 3.1

      Shouldn’t there be first real evidence of Chinese wrong doing? Wait and see I think.

      • Anne 3.1.1

        But there is ianmac. She is being intimidated and her car has been tampered with. If it is anything like my experiences back in the 1980s it could escalate from there. In my case someone was making false accusations which is different to this case.

        Anne Marie Brady is doing the right thing coming out into the open with her experiences. She is in a better position than anyone to be able to identify the culprits.

      • Dennis Frank 3.1.2

        Wrong-doers are usually reluctant to provide real evidence. Strangely so? Not really, if conspiracies actually happen. Sceptics will take refuge in the lack of proof: repeat burglaries and vehicle tampering are just a string of coincidences. Criminals abound, so it’s just her bad luck that some happened to target her.

        Courts decide cases on such circumstantial evidence. Often it just takes a motive, such as her criticism of Chinese infiltration, plus evidence of crimes committed, such as burglary and vehicle tampering, for a jury to establish guilt. The communist regime will say `nothing to do with us, we were in China when these things happened’. Fair enough as far as that goes, but in the court of public opinion people will say `if it walks like a duck & quacks like a duck, let’s roast it for dinner’. They’ll know chinese agents are responsible.

        • ianmac

          Being suspicious is not the same as bringing a secure charge. Jacinda cannot possibly accuse China unless there is proof.
          “Excuse me Mr China. We think some nasty Chinese people are interfering with our Academic freedom. Stop it at once I say. Well the evidence points your way so it must be true.”

          • Dennis Frank

            I’m not suggesting she accuse China. All she need do at a press conference is say she is extremely concerned at the pattern of criminal behaviour, and point out that if it continues, public opinion in Aotearoa will solidify against China.

            She could then suggest that it is not in China’s interests for that to happen. She could also point out that the selective targeting of critics of Chinese infiltration in NZ is more likely to polarise public opinion against such infiltration than build support for it, so it seems to be a self-defeating strategy. She could also clarify that she’s not suggesting the communist govt is using such a strategy. She could say she doubts they are that stupid. Reporters could then respond that the evidence suggests they actually are that stupid.

          • Sanctuary

            The worry is not that we won’t do anything because we have no evidence. The worry is we won’t do anything even when we have the evidence because our political and business elites are already completely addicted to Chinese cash.

            • ianmac

              Bit tough there Sanctuary. “The worry is we won’t do anything even when we have the evidence…”
              Condemned before the trial? I think Jacinda will act when time is right.

          • patricia bremner

            Yes ianmac, and Interpol is now involved, so the NZ Police involvement may have conclusions leading to the inclusion of Interpol, so the investigation is ongoing.

            Until there is concrete or irrefutable evidence presented, we have to be patient and diplomatic.

            However we are aware there is a real possibility of interference, so airing our views and tightening our scrutiny of possible questionable behaviour and actions is pertinent.

            When and if espionage is uncovered, or deliberate threats to our academic freedoms including attacks on individuals or systems are proven, we must act.

            Jacinda Ardern has shown decisive action in the face of serious problems, and where it was required, thoughtful balanced responses. As has Andrew Little.
            IMO they will prove to have the required mettle and will not be bullied.

            The current government is happy to trade with China, but is aware of the pitfalls, and they have already indicated their willingness to provide money to Island groups faced with China;s “cash for influence” moves in the Pacific region.
            So we are not alone with this problem.

        • greywarshark

          Out of the frying pan into the fire perhaps.
          Anyone for Peking Duck?

    • the other pat 3.2

      china will not give a rats arse what we say to them…..they want their global silk road and they will have it…money talks

  4. Lucy 4

    So this academic has been publishing since 2003 but has only had a deliberate campaign since 2017. As well as questions now maybe we should be asking why these break ins were not happening during the Key governments time. If China is desperate to see her research then was our intelligence service involved the other way prior to the election?

    • D'Esterre 4.1

      Lucy: “So this academic has been publishing since 2003…”

      Longer than that, I believe. I remember her name from my days studying Mandarin in the mid- to late 90s.

      Interesting that this problem has surfaced only now, all these years later.

    • greywarshark 4.2

      I think National were so close we felt they were almost kissing cuzins, cuzzybros almost. There were demands from China not to say this, do that, have that be seen in a photo etc. The international game playing gets sharper by the year.
      Do they play rugby in China? Perhaps we need to open some more cultural contacts?

    • Incognito 4.3

      She may have been on somebody’s radar for much longer than since 2017.

      Why do you think it is a NZ factor that has seemingly changed things?

      Could it be a jilted lover, a jealous colleague, or a disturbed stalker?

  5. The Chairman 5

    It has been reported that Professor Anne Marie Brady said the police investigation was over.

    Yet, a spokesperson for the PM said it was still under investigation by the police.

    So which is it?

    • patricia bremner 5.1

      Interpol is involved…. so the investigation continues and our police have members in Interpol.

  6. Bill 6

    Some might say that Anne-Marie Brady is a bit of a swivel eyed loon, or just a ho-hum academic seeking oxygen. I couldn’t possibly comment on that.

    But listening to a 30 min interview she gave to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, she’s waving her arms a lot and not saying a damned thing. China isn’t doing anything that any other government might do and does do to enhance it’s presence and influence abroad.

    Listen to the interview, but listen and compare


    Maybe some poor wee politically driven poppets in NZ are feeling left out because “Russia!” doesn’t really count down here, so “China!”?

    The woman’s office and house and office were broken into and computer stuff taken because….unlike the NSA and others, China lacks the ability to hack and monitor people it might be concerned about? Is that the line we’re to buy in to?

    On academic freedom, withdrawing funding from academics and researchers who aren’t toeing the line, or who are speaking up or out about some stuff (Mike Joy comes to mind) – that’s a nefarious Chinese strategy is it? Not a bog standard NZ one?

    Promoting favoured cultural groups (she doesn’t mention political groups or lobby groups) and seeking to influence the content of Chinese language publications is, I admit, something that should be of deep, deep concern! God forbid that news becomes curated. /sarc

    Approaching individual MPs to see if they’re sympathetic to aspects of Chinese foreign policy, and doing it in a way that by no measure has the penetration or influence of (say) AIPAC, or the influence at the level of the individual MP that multiple “fellowship” programmes like the Eisenhower Fellowship may have…yup, I can see why the barricades ought to be manned 🙂

    • Antoine 6.1

      > Some might say that Anne-Marie Brady is a bit of a swivel eyed loon

      Some might say that you are a bit of a swivel eyed loon, but generally they are too polite. Perhaps you should extend the same courtesy to others


      • Bill 6.1.1

        Pretty sure you didn’t read beyond that first sentence before firing off that response A. When you want to engage on the substance of whatever I’m writing, be sure to let me know, aye?

      • Unicus 6.1.2

        People called Ed Hillary unkind names because he believed he could take on the tallest mountain in the world

        Anne-Marie Brady’s name will be remembered as a hero in the democratic world long after her detractors are gone and forgotten .

    • Anne 6.2

      The woman’s office and house and office were broken into and computer stuff taken because….unlike the NSA and others, China lacks the ability to hack and monitor people it might be concerned about? Is that the line we’re to buy in to?

      If the aim of the exercise is to intimidate her – and that looks to me what it is about – then that is how they would go about it. And just to make sure she knows why they are attacking her, they remove computer material no doubt associated with her research work on Chinese govt. modus operandi. And then just to make the point more obvious they sabotage a couple of tyres. What is next on the list? Whether one agrees with her conclusions or not, it is clear she is being terrorised by someone.

      • Bill 6.2.1

        Have you read her “Magic Weapons” guff, or listened to the pod cast I linked?

        She isn’t saying a damned thing – only offering up a descriptive analysis of the various facets of Chinese government that focus on foreign stuff. I’d suggest that anyone with the time and inclination could draw up the same descriptive analysis. No-one would care. It’s a nothing. It’s more or less what would be expected from looking at any government with an interest in having influence beyond its national borders.

        The only thing worth noting is the spin she puts on it. And that spin is as tedious as it is predictable – it’s just the bog standard “hawk” line beloved of the type of “think tank” she’s associated with.

        If there was some revelation in what she was saying…

        • Chris

          I agree with everything you say about Anne-Marie Brady’s analysis. It’s lightweight ideologically-driven claptrap. A recent interview of her on RNZ pretty much confirmed this.

          But how do you explain the attacks on her home etc? This I don’t get. Surely if AMB’s analysis was that innocuous nobody would care? How ever wrong, inaccurate, scaremongering, irrelevant or just plain boring what she says may be, surely what are clearly physically violent attacks can’t be justified?

    • D'Esterre 6.3

      Bill: “….not saying a damned thing. China isn’t doing anything that any other government might do and does do to enhance its presence and influence abroad.”

      My impression as well. I’ve read Brady’s paper “Magic Weapons”. I recommend it to others.

      “China lacks the ability to hack and monitor people it might be concerned about?”

      Exactly. And letting down tyres, or whatever it is claimed has happened? And we’re supposed to believe this? China is a tech-savvy polity: such a stunt sounds like something a gang member would do. Or the local hoods. I remain sceptical.

      “On academic freedom, withdrawing funding from academics and researchers who aren’t toeing the line, or who are speaking up or out about some stuff (Mike Joy comes to mind) – that’s a nefarious Chinese strategy is it? Not a bog standard NZ one?”

      Yup. Let him who is without sin cast the first stone, and all that….

      “God forbid that news becomes curated.”

      Heh: indeed. In NZ, we’ve been fed propaganda-as-news since my childhood. A longish time ago….

      “…yup, I can see why the barricades ought to be manned.”

      Precisely. The best indicator of any polity’s future actions is what it has done in the past. Before opining on the current geopolitical situation, it would be useful for commentators to go look at the history of China.

      • Bill 6.3.1

        The car tyres…

        Christchurch’s A1 Auto 4 Services’ Brent Jeffries […]

        “Found both left front tyres were half flat and valve caps both missing, indicating that possibly car has been tampered with.”


        Half deflated front tyres. Never did that to random cars as a kid. Not ever. Honest. 🙄

        And that open letter includes a wee barb for the NZ government to deal with –

        We also urge Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to make a clear statement in defence of academic freedom in New Zealand in light of the Brady case, and to be very clear that any intimidation and threats aimed at silencing academic voices in this country will not be tolerated.

        That’s any intimidation or threat from any source that might serve to silence an academic.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.4

      On academic freedom, withdrawing funding from academics and researchers who aren’t toeing the line, or who are speaking up or out about some stuff (Mike Joy comes to mind) – that’s a nefarious Chinese strategy is it?

      That does seem to be true, yes.

      The Confucius Institutes are world wide.

      • Bill 6.4.1

        For fuck’s sake Draco, your first link is stuff being peddled by the Wilson Centre. Which is kind of relevant, because…

        Dr. Anne-Marie Brady is a professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and a global fellow with the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States’ Polar Initiative at the Wilson Center. Dr. Brady is the Executive Editor of The Polar Journal. Her research focuses on Chinese domestic and foreign politics as well as polar politics.

        Your second link states (and as usual it’s several paragraphs in, and on the tail end of a stream of breathless guff)

        Public examples of espionage at U.S. universities due to their relationship with Confucius Institutes are hard to come by. Their classes on Chinese language and culture are often benign. Their value lies in the relationships they provide between the Chinese government and the American institutions that host them.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Criticism of Confucius Institutes

          Our universities, like our political parties, should not be taking foreign money and for the same reason.

          • Bill

            Are you saying that neither universities nor political parties should be accepting any funding that does or that might come with strings attached? Are you maybe further suggesting that neither universities nor political parties should be open to the potential vulnerability private money entails, and that they should be 100% publicly funded?

            That would be a worthwhile debate.

            But…well, from other comments it seems pretty clear that you’re just viciously and somewhat idiotically ranting against anything you can associate with your notions of “Chinese”.

  7. I do not know Ms Brady. I was surprised when she put her name forward for the Labour Party Policy Council election. She had a long list of her academic achievements and work all around the China issue. She had nothing about her experience in the Labour party or really anything apart from the china stuff. I am unsure as to why she put her name forward or what her strategy was. Our LEC voted for other people who seemed more balanced and had evidence of Labour party commitment in their CVs. She did not get elected. All I can say is she seems to be somewhat naive and I wonder what is going on.

    • Dennis Frank 7.1

      The interface between naivety & politics has always been popular though. Idealism is quite a broad church. Some folks naively expect Labour govts to be leftist, eh?

      You get that naivety onsite here a fair bit. There’s also naive expectation that progressive politics produces progress – because it once or twice did so in the past. Prof Brady is perhaps being naive in expecting the PM to do her job in respect of defending academic freedoms. Since when have leftist political leaders opposed the powers that be on a principled basis?

      I’m reserving judgment on Ardern as she teeters on the knife-edge between pragmatism & cowardice. Silence from her is prudent caution at first, then increasingly looks like weak leadership. What’s required is a tough moral stance.

      • Chris 7.1.1

        “Some folks naively expect Labour govts to be leftist, eh?”

        Well, yes. That is something I’d really love the Labour Party to reclaim and embrace. Unfortunately all we can do is hope this will happen some day soon.

        “You get that naivety onsite here a fair bit.”

        Wow. Tell us what you think people who comment on this site should say, then, if they’re not going to show what you say is naivety?

        • Dennis Frank

          That wouldn’t be appropriate. Nothing wrong with being naive. Everyone’s on a learning curve, some are not as far along as others, that’s all. Not just relative to natural intelligence, either, because a lot of folks are intelligent but don’t like politics, or are too busy staying alive to get up to speed on it. Plus some commentators are averse to getting their heads around mass psychology, which drives most of politics, so they just focus on surface stuff like personalities.

    • Unicus 7.2

      What a typicaly tired dumb rationale from an LEC hack .

      Someone of character intellect and principal stands for a senior party role and iis snuffed out by the dullards who turn up for endless tedious meetings deliver pamphlets and boil the friking jug because they aren’t “rounded” enough.

      LEC influence is what’s wrong with the Labour Party believe me I’ve seen it my entire political life

  8. Dennis Frank 8

    MS: “Of course she should wait for the inquiry to conclude before saying anything.” I disagree. The thing has dragged on all through this year, after being initiated last year. Is everyone supposed to grow old and die waiting for an endless police investigation to produce a result?

    Time to cut the crap. We have burglaries of this woman’s home & office, to target her computer, scare her off, and the vehicle sabotage may have been a threat to her life. What does it take to get any of the authorities involved to do what the situation requires?

    Strikes me that if the target was Nicky Hager or some activist critic of US foreign policy, and the break-ins & vehicle tampering had been done to them, some here would be frothing at the mouth. I detect a double standard (no pun intended).

    • ianmac 8.1

      I wonder about your motives Dennis.
      Are you seriously saying that the police should charge someone without proof or identity? You sound like an Over the Top Bridges trying to fabricate an issue before it is clear what the issue is or who is the culprit.

      • Dennis Frank 8.1.1

        Well I don’t share your complacency. I care about the victim. RNZ news at midday mentioned her complaint that she still isn’t getting police protection. How the hell can she continue on that basis? She may be resolute, but given the repetition, the police are being delinquent in their refusal.

        Of course I’m not trying to suggest that prosecution without sufficient evidence is a good idea! I’m bitching about the ongoing failure to demonstrate elementary competence. Produce a result, why don’t they? Well over a year is way too long. And the PM hiding behind eternal bureaucracy looks suspiciously like your typical Labour bullshit scheme.

        The Greens onside with ACT, probably the first time ever, is about the only worthwhile thing about this. If the PM keeps hiding, her deputy ought to front as the only adult in the leadership room…

    • Anne 8.2

      The foremost concern here is that someone is being seriously intimidated and attempts made to stop her completing bona-fide research work which relates directly to an aspect of New Zealand foreign policy. You don’t have to agree with her thesis, but to allow interference with her right to produce it goes against the entire grain of democratic governance.

      It may well be coincidental, but it does not surprise me it is being done to a woman. I’ll leave it at that.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    It’s been far too long for an issue as important as academic freedom, and ultimately New Zealand’s freedom and sovereignty,” he said.

    “It makes you wonder if Winston and Jacinda are living on their knees because they’re too scared to die on their feet – and this position is not acceptable to rest of the country.”

    And what was Seymore’s response to China’s threatening a trade war against us?

    Was he as silent as the MSM indicates?
    Are we just seeing more of the RWNJ hypocrisy?

    This is not a simple issue for Ardern. How do you handle relations with arguably the most powerful nation in the world when these allegations are swirling around.

    Actually, it is. If the allegations prove true (and the anecdotal evidence suggests it is) then the government needs to cancel all connections with China and remove all Chinese citizens from NZ as suspected spies.

    Anything else is kissing arse.

    • ianmac 9.1

      ” If the allegations prove true…” Yes then act, but until then lets just explore the facts.

    • Antoine 9.2

      You want the Government to “remove all Chinese citizens from NZ”?

      That is one of the nuttiest of the many nutty things I have ever heard you say (also pretty racist)


      • Draco T Bastard 9.2.1

        Not really. There are thousands of Chinese citizens in the country with voting rights which it seems that they’re abusing so just drop the Permanent Residence from all Chinese citizens.

        We obviously can’t trust them.

        • the other pat

          there is some truth in what you say…..the chinese are in for the long haul…..they plan in generations.

    • greywarshark 9.3

      Oh c’mon DTB. How can we do that. There be dragons (real Chinese ones).

  10. DJ Ward 10

    I have heard some details indicating the break in was by someone. With a prime suspect. But is it true.

    Was it just a break in that is misinterpreted by paranoia. Or coincidence like a flat tyre on the same day. Or something we haven’t considered as a possibility yet.

    Some here may be able to link to evidence.

    • Dennis Frank 10.1

      ” Motoring expect Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the Dog & Lemon Guide, said the sabotage “absolutely” posed a risk to human life. “It makes the car extremely unstable in its handling, and the brakes become a lot more unreliable,” he said.”

      • ianmac 10.1.1

        Yes of course flat tyres pose a risk. But surely it would be a pretty strange thing for a terrorist to do? Good that police are investigating but it would be pretty hard to prove who unless caught in the act.

        • Draco T Bastard

          But surely it would be a pretty strange thing for a terrorist to do?

          But exactly what I’d expect a corrupt government to do if they want to remove someone with credibility from showing their corruption.

        • greywarshark

          Letting her tyres down would be a way of maintaining a presence of harassment without going OTT.

      • DJ Ward 10.1.2

        I had an experience a long time ago when working a second job as a nightclub bouncer in a south Auckland Nightclub. Coincidently I was splitting up with a girlfriend at the same time. I had physically removed a young male for fighting that night, and a few threats were made to me. In the early hours I hoped in my car to go home, drove out to the edge of the parking lot but continued out onto the road because my brakes were cut. The next day the ex arrived at my new shared flat (freind not affair) armed with a speargun she was ‘returning to me’. The grapevine may have informed her of the cut brakes but she sure as hell made me aware I deserved it. Kids watching the drama crying from her car of course. The police examined the cut brakes as part of there investigation into 3 false complaints she made before they told her to stop.

        I actually don’t honestly know beyond reasonable doubt if she cut my brakes. Hence I refused the police offer of me making a complaint.

    • Dennis Frank 10.2

      ” Professor Anne-Marie Brady’s office at the University of Canterbury was broken into last December, after her influential research into the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign interference in New Zealand made international headlines. A month earlier, she had warned: “China’s covert, corrupting and coercive political influence activities in New Zealand are now at a critical level.”

      “Brady, a specialist in Chinese and polar politics, made headlines again last month, this time after the Weekend Herald revealed that the Security Intelligence Service and Interpol were helping to investigate the February burglary of her Christchurch home.”

    • ianmac 10.3

      Some here don’t bother with evidence DJ. Just seem to be expecting Jacinda to contact China and tell them off because some people are joining dots which seem to point to China. Really?

  11. Dennis Frank 11

    “A Herald investigation into the Brady break-ins can also reveal the case is being handled by the Police’s National Security Investigation Team, a secretive unit that is understood specialises in national security cases – including terrorism – and works closely with the New Zealand Security and Intelligence Service.”

    So it isn’t a typical police investigation. Much higher-level. Understandable that those involved feel the need to proceed at a snail’s pace, but the hierarchy aren’t threatened. The target is. If a govt can’t be bothered protecting citizens, why have it?

    • ianmac 11.1

      How do you think Anne Brady should be protected Dennis?
      Burgled? 2 flat tyres?
      Lets put a couple and their 3 kids into Witness Protection?

      • Dennis Frank 11.1.1

        The police should adhere to their standard operational policy for such instances. If they don’t have one, the top cop ought to admit that publicly. Not up to me or anyone else to tell them how to do policing, Ian.

        Incidentally, I thought Anne’s comment @ 6.2 was appropriate. Would be understandable if the prof felt terrorised by the repetition. I’d rate her state of mind at serious concern currently, rather than terrified. Inasmuch as the case so far seems a pattern of organised state terrorism emanating from the communist regime, the duck is quacking & waddling. You may say it’s a mild case thereof. Not arguing against that. But the message is one of potential escalation.

  12. adam 12

    When this first popped up I was like what the hell! Now not so sure.

    Talking to friends in China, this is not generally how the Chineses spooks like to operate. They do subtle, they play the long game, they mine information and they love blackmail.

    That their take and well I agree. This really is not normal – mind you when has anything been normal lately. I’m not ruling it out, but I’d rather we looked at the national party and their infiltration by the PLA.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.1

      Talking to friends in China, this is not generally how the Chineses spooks like to operate.

      So, these people have intimate knowledge of how Chinese spooks operate?
      Or is it that they’re just assuming that Chinese are better than everyone else and so they wouldn’t make mistakes like this?

      See, I’m betting its the latter.

      They do subtle, they play the long game, they mine information and they love blackmail.

      That may be what they want to believe but Chinese actions in the South China Sea aren’t subtle.

      I’m not ruling it out, but I’d rather we looked at the national party and their infiltration by the PLA.

      Isn’t that the same thing?

      • adam 12.1.1

        Is the last bit the same thing?

        All we hearing is the investigation into what is happening to Professor Anne Marie Brady, not what happening with the PLA and their moves to infiltrate the national party.

      • Hanswurst 12.1.2

        Or is it that they’re just assuming that Chinese […]

        The irony.

  13. Tony Veitch [not etc.] 13

    Most people commenting on here have, I believed, missed the point.

    In the early 2000s I was teaching in a language school in ChCh. I went into my classroom one day to discover a Chinese student had removed the world map from the wall. He had it on the floor and was stabbing a compass point into Taipei. When I asked him what he was he was doing, he said ‘Taipei is not a capital, Taiwan is not an independent country!’

    It is unlikely that the Chinese government had anything much to do with the break-ins or the sabotage. Much more likely Chinese ‘citizens’ of this country reacting to criticism of their homeland.

    They have been brainwashed! When I taught in a language school in China we were told, on day one, not to mention the three ‘T’s’ – Tibet, Taiwan or Tianaman Square.

    And just because they re-locate to another country, the ‘brainwashing’ does not magically dissolve in the ‘free’ air of our democracy.

    • Dennis Frank 13.1

      Good one, Tony. That’s indeed an important valid point. The repeat offending could indeed be due to patriotic Chinese living here. Occam’s razor could be deployed to cut that possibility out, but I wouldn’t use it to do so.

      There’s even a realistic possibility that the three offences were committed by different patriots. However there’s a further realistic possibility too: communist agents operating within the Chinese community here recruiting patriots, advising them on tactics with a wink & a nod, then setting them loose to act `independently’ so as to achieve plausible deniability for the regime. Remember how in Mission Impossible the boss would always instruct the agent that official involvement would be denied?

      • Tony Veitch [not etc.] 13.1.1

        A China-born person’s ‘first’ loyalty will always be to their homeland – that’s a sweeping generalisation, but it’s basically correct.

        We would like to think that a Nat member of parliament of Chinese extraction would put the interests of NZ above all others, but that is simply not necessarily true.

        And yes, a 5th column of Chinese infiltrators stirring up the ‘patriotic’ fervour of ex-pats now NZ citizens, is not beyond the realms of probability.

        • Exkiwiforces

          Yes T.V, they have even enshrined it into the Chinese Law Books.

          Saying it’s everyone’s duty to put China first including Chinese companies, expatriates working for foreign companies have dragged in for questioning and even those who weren’t even born in China (especially those that don’t carry a Chinese Passport) are expected to put China first, even though they see themselves as NZ, Aus, UK, Canadian or EU citizen etc.

          The last one is starting to become a major concern to long standing Chinese communities/ organisations in a number countries where most of them don’t really have any connection with China anymore let alone support China’s values or Chinese Government Policies. Are suddenly been infiltrated by Chinese born or Chinese Government argents (whatever you want to call them) stirring up trouble/ throwing their weight around and turning these once social communities/ organisations into a political one with a Chinese first type attitude, where most 4th, 5th or6th generation NZ, Aus, UK, Canadian or EU etc born Chinese couldn’t give a rats ass about Taiwan, SCS etc.

          Clive Hamilton’s book, The Silent Invasion or Ron Asher’s ( I Don’t know much about this author) book, In the Jaws of the Dragon- How China is taking over New Zealand. Both mention this China first attitude and it growing infiltration within the long a established Chinese social communities/ organisations where go back to the 1800’s before the CCP gained power in 1949.

          To really understand the Chinese Government mentally, one needs to get an update version or even an early verson would do, as it would still give you a rough idea on what is happening atm, is Sun Tzu’s book- The Art of War and if you really want to give yourself a headache combined with it Clausewitz’s book- On War, and Alfred Thayer Mahan two books to knock yourself out in the process. (The last three books are heavy reading btw).

          • CHCOff

            Chinese nationalism is not the problem, NZ would do well and get more value from more patriotism about NZ society – their patriotism has helped get some good outcomes through as far as domestic policies goes that are of value to their societal functioning, and their society has alot of pressing challenges to deal with, i do not wish ill, famine, oppression, on the well being of the Chinese population at the slightest due to societal nationalism.

            But the Chinese are extreme in how it’s govt. is it’s community, it is a structural Frankenstein freight train in this respect that the short-cuts taken in the West have contributed to putting on steroids, & in someway are going to have to be changed to reform if a train wreck disaster of one form or another is to be avoided.


            • Exkiwiforces

              I see it from a different contexts, but I do agree with what you are saying and we need to be open minded at what is happening atm as one wrong move from either side is going to set off a snowball that will be hard to stop once it’s going.

              We know what happened the last time the snowball got to the point of no return 105 odd yrs or the lead up to the start of WW2 where the political elite chose to avoid the problem or refuse to acknowledge what was happening until it was too late.

              • CHCOff

                yes for example, after about 10-15 years of successive stuff ups (they were hardly alone in that respect) in responding to rising war state Nazi Germany, which concluded in the occupation of western europe and the near annihilation of the British armed forces, that political establishment got out of the way sufficiently to let dynamism take the reins as a last resort in Britain for example, and the British people got pretty formidable playing catch up in a few short years, ultimately saving western europe from barbarism.

                Off course, was still a huge price to pay in making up for the lack of creativity in the govts. by excessive politics of the time.

        • Exkiwiforces

          There was a case here in Oz IRT the SCS 24 to36 mths ago, when two fair size crowds of Pro Chinese Government supporters marched in Melbourne and Sydney displaying pro government slogans and yelling out pro government chants IRT the SCS. Which Australia hasn’t seen the days of empire or whenever it last has happened, a lot of people from either of side of the political spectrum at the time went WTF has just happened in Australia over that weekend and it has prompted lively discussions with the Security Services, the Fourth Estate and elsewhere since then.

          These protests happened when my late FSGT, my then SGT and the Senior Security Cdr said you understand the Chinese problem very well Kiwi than those dickheads up on the hill, as you have a thing for Economic, Military, Political and Financial History. So now start understudy the Operations, Plans (future Opeations or Training scenarios/ exercises and high end strategy to local security concerns) as you have good mind IRT’s to China and both SEA/ South Pacific/ Antarctic Regions . Also I attended a couple cse’s including a Mustering specific SNCO promotion cse where the China question was posed to us at a local and regional specific which was quite interesting to say the least which were discussed under Chatham House Rules.

          Mind you this was all before Trump was given the Keys to the White House.

    • Anne 13.2

      It is unlikely that the Chinese government had anything much to do with the break-ins or the sabotage. Much more likely Chinese ‘citizens’ of this country reacting to criticism of their homeland.

      They have been brainwashed!…

      Thank-you for your most likely synopsis T.V. @13 and 13.1.1

      Something along those lines crossed my mind too.

      Those on this site who have been casting aspersions at Professor Brady have clearly never experienced this type of behaviour. At first you cast aside the mysteries as being random incidents that are not connected. But as time progresses and they begin to mount up you start to wonder what is going on? Eventually a point is reached when you start to fear for your safety and that is where the professor is at now. It is a lonely and frightening journey especially if you don’t know who is responsible and precisely why they are doing it.

      I feel for Anne Marie Brady because it will be a distressing situation for her and it is not helped by people who don’t have the knowledge or understanding to be able to accept what she is currently going through.

    • Mike Smith 13.3

      The ruling Democratic Progressive party in Taiwan just suffered major defeats in local elections across the country. Taiwan premier Tsai Ing-wen resigned as chair pf the Party. The Kuomintang which supports friendly relations with China made the gains. In a separate referendum, voters also rejected a referendum that would have seen the island join the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as Taiwan, rather than “Chinese Taipei.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-taiwan-politics/china-lauds-voters-after-defeat-of-taiwans-ruling-party-idUSKCN1NU01L
      Rather than being brainwashed, perhaps Chinese people like Koreans would rather have friendly relations with their own.

    • Bill 13.4

      Well, at least Xi Jinping doesn’t stand on the international stage and claim to speak for all people of Chinese heritage in the way that Netanyahu claims to speak for all Jews.

      And as far as I know, no Chinese lobby has ever determined the content of the curriculum in another country when it comes to teaching about China. Same can’t be said of the Israel lobby.

      Could throw successive US Presidents, heading up a country that spends more money on the military than any other country, and that initiates and engages in more war than any other country claiming to be the leaders of the Free World – we could throw that into the mix.

      Or reflect on when it was okay to talk about anything to do with NZs colonial past (the land wars etc).

      And so on…for country after country.

      But this special bile some reserve for “all things China” is disturbing, and at a very deep level. It betrays the potential for a very ugly and one-eyed mob mentality – something that history has repeatedly shown us can lead to supposedly ordinary people participating in some very, very bad shit.

      I dare say some will be thinking to dismiss me as some kind of “bot” because this comment seeks to offer some measure of comparative context – context being a bad thing when people only want to focus on getting their hard on.

  14. Dennis Frank 14

    Michael Reddell: “One of the signatories was (former academic and now) consultant Paul Buchanan. In an exchange of comments here on Saturday, and in reference to this letter he noted

    It appears many academics are reluctant to sign on because a) they fear retribution of one sort or another (say, loss of funding); and b) they personally dislike Ms. Brady and/or claim that her research is flawed etc. The fact that people cannot separate personal animus and/or concern about funding from a defence against criminal harassment is telling. As for her research, her “Magic Weapons” essay is an example of applied research and was not meant to be a theoretical or conceptual path-breaker, so sniping about its quality is pedantic.

    Perhaps some of our media might like to ask, for example, those involved in the Contemporary China Research Centre about why not one of them signed this statement (or, so far as I’ve seen, have issued their own statements supporting Professor Brady).”

    So who are the pro-China toadies? Have a look here: https://www.victoria.ac.nz/chinaresearchcentre/about-us/people

    • Dennis Frank 14.1

      Reddell concludes with a surprisingly critical response to the PM’s recent diplomacy: “It is, frankly, sickening and shameful. Our Prime Minister, elected leader of a free, open and democratic society, governed by the rule of law etc suggests that there is “significant common ground” between her government’s policies and those of one of the most brutal un-free regimes on the planet, that has spent at least the last six years going backwards not forwards on the sorts of values and practices that most New Zealanders cherish”.

      Ardern is going to have to demonstrate that she actually does have a moral compass, is able to apply it to China, and can be a true leader for Aotearoa in using it in coalition foreign policy. Obfuscation may be the common-ground strategy, deriving from Labour’s ongoing collusion with National, but hiding behind it is not leadership. Not even slightly. All that prognosticating about this govt running two or three terms due to National’s quagmire obsession will come to nothing if the coalition looks like a bunch of weasels.

  15. Do we have any academics looking into covert Israeli influence on our government and political life?
    Or is anyone studying the deep reach in to our cultural, political and military policies by the Americans?
    Genuine question

  16. gsays 16

    So where was rimmer when he was enjoying life troughing as a support party to the tories, and Jian Xang was a colleague.
    The silence was deafening.

    Not saying there is nothing to the allegations but once again, breathtaking hypocrisy.

    • Anne 16.1

      I agree gsays. I guess it is an opportunity to grab attention to himself. Now he’s out of government he doesn’t get many chances.

  17. Jum 17

    Maybe ask Nicky Hager if the profile of the intimidating actions of invading his private residence by our own police under john key with Hager’s Dirty Politics book, are the same. Maybe, the perpetrators took a leaf out of that action – the nat dirty politics mission.

    Most NZers did not march in the streets over that and happily voted key back in. So, excuse me for not rushing to judgement on Ardern.

    After all, it’s been done before in NZ and suddenly the academics are up in arms. Did anyone notice an open letter from those and/or other academics to john key after the appalling actions against Hager? I stand happily corrected if there was. When universities were morphed into businesses, for economic output, not academic rigour, I don’t remember a huge amount of push-back.

    But, meanwhile, perpetrators are threatening our own people’s right to a free say.

    All the worst kind of governments, or powerful groups, hate academics and seek to muzzle them. How many governments like that can we name and what does each of them gain from muzzling us, or laying a false trail to lay blame on others. Therein lies the complexity of the problem.

    Eventually, we have nothing to lose from speaking out since the main countries, or powerful groups(even in NZ), set to gain from our subjugation already own us.

  18. Bewildered 18

    Any one seen the movie a beautiful mind about John Nash

    Similarly what ever happened to the loom lady who stood at last elrction from Russia because SIS where watching her apparently

  19. Pete 19

    So after reading through here I’ve arrived at the way forward.

    First we cut off ties to China. They do not have sorts of values and practices that most New Zealanders cherish. No ‘leadership’ from any New Zealand PM is going to change their ways.

    I expect the same moves to do with Russia.

    I expect the same moves to do with Saudi Arabia.

    I expect the same with the United Arab Emirates.

    Any other nominations? It surely is time we stood up and made the mark on the ground.

    • DJ Ward 19.1

      Morocco, (west Sahara). Philippines (leader). North Korea (leader). Israel (human rights). France and Canada (leaders think they are feminists). Brazil (needs monitoring). Australia (Clemingtine Ford, and dangerous animals)

    • Antoine 19.2

      > First we cut off ties to China

      How about we not do that?

      How about we make a measured response commensurate with the offence given


    • the other pat 19.3

      hear hear……least the academics talk the truth to death

  20. Incognito 20

    Academic freedom and relationships with China. Political donations from Chinese sources to buy political influence for a measly $100k?

    In 2017 there were 38,560 international fee-paying students from China here in NZ who were and presumably still are Chinese citizens. This number has been steadily rising from 2010-2017.


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    5 days ago
  • Call for New Zealanders to get on-board with rail safety
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  • Regional approach the focus at ASEAN and East Asia Summit talks
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    6 days ago
  • Speech to the Criminal Bar Association
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    7 days ago
  • The beat goes on as Government renews support for musicians
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    1 week ago
  • Minister of Defence to attend Guadalcanal Commemorations in the Solomon Islands
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  • New programme to provide insights into regenerative dairy farming 
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  • More women on public boards than ever before
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  • Awards support Pacific women
    I am honoured to support the 2022 Women in Governance Awards, celebrating governance leaders, directors, change-makers, and rising stars in the community, said Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. For the second consecutive year, MPP is proudly sponsoring the Pacific Governance Leader category, recognising Pacific women in governance and presented to ...
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  • Govt investment into Whakatāne regeneration reaches new milestones
    Today Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash turned the sod for the new Whakatāne Commercial Boat Harbour, cut the ribbon for the revitalised Whakatāne Wharf, and inspected work underway to develop the old Whakatāne Army Hall into a visitor centre, all of which are part of the $36.8 million ...
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