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Australia’s ruling class… the finest money can buy

Chen Yonglin, a Chinese diplomat with inside knowledge of his country’s large scale espionage activities within Australia, has revealed that the Chinese intelligence services sometimes ‘forcibly repatriate’ (i.e. kidnap) political enemies in Australia and bring them back to China. He has also just tried to defect in order to tell his story and has, with indecent haste, been refused political asylum within only 24 hours of asking for it.

Why? Because too many members of the Australian ruling class are in the pockets of Chinese business interests and allowing Chen Yonglin to defect could cause the Chinese government to threaten lucrative trade deals with Australian companies.

Our Australian Samizdatistas have often told me just how cynical and corrupt the people at the top of Australian politics are but I still find this deeply disturbing. These are shameful days down-under and I hope a lot of Australians are angry as hell.

28 comments to Australia’s ruling class… the finest money can buy

  • John Thacker

    Bastards.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Hang on a minute. Australia’s current bout of prosperity is largely based around our good relations with China. True, there has been some abnormal departmental manoeuvring, however is anyone really surprised under the circumstances? Of course Chen was knocked back for political asylum – granting this would have caused great offence in symbolism-obsessed Beijing. Such a move has the very real potential to translate into thousands of jobs lost. China can be spiteful. Okay, this isn’t perfect morality. However, let’s be realistic as to what’s in Australia’s national interest. Besides, Chen has a much greater likelihood of being granted far less offensive refugee status.

  • John J. Coupal

    With John Howard’s support of bringing democracy to Iraq, how does he justify caving in to the Chinese dictators? Is it solely “just economics”?

  • I'm suffering for my art

    An old Chinese proverb: He who treads lightly travels far. Pissing off China with clumsy political moralising is not sensible foreign policy. There is a way to avoid sending Chen home AS WELL AS keeping onside with China. That is the optimal course of action.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Oh, and John J. Coupal: Yes, the reasons for “caving in” to China – or to put it less emotively, being sensitive towards prickly Beijing – are predominantly economic. And what is wrong with this? As right-minded folk on this blog would agree, economic concerns are directly related to human welfare.

  • snide

    economic concerns are directly related to human welfare

    Sure, a well fed prole is a happy prole, comrade.

  • John K

    This would be the Australian establishment which was happy to collude with the Indonesian rape of East Timor, in return for a share in the oil and gas fields? No surprise then.

  • Mike

    ” Pissing off China with clumsy political moralising is not sensible foreign policy.”

    Almost any alternative makes for more sensible foreign policy than craven, lickspittle appeasement. Do you think this response enhances or diminishes Beijing’s respect for Australia? Do you think it enhances or diminishes Australia’s ability to recruit human intelligence sources?

    “Yes, the reasons for “caving in” to China – or to put it less emotively, being sensitive towards prickly Beijing – are predominantly economic.”

    Would you torpedo a boat full of refugees if there were a few bucks in it? Or is there some magic number of deaths that would suddenly not be worth the money? Or would it depend on the money? I’m honestly curious.

  • ZF

    Australians: the most cheerfully corrupt members of the Anglosphere. Not likely to change anytime soon.

  • “Pissing off China with clumsy political moralising”

    Duh, what? Isn’t there some due process for an asylum request? There here in the dear old USA. It seems that the political gesture here was probably in the over-rapid denial of the request.

    Lenin was right about capitalists, they’ll always sell you the rope. The arch appeasers are always the well-connected guys with suits. “Wouldn’t be prudent to grant asylum to a guy who can help you roll up the Chinese communist spy network in your country, nope. Think of the lost jobs if don’t appease these chaps.”

    Disgusting.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Lexington Green – I suggest you familiarise yourself with all the facts of the case before making a call about “due process”. There have been some unusual omissions – I don’t know why Chen was not debriefed by ASIO, for example, and the rejection of his application was unusually fast, however that’s not surprising given Chinese sensitivities. Like I said in my post above, he’s far more likely to be granted refugee status, as opposed to political asylum. His application is currently wending its way through the Department of Immigration – hey, is that due process I smell? Thank god you’re not running foreign policy here. You’d sacrifice an untold number of jobs and income on the word of one guy who may or may not be telling the truth about something he may or may not know about – this Chinese spy network. Get a grip.

    John K – Whatever. I suppose your nation has a spotless foreign policy record, right? Australia’s more than made up for that less than proud chapter in our history by its recent actions. And our two nations are about to cut a deal over the gas reserves in the Timor sea that is very, very generous. Why, just listen to Jose Ramos Horte a few days ago praising Australia and John Howard to the hilt. The East Timorese are about to sign off on what is a very, very good deal for them, and they know it.

    ZF : What, pray tell, do you predicate that ridiculous statement on?

    Oh, come on you lot, stop pontificating for just one second and think objectively. Do you really believe that any other country in the world would act any differently given the circumstances, ie. vast economic interests at stake because of one guy who may or may not be kosher?

  • Paul Rattner

    If there’s a method of granting asylum without making a public scene, it should be used. It solves the moral problem without creating face problems that the Chinese goverment would feel FORCED to address.

    And of course we would get to find out who all these Chinese spies are. 1,000 in Sydney does seem a little over the top, though.

    I think it is hard for westerners to fully grasp just how important public appearance is to the Chinese. A public insult that would roll off the back of a western politician is a show stopping issue that must be addressed by a Chinese.

    At the same time, I think the Chinese ammenable to all kinds of agreements and problem solving if it is handled quietly.

    The goal is to advance Australia’s interests, not to prove who’s morally superior.

  • The Wobbly Guy

    All I can say about this is that the Chinese spy network is probably entrenched wherever there are Chinese businesses.

    And their current strategy seems to be tying economic well-being to their political efforts. Don’t forget who gave the world Sun-Tzu. The Chinese can play this game better than anybody else, given that they’ve caught up(more or less) in the technology department.

    And so what if China continues sinking its espionage claws into the rest of the world? The assumption here is that China has some motive to dominate the rest of the world. Which is, of course, partly true.

    Hey, if they want to spread their authoritarian capitalist creed elsewhere, all the better! Sure beats democratic socialism any day of the week, because capitalism offers a good chance at converting authoritarianism to democracy, unlike democratic socialism which is essentially a dead end(see: Europe). Hmmm… how to get them to invade Africa… ^_^

    One concern I have with this is that the already overt racism in Sydney against Chinese would only get worse. Some of my friends had bad experiences there, even though they’re Singaporean Chinese and not chinese nationals!

    TWG

  • guy herbert

    “As right-minded folk on this blog would agree, economic concerns are directly related to human welfare.”

    “Right-minded” is interesting. Are the opinions of those who aren’t right-minded to be disregarded?

    And one can believe that economics has an effect on human welfare (a near empty truism), without believing that economics (any more than physics) ought to be, or can be, a determinant of one’s of moral and political views.

    I’ve not read a single sentence on this blog in a long while that more perfectly replicates the mode of thought of the Chinese Communist Party, so the idea that other policy objectives should be overriden by not wanting to piss them off is probably a fairly natural transition.

  • guy herbert

    “All I can say about this is that the Chinese spy network is probably entrenched wherever there are Chinese businesses.”

    You don’t have to be Chinese to be an agent of China, you know. (Though you’re not going to get any authority if you aren’t, I suspect.)

    The world’s biggest, and most openly totalitarian, power probably has a network of agents bigger than any other. Not just spies. It was noticeable that London was overnight covered with “NATO out” grafitti when the Chinese Emabassy in Belgrade got inadvertently bombed. And arms salesmen and advisors are everywhere.

    Hint to US and EU: stop squaring up to each other, stop wasting your time on that largely powerless bunch of mad Arabs, and pay attention to the changing shape of the world. “When China wakes, the world will tremble” – Napoleon I.

  • Hi just found your blog there, will link ASAP

    That guy is going to be popular in China when he is returned, it is a little disturbing, makes you wonder what is going on here, if that is happening in Austrailia

  • You find this disturbing? Perry, this is small beer…

    The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia is the ‘Mos Eisley spaceport’ of the Anglosphere.

  • John K

    John K – Whatever. I suppose your nation has a spotless foreign policy record, right? Australia’s more than made up for that less than proud chapter in our history by its recent actions. And our two nations are about to cut a deal over the gas reserves in the Timor sea that is very, very generous. Why, just listen to Jose Ramos Horte a few days ago praising Australia and John Howard to the hilt. The East Timorese are about to sign off on what is a very, very good deal for them, and they know it.

    Whatever to you too.

    I’m not going to try and defend UK foreign policy, but even you have conceded that Australian behaviour over East Timor was pretty shameful. I know that there is now going to be an agreement with East Timor over the gas fields, but you had to cut a deal with East Timor because it is now a sovereign state. That status is something which the Australian establishment spent 30 years trying to frustrate, so they get no brownie points from me on that score.

    Anyway, don’t get snippy, none of this is your fault (unless you are the Australian Foreign Secretary), just as it’s not my fault that the UK government have behaved like a complete bunch of bastards towards the Diego Garcians over the years. It’s still not right though, is it?

  • Anointiata Delenda Est

    Oh Perry, think.

    Of all the Anglosphere, Ozzie best understands the Chinese mindset – no loss of face. Our friend Chen will get in to Oz, just not by the front door that he wants to kick down. (Incidentally, my opinion? He’s a con artist.)

    He’s in, we get the names of the 1000. We do nothing about the 1000, because they don’t matter. Business still gets done.

    But don’t forget, the charade is caused by Chinese red thugs, not Oz. When China finally reaps the whirlwind of adopting The West, we won’t have to go through such charades. We’ve already won, we (The West) are just being polite to the losers.

    Such exquisite games.

    ADE

  • Patrick

    This ranting is ridiculous: no-one who wasn’t pathologically indisposed to the Australian Government ever suggested that he was going back to China.

    And as far as East Timor goes, there is something going both ways. Like, East Timor gets revenues but not the seas, because no-one was willing to spend a few billions in that kind of sovereign risk climate. So the ‘obvious’ deal would have been, unsuprisingly perhaps, literally a no-brainer.

    And let’s not forget the small detail in the grander East Timor’s narrative: Australian soldiers! Not only did we give them a chance to be free, uniquely amongst UN peacekeepers, we did not rape, rob, abuse or kill them.

    All in all, I don’t think Australians need hang themselvesin shame just yet, and certainly not because of East Timor.

    Finally, Australian engagement in the entire South Pacific region is probably the world’s least-heralded and most effective human rights/aid/diplomacy/live-saving/peace-keeping/state building/’enlightened’ initiatives, ever.

  • Eastbridge

    Oh Perry, think

    Yes Perry, it is silly of you to take the Australian elite (and their apologists in this comment area) to task for being sooooo sensitive to the repressive regime in Bejing. I always thought we should have been more sensitive to Soviet feeling as well. I mean, Commies are people too!

    You got it totally correct in the title as proved by the “Oh but we are just being clever!” comments. I am just glad I don’t live there anymore.

  • John

    Calm down chaps. I don’t think Chen will get sent back – some face saving deal will be struck. And as for heaping abuse on Australia – well , well! Some have short memories. Remember how the UK sent sent Russians back to Stalin’s embrace and death at the end of WW2. The Brits going to war over the Falklands but not a whimper over Hong Kong. The French sink the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland harbour and then use all manner of trade threats to force NZ to release their terrorist agents. The US has supported some pretty ghastly governments in Sth America. I guess one copuld go on and on. Was it de Gaulle who said a country has no friends, only interests. It is messy and amoral but it is the way foreign policies work. Get used to it, it isn’t going to change in a hurry.
    Sneer at Australia if you wish but remember that this country has done it’s fair share of the hard yards to win the freedom which enables you to do just that.

  • John J. Coupal

    Wobbly One,
    You say…”Hmmm…how to get them [Chinese] to invade Africa…”

    The Chinese already have invaded Africa in addition to the Sudan -in of all places-…Zimbabwe!! The “informal merchants” of Harare (Zimbabweans) are being pummelled by Mugabe’s thugs so merchants of more dintinction (i.e., Chinese) can take over choice sales locations in Harare and Bulawayo.

    Those productive farm lands seized by Mugabe are now becoming the property of….Chinese landowners, since the ZANU-PF veterans don’t seem to know what to do with them.

    Check out the 26 May post on http://thosewhodare.blogspot.com

  • John, you seem to be under the misapprehension we are sort of folks to give a free ride over Yalta or Rainbow Warrior or bizarre US policies in Latin America… not here I assure you. However I do not understand your point about Hong Kong & the Falklands given that China did not invade Hong Kong.

    As for pointing out the amoral and immoral nature of nation-states, well no kidding… that was rather my point and why I write nasty things about the elites of many places, so why should I spare Australia’s ruling class when they act in a craven manner by pandering to a nasty repressive regime?

    Likewise it does not hurt to praise policies which decrease the sum of evil (yes, I supported the move to help East Timor escape from Indonesian clutches). But if the people who run nation states act despicably, why not point it out given that they just LOVE to wrap themselves in sanctimonious moral superiority when it suits them? They already have power, but why just allow them to claim they are anything more than the whores they really are?

  • Eastbridge

    It’s amazing how sensitive Australians are when “their” elite is taking stick. It’s a measure of how fragile local psyches are compared to the UK or US, which is probably why the place is so dysfunctional.

    You guys slag off your own governments (US and UK) but when you point out how rancid things are in Oz, oh my how touchy people get.

  • John

    Perry,
    > do not understand your point about Hong Kong & the Falklands given that China did not invade Hong Kong.< They didn't need to. Do you really believe the Chinese would have allowed the UK to hold on to Hong Kong? Britain yielded it because its, Britain's, position was untenable. A correct UK decision, in my view, but presumably one that confirms you view of the nasty elite. (Just joking!)

    >so why should I spare Australia’s ruling class when they act in a craven manner by pandering to a nasty repressive regime? < But have they? How about calming down a bit and seeing what eventuates. In spite of the bleak view of posters here regarding the parentage of Australians I can assure you that there will be an uproar if Chen is sent back to China. Anybody here heard of Tienanmen and the terrible fate of the Chinese students in Australia at the time? The poor buggers were allowed to stay in this "dysfunctional' country.

    Eastbridge,
    >which is probably why the place is so dysfunctional.<
    You should be so lucky, mate.

    As for the bloke who expressed the view he is glad he doesn’t live here any more. Well, so are we. Sorry, I couldn’t resist that.

    Kia ora katoa

  • Larry the Lurker

    Rupert Murdoch, the great communicator, remains Australian at heart despite changing his nationality so he could buy a TV station. His performance vis a vis Chinese communism is exemplary: refusing to publish Chris Patten’s memoirs of the Hong Kong handover because it might threaten his deal to pump satellite TV into Chinese homes. Happily, the Chinese were too discerning to allow a gaijin channel to be much of a success.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    I hate to be smug, but sometimes it’s hard to restrain myself

    The naivety of some of the commenters here is quite breathtaking.

    Guy Herbert – I think you’ve missed the point. I’m not trying to impose a set of values; when I say “economics are linked to human welfare” I meant it in the context that it’s foolhardy to make some empty moral point and put at risk a relationship that is literally driving Australia’s current prosperity. Making some sort of stand over Chen, rather than achieving the same outcome through more subtle means, is the sort of sanctimonious, holier-than-thou and ultimately self-defeating politics redolent of the left side of the house. I have absolutely no doubt that if Chen was defecting in the UK, the USA, France, Germany, Canada, take your pick, there’s plenty more – those governments would be very mindful about their conduct vis a vis China, in the same way Australia is. It’s just sensible foreign policy.

    but you had to cut a deal with East Timor because it is now a sovereign state.

    Yes, John, and who made it thus? IMO Australia’s treatment of East Timor over the last 5 years or so has more than made up for the neglect and amorality shown since the Indonesian annexation. I am proud of this nation’s seminal role in the liberation of East Timor, not ashamed. And Australia continues to be a good, benevolent neighbour of that country.

    Frankly, Eastbridge, I am amazed that you would post such ill-considered ramblings. They’re so overtly fallacious that I won’t even bother fisking them.

    why should I spare Australia’s ruling class

    You shouldn’t, however I think you’ve aimed at the wrong target on this one. I can’t see anything surprising in the way the Australian government has acted. As I said above, I’m convinced that most other nation states would behave in a similar way.