Foreign media: Chinese scholars are suspected of being investigated by the Australian side for refusing Australian officials to buy intelligence

7 days ago • 4 pageviews

Source: Global Times New Media

Recently, some Australian media broke a very strange news, saying that a scholar of international relations from a university in Beijing, China, was suddenly investigated by Australian intelligence agencies and the country's police during an academic exchange in Australia in August this year, and his mobile phone and computer were confiscated.

What is even more strange is that before he was suddenly investigated, someone claiming to be "representing Australian officials" had contacted him and offered him a sum of cash to buy information from him, but he refused.

At present, this matter not only surprised and surprised the Australian academic community, but also many international relations scholars in China are speculating about who this colleague is and why the Australian intelligence services are doing this...

This bizarre incident was first exposed on September 10 by the Australian edition of the British newspaper The Guardian.

According to the newspaper, the scholar, an associate professor of international relations, particularly between China and Australia, from a major Chinese research university, was targeted and investigated by Australian intelligence during a visit to Australian universities in July and August.

The Australian edition of The Guardian further said that the Chinese scholar was jointly investigated by Australian intelligence and police in Perth, Australia, on August 20, and his mobile phone and computer were confiscated and never returned.

Although Australian intelligence said at the time that the Chinese scholar was in accordance with the legal process, said they believed that there were some security problems with the Chinese scholar's entry into Australia on a tourist visa, and asked him to go to Sydney for further security assessment, the scholar refused the matter and decided to return to China early.

Chinese scholars are suspected of being investigated by Australian intelligence agencies for refusing Australian officials to purchase intelligence.

But strangely, an Australian person who knows the Chinese scholar's itinerary in Australia revealed to the Australian edition of The Guardian that a few days before the investigation, the Chinese scholar met a man claiming to be from the "Australian Federal Government" in Brisbane, Australia, and the man directly took out a paper bag containing 2,000 Australian dollars in cash, and said that the institution he came from was very interested in the information and contacts held by the Chinese scholar and was ready to use the money to buy information from him.

However, the Chinese scholar rejected the man, did not accept his money, and refused to attend a follow-up meeting that the man had invited him to.

Australian media said a man who claimed to be from the "Australian federal government" took out a paper bag containing $2,000 in cash and said he wanted to buy intelligence.

Not only that, but during the Chinese scholar's visit to Sydney in July this year, a woman also approached him. The woman claimed to be from an organization that "advises high-profile international clients with interests in the Indo-Pacific" and invited the Chinese scholar to be their professional advisor to the two meetings.

But when the Chinese scholar offered to record the conversation at the first meeting and was rejected, he refused to attend the institution's other meetings.

Chinese scholars were also approached by a woman during a visit to Sydney in July.

The Guardian Australia did not disclose whether the two men whom the Chinese scholar met and rejected in Brisbane and Sydney were related to his surprise investigation by Australian intelligence and police on August 20. The newspaper also said it would not disclose the name of the Chinese scholar for legal and security reasons.

However, Australian academics who know about these events but wish to remain anonymous are clearly unhappy with the Australian intelligence and police approach. One scholar told the Australian edition of The Guardian that the Chinese scholar actually understands Australia's domestic politics and can make some of the voices Australia needs in China, and that the high-pressure approach taken by Australian intelligence and police against him will only be counterproductive.

Somewhat hilariously, the Australian scholar also believes that this incident will cause hype from China's "nationalist media" and attacks on Australia's "double standards" - although it was the Australian side that created this strange incident, not the so-called Chinese "nationalist media".

Australian scholars believe the matter will cause hype in China's "nationalist media".

At present, the incident exposed by the Australian edition of the Guardian has also attracted the attention of some international relations scholars in China. After communicating with these scholars, Geng Zhige learned that there were roughly three questions they were concerned about: Who was the Chinese scholar who was investigated by the Australian side? Why did the Australian side investigate him? Did he ask the Chinese for help after this incident?

Judging from the subsequent reports of some Western media, the reporters of these Western media are also a little confused about this matter, and Australian intelligence and police have always refused to be interviewed on this matter.

But the Australian edition of The Guardian and Reuters, which followed up on the matter, believe that the incident may have some impact on the warming Australia-China relationship. Some Australian academics interviewed by Reuters who have nothing to do with the incident but are also concerned about it are also worried that the incident may undermine academic exchanges between Australia and China, because Chinese scholars who want to study Australia must worry about whether the same thing will happen to them.

Further reading:

Foreign Minister: Germany has learned a lot from Australia on the matter of "confronting China."

According to Reuters, Australia's Sydney Morning Herald and The Western Australian, German Foreign Minister Baerbock, who has repeatedly made tough remarks on China, delivered a video speech on the 22nd local time, playing up "confronting China" while repeatedly pulling up Australia, warning Australia not to rely on China, and also claiming to cooperate with Australia and other countries to ease the "Indo-Pacific tension." It is worth noting that the report mentioned that just before this speech, she was expected to visit Australia for the first time as foreign minister last week, but had to cancel her trip because of repeated failures of the special plane.

The Sydney Morning Herald said that in a video speech on the 22nd, Baerbock directly named China many times. "China has changed, and that's why our China policy needs to change with it," she said, adding that while China is a partner on climate change, trade and investment, it challenges "the fundamental principles of how we live together in this world."

The German foreign minister said that Germany has learned a lot from Australia in the matter of "confronting China".

Reuters said that Baerbock believes that many countries have turned to China because of the lack of alternatives, and Germany wants to change this situation. At the same time, she again used the "de-risk" rhetoric, saying that Germany would not promote "bloc confrontation", but would strive to "diversify" its trading partners. "We are painfully aware of how vulnerable we have become to unilateral dependence on Russian energy imports. We don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past," she said.

In this regard, Baerbock mentioned the cooperation between Germany and Australia, saying that while the two countries hope to establish direct supply channels for rare earths and lithium mines, the "adventure road" for most of Australia's lithium mines to be processed in China needs to be reduced. "Mining and processing (also) is geopolitics," she declared.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald and The Western Australian, Baerbock also "praised Australia's exemplary role in resisting China's economic coercion" in his speech, claiming that Germany paid attention to Australia's strategy of "confronting China" when formulating its China policy. She added, "We've learned a lot from Australia in this matter. ”

Baerbock's intention to woo Australia seems obvious. It is worth noting that recently, the economic and trade relations between China and Australia have gradually warmed up and returned to normal. On August 4 this year, China's Ministry of Commerce issued an announcement announcing the termination of the "double reverse" against Australian barley that had lasted for more than three years, and announced the entire process from the filing and review of the case on April 15 to the final ruling to cancel the "double reverse". The Australian side welcomes this. "This is another sign of an improvement in the bilateral trade relationship between Australia and China since the change of government." According to the Washington Post, China is Australia's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching $287 billion in 2022.

At the same time, there are currently different voices within Germany about China. On July 13 this year, the German government released its first "China strategy", which said that Germany's China policy is rooted in the EU's China policy, and Germany hopes to continue to cooperate with China in economic and other aspects, "at the same time, we urgently need to reduce risks, but do not pursue decoupling." Experts interviewed by the Global Times believe that although the document has a strong statement on China, it still advocates cooperation. The German magazine Heathrow said in an article on August 18 that the risk of "unilateral dependence" on China is the risk of politicizing cooperation in the economic field. There is no need to demonize China or its tech companies, which would be counterproductive to Germany's digital progress, and not everything the United States does is suitable for Europe to emulate.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in response to Germany's first "China strategy" on July 14 that in the name of "removing risks" and reducing dependence, practicing competition and protectionism, and making normal cooperation pan-securitized and pan-politicized, it will only be counterproductive, artificially create risks, draw lines with values and ideologies, and clamor for the so-called system, interests and values competition to go against the trend of the times and only aggravate the division of the world. In fact, there is much more consensus than disagreement between China and Germany, cooperation is much greater than competition, and the two sides are partners rather than rivals. Under the current complex and turbulent international situation, it is hoped that the German side will take a comprehensive and objective view of China's development, formulate a rational and pragmatic China policy, work with China to cope with global challenges, and contribute more stability and positive energy to world peace and development.