Clive Hamilton and Sinophobia

A few years ago Clive Hamilton wrote a very strange article in The Guardian that lead to this editorial statement (emphasis added):

This article was amended soon after publication on 18 February 2014 to correct the headline, a misreported statistic and some loosely paraphrased anecdotes, the combined effect of which had been to overstate the evidence then available about the impact Chinese investment was having on Sydney’s rising residential real estate prices.

The editor’s note said in part: “… the causes of fluctuations in housing prices are several and varied. Foreign buyers, and among them Chinese investors, may be a greater or lesser cause from time to time. Guardian Australia has concluded that, on the evidence presented, it was wrong to imply through the original headline that wealthy Chinese buyers are disproportionately a factor compared to any other national or ethnic group. The author stands by his opinion, as he is entitled to. Guardian Australia believes it must correct the evidence base underpinning that opinion and label it less emphatically in order to give readers assistance in weighing it and to avoid any inference of racism.”

Then a few weeks ago there was this article in The Australian:

For several years the Chinese party-state has been pursuing a co-­ordinated program to acquire from abroad advanced military and ­industrial technology, and to do so by fair means or foul. It now emerges that Australian universities inadvertently are helping to give China the technological leadership it craves.

The Australian Research Council is funnelling Australian taxpayer funds into research with applications to China’s advanced weapons capacity through its linkage program. The program aims to encourage national and international research collaborations between university researchers and partners in industry or other research centres, in this case with Chinese military scientists.

A long conspiracy theory about how Australian government funding of ethnic Chinese Australian academics was promoting Chinese government interests. Nasty stuff.

Then today:

Australian publisher Allen & Unwin has ditched a book on Chinese Communist Party influence in Australian politics and academia, citing fear of legal action from the Chinese government or its proxies.

The publisher’s chief executive, Robert Gorman, said last week that it would abandon publication of a completed manuscript by Clive Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt University, called Silent Invasion: How China Is Turning Australia into a Puppet State.

Let alone being sued for defamation – a whole bunch of people were named in the Australian article – I suspect a book like this could very easily fall foul of s18c.

Last point:

“I’m not aware of any other instance in Australian history where a foreign power has stopped publication of a book that criticises it,” Dr Hamilton said.

Spycatcher – but then the case was won in court. It appears the publishers of Hamilton’s book are less confident.

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29 Responses to Clive Hamilton and Sinophobia

  1. NB

    ‘Australian universities inadvertently…’. Oh my goodness, those poor innocents at Australian universities being devilishly tricked into supporting a communist state.

  2. Up The Workers!

    Interestingly, that massive “Spycatcher” Court case, was won by a young Australian barrister named Malcolm Turnbull.

    Oh how THAT worm has turned!

  3. Leigh Lowe

    On the other hand, it could just be a shit book not worth publishing.

  4. max

    Without China, our welfare state would collapse. The Chinese regard us with a lip-curling disdain. They know we are at their beck and call.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    A long conspiracy theory about how Australian government funding of ethnic Chinese Australian academics was promoting Chinese government interests.

    It’s only a conspiracy theory when it’s not an actual conspiracy. In case you missed the front page story in the Weekend Australian here it is.

    From Beijing to Parramatta: how China muscled up to council

    When John Hughes got the nod from the residents of Harris Park and became a councillor for Parramatta City Council, it was the ­beginning of a promising but ­hardly spectacular political career.

    The constituents of Elizabeth MacArthur ward expect their local councillors to work hard, but bin nights, speed bumps and local zoning laws are a long way from the power politics of East Asia.

    It was a surprise, then, when Hughes got word that government officials in China had taken more than a passing interest in his win.

    Yep, the CCP monitors and is very interested in local council elections.

    Hughes says his four years in local politics left him in little doubt the Chinese government plays an increasingly active role in Australian politics, not just through political donations, but by providing ­material support to favoured ­candidates. He is not alone.

    Professor Chongyi Feng of the University of Technology Sydney says much of this work is organised from the Chinese consulate in Sydney’s inner-west Camperdown. By leveraging relationships with the plethora of Chinese associations and community leaders, which effectively function as cut-outs for Beijing, ­Professor Feng believes consulate officials have become increas­ingly active in local affairs.

    “The consulate, it’s very influential in the Chinese communities, especially a variety of associations, they have influence or power to mobilise support through the activity of those associations,’’ Professor Feng says.

    Hughes says it is an open ­secret that the consulate has ­become the hub for a type of foreign interference that extends well beyond the kind of soft-power outreach that is the norm for most countries. In cultivating junior politicians in the embryonic stages of their career, Beijing, he says, is playing a long game.

    RTWT.

    This seems to paint a picture of Xi which is consistent with his crackdown on religion in China. An obsession with control so paranoid as to reach right down into local shire politics in a country as unimportant as Australia. That is extraordinary.

  6. jupes

    The Australian Research Council is funnelling Australian taxpayer funds into research with applications to China’s advanced weapons capacity through its linkage program. The program aims to encourage national and international research collaborations between university researchers and partners in industry or other research centres, in this case with Chinese military scientists.

    Are you saying you are cool with this Sinc, or that it is not true?

  7. sabena

    “On the other hand, it could just be a shit book not worth publishing.”
    There was an ABC radio report that the book had been legalled and found wanting for proof of the statements in it.

  8. Ooh Honey Honey

    That Clive Hamilton?

  9. Myrddin Seren

    A long conspiracy theory about how Australian government funding of ethnic Chinese Australian academics was promoting Chinese government interests.

    Longish story short. Worked briefly with a Chinese guy who started getting calls on his mobile that agitated him and he would rush out the back to answer in Chinese, which none of us could speak – so he could have sat instead at his desk talking all day long.

    We were working for a huge commodity trader with major commercial positions in China.

    Worked out that the Motherland was ringing him to remind him of the money invested in his education, the well-being of his relatives back home and certain patriotic duties. He breathed a huge sigh of relief when we had to let him go because he was too linear and inflexible in his thinking.

    Is this a fantasy story by me or is there some basis of evidence that this occurs with Chinese ex-pats ?

    This guy defected from the Chinese consulate in Sydney, and sought asylum with the information as to how many people were here actively running agents or were being co-opted and managed like the poor schmuck in our office:

    This former Chinese diplomat has repeated warnings that the number of spies from Beijing in Australia is growing

    Former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin defected to Australia almost a decade ago after warning local officials of “over 1,000 Chinese secret agents and informants in Australia”.

    The guy was pooh-poohed on the basis that there couldn’t possibly be 1000 Chinese ‘James Bonds’ here. The key phrase is ‘and informants’. You only need a few handlers to make calls and meetings. The willing and reluctant informants are the key to the collection of information.

    Don’t ask me – ask the guy who invented Metalstorm.

    I remember when TheirABC did a story on this some time back, and the company MD in Australia said they were besieged by local Chinese wanting to bring ‘business delegations’ to ‘see’ the Australian facilities.

    China has sophisticated systems to beg, borrow and steal every bit of useful IP it can. As yet, no one has successfully applied sanctions to dissuade China from this strategy because China is now too important to send to the naughty corner. So it continues.

    And to the members of the State Security Bureau scanning this post, 美好的一天 !

  10. Rebel with cause

    There’s not much point being a superpower if you don’t use that power to meddle in other country’s affairs. What exactly that meddling achieves is another story.

  11. Myrddin Seren

    In cultivating junior politicians in the embryonic stages of their career, Beijing, he says, is playing a long game.

    And as we have seen from the likes of Shanghai Sam, a very cheap investment. Beijing can probably not believe how cheap it is to buy and compromise Australian politicians, compared to just about anyone else.

    At some point they will realise the real power lies with the public service Mandarins – and then a new long game begins.

  12. DD

    The rest of the editorial note was omitted by Sinclair and it goes on to say:

    That evidence base has since changed significantly. The recently released Foreign Investment Review Board annual report 2013-14 contains strong evidence to support the author’s original opinion. The report shows that approved Chinese investment in real estate more than doubled in 2013-14 compared to 2012-13 and was the main driver in China becoming for the first time the largest source of approved foreign investment in Australia.

    The author had also urged tighter regulation of foreign investment, which a parliamentary committee has since recommended and the Abbott government has begun to implement.
    I am surprised that Sinclair would seek to strengthen his argument using selective quotation.
    Sinophobia? Perhaps not so much.

  13. Boambee John

    I would be more confident that this is not a problem if there was not clear evidence of Chinese purchasing of influence in Australia.

    Joel Fitzgibbon while Minister of Defence was accepting Chinese cash, as was our friend Shanghai Sam.

    How many others (on both sides of politics) do we not know about, starting with Maolcolm, who made some strange remarks on the weekend about managing the transition of China to becoming the world’s sole superpower?

  14. manalive

    Why does Clive single out the Chinese, after all they practice a form of government that Clive presumably still thoroughly approves viz. “state power” and “social discipline”:

    … those of us alert to the peril can only hope that the burden of saving the world will indeed be shouldered by this new and enigmatic superpower [China].

  15. Myrddin Seren

    …starting with Maolcolm, who made some strange remarks on the weekend about managing the transition of China to becoming the world’s sole superpower?

    What ?! Types in to search engine:

    Malcolm Turnbull’s relationship advice to Donald Trump, Xi Jinping

    Trump to Xi: ‘Who is this guy ?’
    Xi to Trump: ‘Performing monkey’

    Malcolm Turnbull has given relationship advice to two of the most powerful men in the world- United States President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    No way ?

    “As I was talking with President Xi and President Trump in Da Nang yesterday, we were discussing the importance of real solidarity on this,” he said.

    “I said to them your relationship, your ability to work together is one of the single most important priorities for the world today.

    Holy F**k- he is morphing in to Kevin Rudd !

    On social media, Mr Tunbull posted a selfie of himself with Mr Trump and Mr Jinping.

    Too late. He’s gone. Rudd Mk 2.

    How much long will these national embarrassments continue ?

  16. I know a little bit about Clive Hamiltons’ past deeds and so would Tel and Bruce of Newcastle and Entropy.
    My guess is the manuscript is full of actionable material.

  17. C.L.

    The Chinese regard us with a lip-curling disdain.

    Who cares what they think?

  18. Shine a Light

    Where Clive Hamilton is involved I have a nd acute case of omniphobia. Everyltime his name is mentioned he permeates the air with more depression and more phobias.

    To move on from the morbid, try this
    https://youtu.be/xZbKHDPPrrc

  19. jock

    I regard hamilton as a fascist cum communist. So i am a bit surprised at his view on china. Frankly i dont trust the chinese prc as far as i could throw them. Yes miniscule. I am worried that clive and i might agree on something. Is there anything i can take?

  20. Zinc, it looks like you’re confusing Chinese people with the Chinese government. They are fundamentally distinct entities, and the latter is unapologetically fair game for criticism.

    And this from a regular who, to my disgust, found that he was flatmates with not one, but two sinophobes that didn’t know each other, so I know from experience it’s real thing.

    Chinese people are typically hard working and respectful. The Chinese government on the other hand is a totalitarian cesspit worthy of contempt.

  21. mh

    Is that Clive ‘100-metre sea level rise’ Hamilton?

  22. Rabz

    Poor ol’ Cloive. At least the Chinamen have done one thing he’s long advocated – they’ve “suspended” democracy.

  23. Rabz

    Is that Clive ‘100-metre sea level rise’ Hamilton?

    Sacré bleu! That’s Robin “100 metres” Williams of the ALPBC.

  24. mh

    Sorry! I was trying to recall from my days at Bolta’s blog.

  25. mh

    I heard that Turnbull being in HongKong yesterday was the first visit by an Australian PM to HK since Bob Hawke in 1986. That is shameful in itself. Why didn’t an Australian PM give support to the last governor of HK, Chris Patten, while he was trying to protect HK from the excesses of the Beijing Communists?

  26. cynical1

    Fuck him.

    He wanted to suspend Democracy to punish “Climate deniers”.

    Payback’s a bitch.

  27. ACTOldFart

    Hear Hear! to cynical1. Hamilton had always done his ‘best’ to stifle any opinions contrary to his own, such as his idea of suspending democracy to deal with climate change; calling climate skeptics ‘deniers’ at every opportunity and comparing them unfavourably with holocaust deniers; and proposing that ASIO monitor the words and actions of such skeptics. So now Karma has come back and bitten him on the bum. Great! – schadenfreude can be a most satisfying feeling.

  28. cohenite

    I despise clive; he once called me a sock-puppet and the stinking abc would not let me respond; those things leave a mark on you.

    As for China I reckon India and Indonesia will give them a run for their money. I also note Saudi money is propping up a few universities. Let’s face it this country stopped being Australia about 10 years ago. After the next election we will have an alleged rapist as PM and a deputy PM with a convicted drug dealer for a hubbie.

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