Written By: - Date published: 10:30 pm, November 15th, 2017 - 338 comments
Categories: australian politics, China, election funding, history, International, military, racism, Spying, us politics, war - Tags:
What’s with the academic panic epidemic about China? Two in our broadcast media in the same week, referencing each other with vague warnings about the Chinese bogey. It’s not quite Lionel Terry in Haining Street again; more likely in my view a case of singing to someones else’s geopolitical tune. No prizes for guessing whose.
Professor Anne-Marie Brady was interviewed on TVOne’s Q+A on Sunday about a paper she had presented in Washington to the Woodrow Wilson Institute at an event organised by the Taiwanese Endowment for Democracy. The normal activities of a diplomatic embassy were given a sinister cast, coupled with a tendentious listing of contacts with Chinese individuals. What danger we might be in was unspecified apart from the information that the Chinese were installing their own geostations in Antarctica, for obvious reason one would think. But we should listen to the Australians, Professor Brady said.
Then today on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report we got to listen to an Australian. Professor Hamilton’s book had been withdrawn by his publishers because they feared the Chinese might sue, according to him. We were not able to judge if it just might not have been a very good book. It’s title was “Silent Invasion: How China is turning Australia into a puppet state.” He rather ruined his argument for this by going on to say that Australia’s government had issued some very strong statements about China’s activities. Also Malcolm Turnbull’s statement that Australia would follow America into war with North Korea did not sound like the words of a Chinese puppet. More like another madman.
There is no doubt since Obama’s pivot to Asia that geopolitical rivalry has ramped up between the United States and China. Australia is firmly in the US camp, and the danger for us is that we become drawn once again into other people’s wars of empire. China has the world’s longest-lasting civilisation, and a Confucianist philosophy and polity quite unlike ours but one that has proved its durability. That is in spite of suffering invasion from west and east, an internal uprising and a civil war in the last 150 years. More recently millions of people have been brought out of poverty. Chinese are hard-working, resilient and friendly people and we need to understand them better, not fear them so much.
One useful thing Anne-Marie Brady did highlight was the question of political donations. She advocates public funding and she’s right about that. But it wouldn’t just catch the Chinese.