By Tenzin Dharpo
Australian MP Michael Danby with ATC Campaigns manager and Tibet MP Kyinzom Dhongdue at the launce of the report at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. Sept. 13, 2017.
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 15: China’s sway in the Australian political and educational institution is at an “alarming level”, writes Tibetan parliamentarian and Campaigns Manager Kyinzom Dhongdue of Australia Tibet Council. A report titled ‘Australia’s Silence on Tibet: How China is shaping our agenda’ was released by the ATC in Canberra on Wednesday.
The report sheds new light on the seemingly subtle yet far-reaching grasp of China in various mainstream Australian channels. The insightful report probes into how businessmen that are heavily linked with Chinese government have been the major foreign donors to political parties while Chinese government funded institutions are widespread in universities across the country.
Chinese Businessmen Chau Chak Wing donated over $4 million to Labor party and the Coalition from 2006
to 2016 and Huang Xiangmo donated over $2.6 million to Australia’s major political parties since 2012, the ATC report said.
Chinese government funded Confucius Institutes, which are a classic example of China’s soft power offensive, have 14 such branches across Australia peddling CCP agendas, the paper read. Chinese student numbers hit a record boom last year with 46,370 students accounting to almost 30% of the total student figure in the country, and further contribute to creating what the author said was an “environment for self censorship” within the Australian universities besides actual pressure in silencing anti-China narratives.
Also prominent Australian media outlets have agreement with Chinese state medias to propel its messages down under, stated the report highlighting a dangerous precedent.
“As Chinese influence increases in Australia, explicit support from the Australian Government for Tibet has diminished. The Government’s silence on the human rights crisis in Tibet is notable, with not a single public statement on Tibet being issued for nearly a decade.
“Furthermore, no Australian Prime Minister has met the Dalai Lama since 2009, although he has made five subsequent visits to Australia,” the 28 page report surmised.