Amid the heightened tensions of the trade war between Australia and China, Australian intelligence has warned the government that Beijing has control over two-thirds of the country’s vast Chinese-language media industry.
After the United States, Australia can clampdown on the Chinese Media industry. Relations between the two states have soured since Australia banned Huawei’s ‘politically motivated entry’ into Australia’s 5G network. Moreover, the two major trading partners have traded blows and now Australia’s peak intelligence agency has confidentially briefed the government over Beijing’s control of Chinese media in Australia.
The Office of National Intelligence (ONI) has confidentially briefed the government on how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has co-opted leading Chinese-language news websites and WeChat accounts.
The report also examined the ownership structure of these companies and traced that more than two-thirds of Chinese Online news sites had senior staff members connected to organisations that commit foreign interference on Australia’s soil on behalf of the CCP.
The ONI report found that the Chinese-language news media group Southeast Net Australia was entirely controlled by the CCP. While popular digital media outlets, Pacific Media, Nanhai Media Group, and Sydney Today had links to the United Front Work Department (UFWD), Beijing’s foremost overseas infiltration body.
China News Service or commonly known as CNS plays a leading role in cultivating relationships with overseas Chinese media outlets to supply editorial content, CNS in turn is controlled by the UFWD. CNS Bureau Chief Tao Shelan was also allegedly denied re-entry into the country following investigations by intelligence agencies.
Sydney today also prefers to employ staffs which have at least two years of experience in working in mainland Chinese Media. Chinese media is controlled by the CCP and thus the staff are also trained to follow the party guidelines.
These Chinese Media houses propagate a pro-Beijing stand in the host nation; moreover, the staffs trained by the CCP guidelines slowly infiltrate the editorial sanction and present a narrative that is acceptable by the Communist Party of China.
Recently, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in response to the repugnant tweets of the Xing Lijiao, hit out at Chinese actions via WeChat, however, his statements were removed from the Chinese app’s website.
The trade wars have impacted diplomatic relations between the two countries with some analysts even suggesting that there has been a diplomatic freeze. Australia has been backed by world leaders in its fight against China. Prime Minister Morrison is leading his troops against Chinese attrition. Recently, Australia even participated in the Malabar exercises which also displayed that a militarized QUAD is en route.
Heightened tensions, unwarranted trade embargos and distasteful diplomacy from China have not downed Australia but have reinvigorated the Australian spirit as the world comes to grips with Chinese animosity.