August 26, 2023
From Trotskyst Platform
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Photo Above, 26 June 2020: Some of the dozens of ASIO secret police and Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers that raided the home of then NSW Labor MP, Shaoquett Moselmane. The upper house state MP was witch-hunted because he had weeks earlier made the manifestly true statement that China had responded effectively to the COVID pandemic. Moselmane was politically lynched by the mainstream media after authorities gave the media pre-warning of the raid to enhance the witch-hunt. However, later, after Moselmane’s reputation had been trashed, the AFP finally confirmed that he had no case to answer … and that they never intended to charge him!

OPPOSE THE PERSECUTION OF AUSTRALIAN-CHINESE COMMUNITY ORGANISATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS
WHO ARE SYMPATHETIC TO RED CHINA!

RESIST THE COLD WAR REPRESSION!

26 August 2023: Di Sanh Duong is a respected member of Melbourne’s Chinese community. The man in his late 60s, known affectionately as “Sunny”, is the president of the Oceania Federation of Chinese Organisations. The group represents people of Chinese descent that have roots in the Chinese minority communities of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. In June 2020, in front of the then immigration minister Alan Tudge, Duong made a donation of more than $37,000 on behalf of his organisation to the Royal Melbourne Hospital to help the latter treat COVID patients. This big donation to a hospital made by Duong’s organisation during the height of the pandemic would be an act that would win most people in most countries respect for themselves and their organisation. But not for an ethnic Chinese person in present day Australia, during the midst of the anti-China, anti-communist Cold War! And especially not for a prominent member of a Chinese organisation that – as is the case with Duong’s organisation – has “failed” to enlist in the U.S. and Australian ruling classes’ propaganda war against Red China! For his “terrible deed” of making a large public donation to a hospital on behalf of a Chinese community organisation that is mildly sympathetic to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Di Sanh Duong is facing ten years jail for breaching Australia’s draconian “Foreign Interference” laws. Duong is the first person charged under these 2018 laws. He is currently on bail awaiting trial.

How on earth can Australia’s capitalist regime claim that a person making a donation to a public hospital is engaged in “foreign interference” on behalf of the Communist Party of China (CPC)?!! Well, that would be hard to sell. So, the authorities have instead charged Duong with “engaging in conduct with the intention of preparing for, or planning, foreign interference.” If that sounds like a very vague charge that could be used to target any political opponent … it’s because that is precisely what it is! Australia’s capitalist state wants to persecute Duong for daring to lead an organisation that has a somewhat positive view of socialistic China. The Oceania Federation of Chinese Organisations has apparently signed petitions opposing the Western powers’ provocative interference in the South China Sea issues. Not that Sunny Duong and his organisation are any kind of communists. Indeed, Duong was a member of the Liberal Party and only resigned from it after his arrest. Duong’s soft sympathy for China is likely based on a patriotic pride that an ethnic Chinese country that until seven decades ago had been ground down and humiliated by Western imperial powers has, since the foundation of the PRC, become a highly successful country. Moreover, as a businessman whose company’s operation, providing graveyard stone memorials, has a main client base amongst the Chinese community, Duong is no doubt shaped by the reality that having a positive attitude towards the PRC plays well with customers.

Federal prosecutors claim that Duong’s donation to the hospital charity was a means for him to “interfere” with then immigration minister Tudge – presumably by presenting Duong in a good light to the minister. Yet if that logic is followed consistently, there would literally be tens of thousands of other donors being arrested: for every single person who makes a donation to a charity in a public way is doing it to win themselves credibility with others and gain the influence which that brings. Yet the Australian regime is fine with nearly all others who make public donations to charity. Indeed, when a billionaire tycoon publicly donates to a charity a tiny fraction of the wealth that they have leached from the masses, the regime gushes with praise. But when the leader of a Chinese organisation that is somewhat sympathetic to the PRC makes such a donation, Australia’s regime screams that that this is a sinister act of “foreign interference” on behalf of the CPC. Such a claim is a crystal clear example of McCarthyism. McCarthyism, the name given to the 1950s anti-communist witch-hunt in the U.S. and Australia, is based on the premise that those who either support communism or are even mildly sympathetic to a socialistic state should be treated with suspicion and denied the rights accorded to others … in this case even the right to publicly donate to a local public hospital!

Ironically, the “Foreign Interference” laws that Duong is being persecuted under were instituted under the guise of defending Australia’s supposed “democratic system” against the influence of “authoritarian powers” – principally the PRC. Yet the reality is that while China’s authorities have never threatened to jail a single one of her 1.4 billion residents merely for donating to a public hospital charity, their Australian counterparts want to do precisely this merely because the donor has dissenting foreign policy views to their regime! Now that is authoritarian! So is the fact that part of the evidence brief in Di Sanh Duong’s trial has been withheld from him, his lawyers and the media on the supposed grounds of protecting “national security information”. Even more worrying are suggestions that part or even all of Di Sanh Duong’s trial will be held in secret. These concerns have been amplified by the fact that there has been no media reporting whatsoever on his trial’s direction hearings that had been scheduled for earlier this year and no reporting on when Duong’s exact trial date is. Moreover, online links to certain more recent media articles on his case have been broken. All this suggests that the courts have placed a partial gag order on more current reporting on the case, including the outcome of directions hearings and the exact trial date.

Melbourne, 2 June 2020: The act of charity that has Di Sanh Duong facing trial on a charge that carries a ten year sentence. In the presence of then acting minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge, Duong made a $37,450 donation to the Royal Melbourne Hospital on behalf of his Oceania Federation of Chinese Organisations. Australia’s capitalist regime has ridiculously branded the donation “conduct with the intention of preparing for, or planning, foreign interference” on behalf of China!

SOCIALISTIC RULE IN CHINA:
GREAT FOR THE WORKING CLASS OF AUSTRALIA BUT
AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO THE CAPITALIST RULERS

Despite how truly bizarre this persecution of Sunny Duong is, the mainstream Australian media have reported on the case as if the prosecution is perfectly rational. So why is the entire Australian ruling class intent on persecuting a hospital charity donor? A big part of their motivation is to manufacture a fear of China amongst the population. They want to present China as an evil power – a devil that secretly “interferes” in Australia’s internal affairs with sinister motivations. This helps the ruling class to mobilise the population behind its participation in the U.S.-led campaign to strangle socialistic rule in China through all-sided political, military, economic, diplomatic and propaganda pressure. That begs the question of why the hell a ruling class wants to suffocate its biggest trading partner. And why would it want to spend half a trillion dollars of public money acquiring nuclear submarines in order to threaten a country whose huge purchases of Australian exports had, for three decades, single-handedly prevented this country’s economy from spiralling into deep recessions. However, it turns out that although their participation in the new Cold War against socialistic China is very harmful to the overwhelming majority of Australia’s population, it makes sense from the greedy point of view of the capitalist class that rules this country. For socialistic China’s mutually beneficial cooperation with developing countries is allowing these countries to pry out greater independence from the rich capitalist powers that plunder and subjugate them. In the South Pacific, the likes of the Solomon Islands, PNG, East Timor and Vanuatu are able to leverage their cooperation with Red China to either slowly squeeze out the predatory Australian regime and the Australian-owned corporations that the regime serves or force them to offer these countries a fairer deal. As a result, just like their American, British, Japanese, German and French counterparts, Australian capitalists are losing big money as a result of socialistic China’s engagement with Western imperialism’s former colonies! In decaying capitalism’s current stage, the capitalist bigwigs in the richer countries actually face an implosion of their economies unless they can make up for the increasing chaos of their domestic economies by, within the ex-colonial countries, super-exploiting labour, looting natural resources, seizing markets and leaching interest payments on debt. Therefore, to the extent that China’s collaboration with the ex-colonial countries is inadvertently impeding all this, she is indeed a “threat” to the Western capitalist ruling classes.

However, the capitalist powers see still greater threats posed by China’s rise through a system dominated by socialistic public ownership of the strategic sectors of her economy. For one, what if her successes inspire the toiling classes of other developing countries to also grab power and wrest their country onto a socialist path? Then, just like China, these countries would also become genuinely economically independent of the imperial powers. That would cause the Western capitalists to suffer huge losses to their imperialist super-profits. Most worrying for the capitalist powers is the prospect that socialistic China’s rapidly developing economy will see her per capita incomes catch up to those of the richest countries within the next three decades. For the capitalist ruling classes in Australia, the U.S., Britain and France know that with their “own” masses seething over unaffordable rents, falling real wages, inadequate infrastructure and all manner of social malaise, their own working classes will be soon demanding socialism if they see that a socialistic giant like China can deliver her people comparable incomes while ensuring wide access to low-rent public housing, ever-improving infrastructure, freedom from the painful boom-bust economic cycles of capitalism and a happy and largely harmonious society. Therefore, the Western capitalists understand that their quest to crush socialistic rule in China is a necessity for the maintenance of their supremacy over their own countries. This truth is not substantially altered by the reality that China’s course towards full socialism remains unfinished and working class rule there is deformed and weakened by external and internal capitalist pressure. Those realities only give the capitalist powers and the supressed capitalists within China encouragement in their quest to overthrow socialistic rule. However, the ruling classes of the capitalist powers also understand that if they fail to accomplish this task within the next three decades, or at minimum suffocate the PRC enough to prevent her from catching up to the per capita incomes of the richest countries, then they, the capitalists, will be toppled from power by their own resurgent working class masses.

Final inspection line at the electric car workshop of China’s GAC Aion New Energy Automobile company in Guangzhou. Like most of China’s auto manufacturing giants, GAC is state-owned. The Western capitalist rulers fear that the successes of China’s socialistic system based on public ownership of the strategic sectors of the economy – the property system through which working-class people can rule society – will eventually inspire the toiling classes in their own countries to also demand socialism.
Photo credit: Deng Hua/Xinhua

So, when the Western ruling classes shout that “Communist China is an existential threat” they are right. But not at all for the reason that the capitalist rulers’ present to their own populations: that China is an “aggressive” power. Red China has absolutely no intention whatsoever of invading Australia or of coercing other countries. Let’s remember that it is not China that invaded and killed hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq. It is not the Chinese military that occupied Afghanistan, executed civilians there and massacred Afghan onion farmers. And it is not the PRC that is today pouring huge amounts of deadly weapons into Ukraine to push Ukrainians to fight to the last drop of Ukrainian blood in a brutal proxy war against Russia. It is not China that orchestrated a bloody late 20th century war against the people of Bougainville in order to defend the huge profits of a ruthless Australian mining company or that twice occupied East Timor in order to create a political order there that would facilitate the plunder of that country’s seabed gas resources by Australian corporations or that invaded Tonga in 2006 to brutally crush a pro-democracy, anti-monarchy uprising. No, all these acts of predatory militarism were the work of the Australian imperialist ruling class and its U.S. senior partner. In stark contrast, the PRC has not fought a single shooting war in the last 45 years and has never fought a war within countries that do not directly border her.

As we explained, the real “existential threat” posed by Red China is the threat to the capitalist order that would arise should the exploited masses in the capitalist world become impressed with socialistic China’s successes in poverty alleviation. Yet it is precisely the capitalist order that is hitting the masses with unaffordable housing costs, ever-more insecure forms of employment, worsening poverty levels and increasing racist persecution of minorities and First Nations peoples. Any encouragement of the struggle for socialism resulting from awareness of the achievements of socialistic rule in China boosts the struggle of the downtrodden of Australia and the world for their liberation from capitalism. On the other hand, if the capitalist powers and capitalist counterrevolutionary forces within China succeed in jointly overthrowing socialistic rule there, workers’ wages in China would drastically plummet. China would be turned into a giant sweatshop for capitalist exploitation that would pull down workers’ rights in every country on the planet in a race to the bottom. That is why the working class of the world have a clear interest to resolutely defend socialistic rule in China. We must fight to: Oppose the U.S./NATO/Australian military build-up targeting Red China! Resist the expansion of military bases in Darwin! Stop the Australian military’s acquisition of long-range Tomahawk cruise missiles! Torpedo the AUKUS nuclear submarine deal! Get the U.S. and Australian navies out of the South China Sea! Resist Western military and political support for the anti-working class Taiwanese regime! Oppose the U.S. and Australian ruling classes’ financial and political support for forces seeking to destroy the Chinese workers state – whether they be lobbyists for greater “rights” for the capitalist private sector, pro-colonial opposition forces in Hong Kong or anti-communist, pseudo-“pro-democracy” activists! Combat the lying anti-communist propaganda attacks against China – whether over COVID or treatment of her Uyghur minority! Repel the Australian regime’s aggressive anti-China diplomatic offensive in the South Pacific! Resist the new McCarthyism in Australia – Don’t let them silence those who advocate against the anti-China Cold War! Drop all charges against Di Sanh Duong!

RIVAL PRO-CAPITALIST FACTIONS STANDING TOGETHER TO PROSECUTE THE NEW MCCARTHYIST CAMPAIGN

Despite the capitalist rulers’ fears about Red China’s “existential threat”, Beijing does not promote socialist revolution internationally. On the contrary, it pledges its respect for the capitalist ruling class of other countries “choosing the system that suits its own country’s needs.” This is another way of Beijing saying that it is happy to see capitalist exploiters continue to maintain their stranglehold over the currently capitalist countries as long as they allow China to practice socialistic rule within her own country. As supporters of the exploited of Australia and the world, this is a policy that we criticise. It is the duty of workers states – especially ones as powerful as the PRC – to support the struggle for workers’ liberation in the currently capitalist countries. The PRC must openly throw its political weight behind the struggles of the oppressed in the capitalist world. She must loudly declare solidarity with strikes for workers rights within Australia, with protest actions here in defence of public housing and with First Nations people’s resistance against racist state terror. The masses of Australia badly need this kind of “Chinese interference”! Taking such a stance is not only a matter of practicing communist internationalism. It is also a question of defending socialistic rule within China itself. For if most of the world remains under capitalist rule and if the workers movements within the capitalist powers do not rise to such a level that they mobilise in defence of the Chinese workers state as part of resisting their own rulers, socialistic rule in China will inevitably crumble under the incessant pressure of the combined West. This will be the case despite China’s gigantic size. Let’s never forget how the seemingly invincible Soviet workers state was destroyed by imperialist pressure.

Yet despite Beijing’s insular policy, Australia’s ruling class still scream of “rampant Chinese foreign interference”. If one examines closely all their accusations of “Chinese interference”, one will see that even these hyped-up allegations are never ones of China trying to alter Australia’s political system. Rather, all their claims are about alleged PRC efforts to nudge Australian politicians to take a less hostile stance towards China and for Australian elites to take a more positive view of the PRC. This alleged kind of “interference” is simply what every diplomatic service of every country openly seeks to do through its embassies! However, when Australia’s ruling class hear of any effort to portray socialistic China in a positive light, they see red! This exploiting class is so frightened about the widespread discontent amongst their own masses that they fear – quite rationally from their point of view – that any spread of sympathy for the biggest socialistic state could set off a pro- communist, left-wing radicalisation within Australia.

As this chart from the Global Wage Report 2022-2023 proves, workers in the People’s Republic of China have enjoyed by far the fastest growth rate in real wages of any large economy in the world – either “Advanced” or “Emerging”. Since 2008, real wages in China have close to tripled. No other G20 country has had even a quarter of this growth rate in real wages (Turkey also had a fast growth rate in real wages for a period but these real wages have since plummeted in recent years as inflation sky-rocketed). Unlike the few capitalist countries that have also had fast economic growth in this period, like India, the benefits of China’s growth have flowed mostly to working-class people and the poor.

Of course, the ruling class also cynically hype up claims of “Chinese interference” to “justify” their Cold War. All the political factions that support their rule have been doing this from the far-right One Nation and United Australia Parties to the conservative Liberal-National Coalition to the Teal “Independents” to the social-democratic ALP to the progressive-liberal Greens. Although these political forces have many – sometimes bitter – differences with each other, when it comes to crucial questions concerning the basic survival of capitalist rule, they unite as one. And given that the entire capitalist class understand that the growing successes of a socialistic giant in Asia will ultimately inspire a threat to their own rule, all the factions upholding the capitalist “order” have come together to both combat the socialistic power and to whip up the “CPC interference”-scare that they use to justify their anti-PRC campaign. For example, look at the positions taken by the different pro-capitalist factions when Australia’s “Foreign Interference” laws were brought before parliament in 2018 by the former right-wing Turnbull government. The main aim of these “Foreign Interference” laws is to suppress expressions of positive views about the PRC – especially from within Australia’s Chinese community – by criminalising certain means of expressing such views and thereby intimidating those sympathetic to the PRC. Although there was dissent from the Greens and other Senate cross-benchers about certain aspects of the proposed laws, in the end, every single member of both the House of Representatives and the Senate voted for the laws.

To be sure, particular factions have been especially rabid in promoting the new McCarthyism. Leading the charge are people on the hard right of the Liberal Party, like shadow home affairs minister, James Paterson, and shadow defence minister, Andrew Hastie (the latter notorious for having led the white supremacist cause celebre for special “refugee status” for rich, white South African farm bosses). Yet, Labor MPs Deborah O’Neill and Peter Khalil have been just as extreme. And although the Greens have opposed the AUKUS nuclear submarine plans, sections of the Greens have been the most fanatical McCarthyists of all. Thus, it was Greens senator David Shoebridge – when he was a NSW MP – who successfully spearheaded a campaign to drive out the Chinese language-teaching Confucius Institutes from schools. Shrieking that the institute was a tool for Chinese “foreign interference”, Shoebridge even attacked the then NSW Liberal government from the far right, accusing them of being slow to crack down on the Institute.

OPPOSE THE COLD WAR MARGINALISATION OF AUSTRALIA’S CHINESE COMMUNITY!

It is no surprise that the neo-McCarthyist witch-hunt has first targeted the Chinese community. Fears that this White European outpost in Asia would be “over-run” by the hundreds-of-millions-strong Chinese populations to our north runs deep within Australia’s racist mythologies. During Australia’s mid-19th century gold rush, Chinese immigrants were beaten and killed by racist mobs. Then, immediately upon federation in 1901, the new parliament passed the White Australia Policy act. This notorious law restricting non-white immigration was mainly aimed at keeping out Chinese people and Pacific Islanders. Today, such “yellow peril” racism is being slyly used as a fuel by those stoking anti-communist “Red peril” fears. To be sure, the China-bashers would claim that they are only opposed to the CPC and not to Chinese Australians. But they are not stupid. When they promote their Red peril agenda by warning of a Communist “Chinese invasion” or of harmful “Chinese influence”, they know that they are appealing to “yellow peril” racism.

Those who appeal to anti-Chinese racism, necessarily reinforce it. They are causing the upsurge in racist violence against people of Chinese appearance that has accompanied the intensification of the West’s Cold War against the PRC. Even a survey by the conservative Lowy Institute found that last year alone, a staggering one in seven Chinese-Australians were either violently assaulted or physically threatened because of their ethnicity. In one attack on ANZAC Day this year, several Asian Australians in Brisbane were attacked by a man believing that they were Chinese. Screaming anti-Chinese insults, he assaulted the Asian-Australians fishing on a pier with metal crutches used as a weapon.

Other than being a soft target, there is another reason why the ruling class have made the Chinese community the main target of their new McCarthyist witch-hunt. That is because they know that the more astute of the masses will want to verify whether the China-bashing propaganda they have been fed is true and in order to do this they will logically turn to Chinese-Australians for feedback. Given that there are some 1.4 million people in this country of Chinese ancestry, Chinese- Australians can have much impact in shaping the broader population’s views about China. This terrifies the capitalist class. For they know that the majority of Chinese-Australians have a positive view of the PRC, especially the nearly 800,000 first and second generation migrants from mainland China. The ruling class would like to put this down to their conspiracy theory that Beijing’s “influence operations” are “manipulating” Chinese Australians. The truth is a lot simpler. Most Chinese Australians have a far better idea of what the PRC is really like than the rest of the population. This is especially the case for relatively recent migrants from mainland China or for those who regularly visit there or are still in close contact with family and friends. They know how much people have been lifted out of poverty through the PRC and how quickly the country’s infrastructure has improved. Although they are aware of China’s issues too, most migrants from mainland China have an overall positive view of the country – especially working class Chinese-Australians. Therefore, Australia’s ruling class is obsessed with stopping pro-PRC Chinese-Australians from sharing their opinions about China with the broader population. Their “Foreign Interference” laws, their persecution of Di Sanh Duong and their media’s hyped-up propaganda that Beijing is working through the Chinese community to “interfere” in Australia are all aimed at intimidating pro-PRC Chinese-Australians into silence.

The ruling class have still more sinister methods of silencing Chinese people who are sympathetic to the PRC. In June 2020, the ASIO secret police raided the homes of Chinese journalists working in Australia. Australia’s secret police subjected the journalists to heavy-handed interrogations and seized their computers and smart phones. They then demanded that the journalists not report the raids. Since then, very credible reports have emerged from within the Australian-Chinese community that many members of Chinese social organisations have been subjected to intimidating interrogations by ASIO as part of supposed “Foreign Interference” investigations. The number of people said to be interrogated is very large – at least in the dozens but possibly in the hundreds. In true totalitarian fashion, Australia’s secret police demanded that those interrogated keep silent about what was done to them. Therefore, it is not publicly known exactly who has been raided or even to which particular organisations they belong. Nevertheless, the effect of this sinister intimidation combined with the “Foreign Interference” laws and the media witch-hunts has been to cause most of the Chinese organisations that have either a sympathetic or neutral attitude towards the PRC to greatly reduce their activities. If one looks at the website of what was once one of the most popular Chinese community organisation in Australia, the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China (ACPPRC), one can see that since it held a January 2020 fundraising dinner for the NSW rural fire brigades, the ACPPRC has held no public events whatsoever. Given that the ACPPRC has been a prime target of media red-baiting and was seven months ago coercively hit with an Attorney-General’s Department “transparency notice” declaring it to be “a foreign government related entity”, one can presume that officers of this group have been amongst those interrogated by ASIO.

Given that, reflecting community views, most social organisations based upon mainland Chinese immigrants are either sympathetic to or neutral in their orientation towards the PRC, the Australian regime’s Cold War campaign has decimated Chinese community life. Not only has it silenced the bulk of the Chinese community from publicly expressing their views about the PRC, it has diminished the voice of Chinese community members about other issues. This was evident in a recent local government decision to name a portion of the Sydney suburb of Eastwood as “Koreatown”. Given that people of Korean ancestry make up less than 9% of Eastwood, the decision to name a part of this nearly 50% ethnic Chinese suburb without consulting the suburb’s Chinese residents has provoked anger within the Chinese community. As a joint statement by the Australian-Chinese Workers Association and Trotskyist Platform pointed out:

… even if the Koreatown project was not itself aimed at sending the provocative message to the Australian-Chinese community that if it does not adhere to the China-bashing agenda it will be further marginalised, it nevertheless reflects the fact that the Australian-Chinese community has already been shoved so far to the margins that mainstream political actors think that its concerns can be simply ignored….

“… The hardening of White Australia racism that has occurred through the Cold War witch-hunt of the Chinese community ultimately targets all people of colour in this country. Therefore, given that ethnic divisions are poison to working class struggle, it is in the interests of working class activists of all ethnicities as well as people of Asian, African, Middle Eastern and Islander backgrounds to oppose the marginalisation and stigmatisation of the Chinese community. As Samuel Kim [a prominent Trotskyist Platform central committee member of Korean descent] stressed: many fellow ethnic Koreans in Australia have been physically attacked and abused by racists assuming that they were Chinese [including two of the Asian people who were attacked on a Brisbane pier while fishing on ANZAC Day].”

ANZAC Day 2023, Brisbane: A racist (wearing the light blue shirt) armed with a weapon violently attacks Asian Australians of Korean and Thai background while screaming racist insults against Chinese people. Those who have appealed to racist “Yellow Peril” racism to boost their “Red Peril” anti-communist agenda have been responsible for fueling an alarming rise in racist attacks on people of Chinese and other East Asian backgrounds.

By silencing through intimidation the pro-PRC voices within the Chinese community, Australia’s capitalist rulers are enabling the ramblings of the smaller, anti-communist section of the Chinese community to be heard louder. This distorted presentation of the views of the Chinese community is evident in the media sphere too. In the past, all peoples of colour were greatly under-represented in the news media. The media is notorious for this colour bar. And given the fact that the Australian media is owned by either big-time capitalists or by the capitalist regime, it is unthinkable for an ethnic Chinese supporter of the PRC to be given a prominent role as an Australian news presenter or even be given serious airtime in an interview. However, given the propaganda value for the ruling class of having ethnic Chinese people speak out against communism, those few Chinese-Australians that either happen to be anti-communist or are willing to sell out any principles to further their own careers (in other words, people of the type who would sell their own grandmothers!) are allowed to not only break through the media colour bar but are even assisted to leap-frog their white counterparts into prominent roles. ABC News, in particular, now has a posse of high-profile ethnic Chinese journalists spewing out anti-communist propaganda. As a result of both this practice and the silencing of the voices of pro-PRC and even neutral Chinese organisations, non- Chinese Australians are being deceived into thinking that most Chinese-Australians oppose the PRC and her system. And that is exactly what the capitalist ruling class wants us to think!

With the voices of those whose connections enable them to accurately tell fellow Australians what is happening in China increasingly suppressed, the Australian regime is able to get away with throwing out there ever more fanciful claims about China. Thus, over the last few days, the ABC ran a campaign to convince us that “China’s economy is in deep trouble.” The real fact however is that the PRC economy grew last quarter at the highly impressive rate of 6.3% year on year – the highest growth rate of any major economy in the world – and most crucially did so while continuing to boost her workers’ real wages and keep inflation at literally zero!

China today has one of the fastest economic growth rates of any major economy in the world, with a year-on-year growth rate in the last quarter triple that of Australia’s. Despite this, Australian-regime owned ABC and other mainstream media are somehow trying to claim that China’s economy “is in deep trouble.” The capitalist media’s ability to sell such ridiculous lies is made easier by the silencing of the pro-PRC section of the Australian-Chinese community through repression and intimidation.

COLD WAR REPRESSION KEEPS
GETTING MORE INTENSE

The section of the ethnic Chinese population that the Australian ruling class is most determined to silence are Chinese international students. Since the college environment means that these students would interact with many local students – most at the age when they are still forming their political views – Chinese international students could significantly shape local students’ perceptions of the PRC. What horrifies Australia’s rulers is that despite experiencing life in wealthier Australia the overwhelming majority of these students remain sympathetic to Red China and proud of her achievements. So, when in August 2019, in response to anti-PRC riots in Hong Kong, Chinese international students in Sydney organised a 5,000 strong pro-PRC march, ASIO unleashed threatening interrogations of rally organisers. It was not until those student organisers returned to China that they felt safe to even publicise the Australian secret police intimidation. Since then, the Australian regime, via an order of its Federal Court of Australia, has censored Australians from accessing the main website where the activists detailed their frightening experiences (https://news.have8.tv/2636880.html) using the excuse that the site has made a “copyright infringement” (yeah, right!)

In the four years since, the neo-McCarthyist repression has greatly intensified. Earlier this year the Albanese government banned public sector employees from accessing the popular Chinese-based, short-video platform, TikTok, on government devices. At the start of this month, a parliamentary committee recommended imposing the same ban on another Chinese social media platform, WeChat. Moreover, the committee demanded that the platforms be subjected to “transparency requirements”. Imposing such requirements could then be a trigger for completely banning the platforms if the requirements are “not met”. However, as a high-profile report by anti-communist researchers that was submitted to the committee’s inquiry made clear, the main objection of the ruling class and its hacks is not that TikTok could be used for state surveillance [which is a loony conspiracy theory] but that the company would bias algorithms to promote pro-China narratives and “socialist core values.” Even if the latter were true, we say: so what! After all, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube bias their algorithms to promote the agenda of the Western capitalist ruling classes. Facebook is programmed to minimise the views of articles and accounts with a pro-PRC stance, like those of ourselves in Trotskyist Platform. This bias has increased in recent years. Meanwhile, these major Western social media platforms have each banned tens of thousands of accounts expressing pro-PRC political ideas. We say people ought to be free to access platforms that have an opposing slant to these Western capitalist-owned platforms. People must be free to decide for themselves! It is striking how those who say that they are intent on defending Australia’s “democracy” from “authoritarian influence” insist on carrying out censorship of opposing voices using the very same arguments that all “authoritarian” regimes used to justify their censorship: that certain views and biases are not acceptable. In truth it is not overtly political messaging on the likes of TikTok that worries the Australian ruling class. Rather they fear that Australian youth seeing clips of daily life of Chinese people from viral videos of their interaction with their golden retriever pets, to funny clips of them pranking their friends, to their holiday snapshots could undermine the efforts of anti-communist propaganda to portray life in Red China as a grey, monotonous and joyless existence.

Above: On New Year’s Eve 2023, actresses perform a dance of the Va ethnic group at a scenic spot in Kunming, capital of southwest China’s Yunnan Province. Below: Students learn taekwondo during an after-class activity in a school in Baotou in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The Australian ruling class wants to restrict Australian people’s access to China-based social media apps like TikTok and WeChat because they fear that if the Australian masses hear depictions of Chinese people’s daily lives, this will undercut the Australian ruling class’ propaganda campaign to denigrate socialistic China.
Photo credit (Above photo): Liang Zhiqiang/ Xinhua
Photo credit (below photo): Peng Yuan/Xinhua

The same committee that targeted TikTok and WeChat also attacked the Australian Federal Police (AFP) for not prosecuting anyone for alleged “foreign interference” through social media. Although the politicians also mentioned people who made comments defending other states deemed hostile by Australia’s rulers – like Iran and Russia – their main targets were people who made strong social media comments attacking opponents of Red China. Some committee members, like James Paterson and David Shoebridge, were so rabid that they made the AFP Commander being grilled sound half decent. The latter explained that “a self-directed individual who’s a loyalist, let’s say, who is undertaking under their own directive … won’t fit in foreign interference because there’s no actual foreign principal or proxy connection.” He also said that supporters of the targeted states making social media comments often do not meet the “threshold” for prosecution and if their postings are threatening then that is more akin to a hate crime rather than “foreign interference”. However, the Greens David Shoebridge, who despite his strong opposition to AUKUS seems to be bidding to be Australia’s leading McCarthyist witch-hunter, rejected all this. He ranted to ABC News that the AFP’s response was not “up to scratch” claiming that his office receives a “troubling” number of reports of coordinated interference. Shoebridge demanded that “we need the AFP to do its job, take these threats seriously and take some action to let bad actors know that they will be caught and brought to justice.” If the likes of Shoebridge and Paterson have their way, dozens of supporters of socialistic China – amongst Chinese international students, the Australian-Chinese community and the broader Australian Left – would be jailed for passionately expressing their views.

The neo-McCarthyist witch-hunt is only able to become more vicious because there has been inadequate push back against it. Most of Australia’s Left groups, who ought to be spearheading such resistance, have only moderately opposed some aspects of the new McCarthyism, while failing to oppose other aspects at all. The three most active Left groups – Socialist Alternative (SAlt), Socialist Alliance (SA) and Solidarity – have thus far said nothing opposing the prosecution of Di Sanh Duong or the demands to prosecute pro-PRC social media users who sharply criticise opponents of Red China. They all failed to oppose the campaign that drove out the Confucius Institutes from NSW schools.

In part, the tepid response of these groups to the neo-McCarthyist campaign flows from their perspective of seeking a strategic alliance with the Greens – a party that has been fervently pushing most aspects of the witch-hunt. It also stems from the fact that although these groups declare “No War with China”, they simultaneously support the political campaign to overthrow the PRC state – from supporting the lying propaganda that China is “brutally persecuting” her Uyghur minority to hailing the most anti-communist of last year’s anti-COVID-response protests in Shanghai and Beijing. It is thus no surprise that none of these groups condemned ASIO’s threatening interrogation of the Chinese international students that organised the August 2019 Sydney march defending PRC sovereignty over Hong Kong. After all, SAlt, SA and Solidarity were on the opposite side to these students persecuted by ASIO – they were on the side of the anti-communist Hong Kong rioters. Moreover, by supporting the political and propaganda war against Red China, these left social-democrats are strengthening the anti-communism that underpins the neo-McCarthyist witch-hunt.

In contrast, we in Trotskyist Platform have opposed all parts of the regime’s anti-communist, anti-PRC scare campaign and all its attempts to intimidate those with sympathies for the PRC. Yet we understand that we need to put still more energy into this work. We are calling for united-front action of all pro-PRC and neutral-towards-the-PRC leftists to demand: Scrap the “Foreign Interference” laws! Drop all charges against Di Sanh Duong! Down with the restrictions and planned restrictions on people’s access to Chinese social media platforms TikTok and Wechat! Stop the attacks on Chinese community organisations that exercise their right to have a sympathetic or neutral stance towards the PRC! Down with the calls to arrest people who make strong social media comments defending the PRC against anti-communists! We insist that “free speech” must include the right to express a sympathetic stance towards Red China.

EVEN NON-CHINESE AUSTRALIANS WITH PRAGMATIC
DEALINGS WITH CHINA ARE BEING TARGETED

The targets of the Cold War witch-hunt have long ago widened beyond the Australian-Chinese community. In the autumn of 2020, NSW state MP, Shaoquett Moselmane, was subjected to an intense media attack after he made the manifestly true statement that China had responded effectively to the COVID pandemic. A few weeks later, the AFP and ASIO unleashed a massive raid on Moselmane’s home to supposedly investigate “foreign interference”. It was only months later, after Moselmane’s reputation had been trashed that the AFP confirmed that Moselmane was not suspected of doing anything illegal, nor had there ever been any plan to charge him. Then his own party, the ALP, followed through on this witch-hunt by refusing to re-nominate Moselmane for his Senate position.

Now the neo-McCarthyist witch-hunt has reached such proportions that even people without the slightest sympathy for China but who have had pragmatic relations with PRC entities are being persecuted. In these cases, the repression is not aimed at silencing particular pro-PRC voices. Rather it seeks to both fuel the general “China threat” hysteria and to scare Australians away from having normal, legal, working relations with PRC institutions. In the latest case, Sydney businessman, Alexander Csergo, was imprisoned after being subjected to a high-profile arrest four months ago, accompanied by AFP ranting in the media about “espionage.” However, the next day it turned out that Csergo was not even charged with espionage but with “reckless foreign interference.” Details of the case are sketchy but it seems that Csergo merely allegedly provided, for a fee, alleged Chinese officials with open source information (that is information from the media and public websites) about “Australia’s national security”. If this is the sum content of the allegations, Csergo is no different to the numerous people in China hired by Western think tanks, government agencies and media organisations to collect open source information about China’s political and security matters.

In one of the most outrageous persecutions of this entire neo-McCarthyist campaign, Australian citizen and former U.S. fighter pilot, Daniel Duggan, is facing extradition to the U.S. simply for training Chinese pilots at a South African training school more than ten years ago when he was still a U.S. citizen. As a result, Duggan has been imprisoned in harsh conditions in NSW prisons over the last ten months. Washington claims that the pilots trained by the “Top Gun” former U.S. marine pilot were military pilots. However, the husband and father of six emphatically insists that he only trained Chinese civilian pilots. He has been backed up by the South African training school where he had worked, which reported that none of its training involved classified methods nor any frontline activities. Moreover, even if military pilots were trained it is absolutely certain that this training would have been at a low level – much below the level of training and sophistication then already reached by China’s People’s Liberation Army Airforce. Thus the U.S. accusation does not even claim that Duggan trained the pilots on actual fighter aircraft. Rather they claimed that a T-2 Buckeye trainer, first produced in 1959, was used. This trainer cannot even reach the speeds of modern passenger airlines … let alone supersonic speeds! At the time Duggan was allegedly training pilots on them, the aircraft was so obsolete that it had been out of production for four decades (!) and had been fully retired from use by the U.S. military in favour of faster trainer aircraft.

Furthermore, it was not and is not illegal under Australian law for Australians to train Chinese military pilots. This means that Duggan should not be extradited since an extradition requires the alleged offence to be illegal in both the requesting country and the requested country. This fact and the reality that the charges related to training that Duggan conducted more than ten years ago – training that the U.S. regime was at the time aware of – shows that the prosecution of the 54 year-old pilot has little to do with upholding the law. Unlike Di Sanh Duong, Duggan does not have any known political sympathy for the PRC. He is just a top notch pilot, who like many others highly-skilled in their field enjoy making a living by imparting their knowledge to others. However, in the context of their crazed Cold War drive against socialistic China, Duggan is a convenient object for the U.S. and Australian rulers to create a show trial around in order to hype up the supposed [actually non-existent] “Chinese military threat.”

Sydney, 25 July 2023: The family of Daniel Duggan and other supporters protest outside his latest court appearance. Duggan is a political prisoner in Australia who is facing extradition to the USA. Both the U.S. and Australian regimes want to turn Duggan into an object of hatred in order to justify their Cold War campaign to crush the Peoples Republic of China.
Photo credit: Gaye Gerard/NCA NewsWire

WHAT THE STRUGGLE TO FREE DAN DUGGAN AND
STOP HIS EXTRADITION CAN LEARN FROM
THE MOVEMENT THAT FREED ANOTHER
AUSTRALIAN POLITICAL PRISONER

The facts of Duggan’s case are very much in favour of him staving off extradition to the U.S. and a possibly very long sentence. However, the political streams are flowing strongly in the opposite direction. This was apparent when ASIO boss Mike Burgess delivered his annual “threat assessment” in February. In a clear shot at Duggan and comparison with his case, the secret police chief ranted that former Australian defence personnel “willing to sell their military training and expertise to foreign governments” “… that do not share our values or respect the rule of law” “… are lackeys, more ‘top tools’ than ‘top guns’”. This vicious attack on Daniel Duggan by the ASIO boss showed that the Australian regime is just as committed to persecuting Duggan as their U.S. counterparts. It is not simply a matter of a reluctant Canberra being unwilling to stand up to demands from Washington, as some believe. Moreover, this insult thrown at Duggan and some former Australian defence personnel for conducting activities that are not illegal, show that it is the secret police boss who does not “respect the rule of law”. His statements show that ASIO, far from being a body motivated to uphold the law independent of political bias, is a highly ideological institution that is deeply committed to enforcing the interests of Australia’s capitalist ruling class – a class whose interests mandate joining the combined West’s Cold War against socialistic China and manufacturing the “China threat” hysteria used to justify it. Unfortunately, the courts that will hear Duggan’s extradition case have this very same bias.

Since Duggan is not a political sympathiser of the PRC unlike the equally unfairly persecuted Di Sanh Duong – and his imprisonment is so blatantly unjust, Duggan has received neutral, or even mildly sympathetic, coverage from some of the mainstream media. Even arch neo-McCarthyist witch-hunter, David Shoebridge, has spoken out in support of Duggan (as have many on the Left). However, the degree of mainstream support that exists for Duggan may not help him much. For as long as the message coming from those demanding freedom for Duggan is that his persecution is an affront to an otherwise “democratic Australian system” “based on the rule of law”, the Australian ruling class will feel that agitation in support of Duggan is not doing much harm to their political reputation. They will judge that at least those calling for his freedom are reinforcing the notion that the system here is in most cases “fair’ and “democratic”. But if the push for Duggan’s freedom is not doing the ruling class any political damage, they will be content to simply ignore it!

This is the exact same problem faced by those fighting to free Julian Assange. There is massive support for Assange in Australia and in other countries. However, the campaign to free him has largely been restricted to the single issue of freeing Assange. The implication behind that message is that the political systems in the U.S., Britain and Australia are otherwise fair but for this one terrible atrocity. Aware that this message is not doing them much political harm, Washington, London and Canberra have been comfortable to largely ignore the pleas.

To see the kind of movement that would be needed to have a chance of freeing Duggan we should look back at the campaign to free another Australian political prisoner, Chan Han Choi. Now Chan Han Choi’s case could not be more different to that of Dan Duggan’s. Whereas Duggan is a non-political figure who very unluckily happened to be a convenient target for building up the anti-China scare campaign, Choi is a highly politically driven person. Choi, a South Korean-born Australian, is a sympathiser of socialistic North Korea who was proud of the latter’s efforts to maintain independence from the imperial powers. What drove him most was opposition to the Western-instigated economic sanctions on North Korea and the suffering that it caused – suffering which he had seen with his own eyes and which deeply moved him. To alleviate this suffering, Choi risked his own freedom to attempt to arrange trade deals between North Korea and other countries in violation of the sanctions. Choi was caught in December 2017 and imprisoned in harsh conditions in Sydney jails. He was for long periods blocked from access to lawyers, language interpreters and visitors and denied medical treatment during a crucial eight and a half-month period during which his diabetes condition reached emergency levels. The authorities refused to give him bail for nearly three years based largely on the McCarthyist notion that Choi’s avowed political sympathy for North Korea made his alleged offending more serious.

The Australian regime grossly exaggerated Choi’s charges. They initially, quite ridiculously, claimed that he had sought to facilitate the export of North Korean weapons of mass destruction – charges which they later dropped. This exaggeration of the charges pointed to one notable similarity between Choi’s plight and Duggan’s – both were being demonised as a means to create fear of socialistic states and, thus, to “justify” the Cold War. Indeed, when Choi was first arrested, then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull launched a tirade against North Korea, which is a neighbour and ally of the PRC. The hype and North Korea scare campaign whipped up around Choi’s arrest was a significant part of what enabled the Turnbull government to create the anti-communist and national security-obsessed political climate that allowed it to push through parliament the Foreign Interference laws six months after Choi’s arrest.

The Australian ruling class thought they could continue to milk Choi’s case to justify a further escalation in their anti-PRC/ anti-North Korea Cold War drive. However, instead, quite unexpectedly for them, a lively solidarity campaign was launched in defence of Choi. Trotskyist Platform and the smaller grouplets and individuals who also joined the campaign demanded not only Choi’s freedom but an end to the cruel economic starvation sanctions on the people of North Korea. We said that if Choi is indeed guilty of trying to arrange deals in violations of the sanctions then he is a great humanitarian. Importantly, we did not say that Choi’s imprisonment was a blot on Australia’s otherwise “great democracy.” Instead, we had an almost opposite message: that Choi’s unjust imprisonment showed that the “democracy” in capitalist Australia is only a “democracy” for the capitalist class. We connected the harsh imprisonment of Choi and the McCarthyist denial of bail by the courts to the unjust persecution of war crimes whistleblower David McBride, to the anti-working class prosecutions of construction workers’ union activists by the police and courts and to racist state terror against Aboriginal people. We pointed out that the Australian ruling class had no right to attack the PRC or North Korea over “human rights” issues.

Eventually the campaign reached a level of support that convinced the capitalist class that any remaining boosting of their Cold War campaign by the hype surrounding Choi’s prosecution was more than cancelled out by the political damage and exposure of their “democracy” that they were suffering as a result of the campaign to free Choi. After nearly three years in jail, Choi was finally granted bail and eight months later his legal persecution ended and he was free. The regime which had been expecting to give him a ten to fifteen year jail sentence, ended up only being able to hit him with a three and a half-year sentence that had already mostly been served before trial. To be sure, even after Choi became free there was no guarantee that the regime and its allies would not seek a way to gain revenge on Choi for the lighter sentence that he endured. Nevertheless, the fact that the campaign to free Choi was able to divert what was heading to be a horrifically bad injustice into being just a plain bad injustice shows that the movement had pushed the ruling class back. Indeed, this was the first and so far only significant pushback against the neo-McCarthyist campaign. The important lesson of this struggle for supporters of Duggan is that we will only have a chance of pushing back his persecutors if we are able to damage them politically . That means broadcasting the message that Duggan’s terribly unjust persecution shows what the Australian regime is all about and proves that its pretensions of being “democratic” and “committed to the rule of law” are bogus. That the “democracy” here is only a democracy for the ultra-rich capitalists and that the regime has no basis to attack the PRC over “lack of respect for human rights and the rule of law.” If a powerful, Free Duggan movement with this message can be built, the Australian regime will truly be faced with the need to limit political damage to their authority by making a concession to Duggan and his supporters.

Above, 13 April 2019: A sizable crowd of demonstrators march through the streets of Sydney demanding freedom for socialist, then political prisoner in Australia, Chan Han Choi. Below: In the nine street actions held for Choi that eventually resulted in him being freed from incarceration by the Australian regime, his supporters connected his persecution to the broader repression that the capitalist state was unleashing against union activists, whistleblowers, pro-PRC members of the Chinese community, Aboriginal people and leftists.
Photo credit (all photos): Trotskyist Platform

DOWN WITH THE NEO-MCCARTHYIST WITCH-HUNT!

Although in Australia, governments are elected on the basis of one person one vote, it is the capitalist class who are able to disproportionately shape public opinion and with it election results. For it is the super-rich capitalists that have the ownership of the media and the financial resources to fund political think tanks, make big donations to political parties and pay for political advertising. As the ASIO boss’ tirade against Duggan shows, the state institutions themselves have been built up, trained and ideologically prepared to enforce the exclusive interests of the capitalist class.

Thus, the democracy that nominally exists in Western capitalist countries is largely a democracy only for the capitalists. When this biased democracy is not enough to enforce the capitalists’ agenda, they use blatant repression instead. Today’s neo-McCarthyist witch-hunt and the persecutions of Di Sanh Duong, Dan Duggan, David McBride and Alexander Csergo all prove this. In the long run, if the capitalist class faces a serious threat to their domination of society from the exploited masses, they will turn to the most hideously brutal methods to maintain their rule. That is what happened when the Italian and German “democratic” capitalists turned to Mussolini and Hitler’s fascism for salvation.

Nevertheless, despite the grossly slanted nature of the “democracy” that currently exists in Australia, this form of capitalist rule is preferable to more repressive forms of capitalist rule. It gives the working class and all the oppressed more space to organise struggles for their rights. Therefore, the workers movement must oppose any repressive measures that curtail its democratic rights. That is why we must mobilise in determined opposition to the Cold War repression that is plaguing Australia. We should understand too that the national security obsession that the neo-McCarthyist repression is creating is being used to repress dissidents making a stand over non-Cold War issues too – from David McBride to activists in support of public housing to environmental activists and to trade unionists taking industrial action. Moreover, if we do not push back against the Cold War witch-hunt it will eventually reach such a level that even people who advocate policies that are being implemented in China with a focus on public housing or publicly owned banks will be accused of “foreign interference.” And the working class masses do need to be able to fight for the policies that the PRC has used to combat poverty. For it is precisely those policies – like a massive increase in public housing, restrictions on housing speculation and public ownership of the banks, electricity, power and energy sectors – that we desperately need implemented here right now. So let us mobilise in action to demand: Down with the “Foreign Interference” laws! Drop the charges against Di Sanh Duong! Free Dan Duggan! Resist the push to arrest pro-PRC social media users! Stop the persecution of Chinese social organisations that choose to have a friendly or neutral attitude towards the PRC! Stop the marginalisation of the Chinese community!




Source: Trotskyistplatform.com