The Epoch Times reported that Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison finds China’s recent attempt to install an agent inside Australia’s federal Parliament to be “deeply disturbing and troubling.”
He made these comments on November 25, as Australia’s spy agency investigates China’s machinations.
The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) started this investigation before it was revealed on Australia’s “60 Minutes” program and affiliated newspapers on November 24, 2019.
This report about China’s alleged espionage operations in Australia explained how a suspected Chinese espionage ring had promised to give Melbourne luxury car dealer Bo “Nick” Zhao a “a seven-figure sum” to run for federal office in the Australian Parliament. Back in March, Zhao was found dead in a motel room in Melbourne. Authorities could not determine a cause of death.
“I find the allegations deeply disturbing and troubling,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison in front of reporters in Canberra. He noted that the government had strengthened Australia’s laws and security agencies to stand up against foreign meddling.
“Australia is not naive to the threats that it faces more broadly,” he continued.
These allegations came the day after a man claiming to be a Chinese spy defected to Australia. BLP reported that the man, Wang Liqiang, went on 60 Minutes and handed over considerable information to the ASIO after becoming disillusioned with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) despotic agenda.
During a news briefing in Beijing on November 25, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang vehemently denied accusations of meddling in Australia and tried to keep the spotlight off of China by saying that the Chinese government won’t interfere in the affairs of sovereign nations. He believes that the allegations made during the media reports are lies.
The CCP has been scrutinized greatly for its overseas operations, above all, in countries like Australia. In 2018, Australia passed laws to defend itself from foreign interference in response to what the previous Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described as “disturbing reports of Chinese influence.”
Jeff Nyquist, a specialist on Chinese strategy, told The Epoch Times that the reports of China’s alleged foreign interference in Australian politics are not a shock.
Jeff Nyquist, an author and researcher of Chinese and Russian strategy, told The Epoch Times the reports about China’s alleged attempts at meddling in Australian politics should come as no surprise.
“Being able to get inside the political system of its enemies, of the countries it wants to subvert, is a key tactic in the bag of tricks of the CCP,” Nyquist said. “The threats that China has made, for example, to Australia that they better be on the side of China and not on the side of the United States in any future disagreements are to be taken seriously.”
Nyquist claims that China wants Australia to be “part of their sphere of influence.”
“Obviously, if [China] were to get a politician into Washington, that politician would not be free to turn America against itself in an open fashion,” he said. “But a Chinese agent in the Australian government could detach Australia from the American alliance if you got enough people to collaborate with him.”
“Beijing obviously wants Australia to change sides in terms of who it’s allied with. It does sound like a crazy scheme but look at what they’ve done—China has threatened Australia openly,” he said. “What do you think they are trying to get a politician in there for? They want to change Australia’s orientation.”
China’s expansive operations abroad have also caused controversy in America.
The notorious Confucius Institutes have worried lawmakers due to their alleged role in disseminating CCP propaganda and even serving as spy hubs, according to a BLP report.
Western countries will have to bolster their counter-intelligence infrastructures to check the growing influence of China.
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