The Chinese regime is building a spy network inside leading Australian universities to keep tabs on Chinese students and the local Chinese community, according to Australian media, leading the Australian government to strengthen its counter-intelligence capabilities.
If this is happening systematically in Australia, it is quite likely to also be happening in other Western nations.
Australia’s The Age newspaper reported that a large number of top universities, including the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne, are being monitored by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) spy network. Over 90,000 Chinese students are enrolled at these universities, where they have access to ideas and activities that are not available in Mainland China.
A senior professor at a top university told The Age he was interrogated four times while in China, simply for having given a talk on democracy issues at a University of New South Wales seminar.
Former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin, who defected to Australia in 2005, pointed out that students play an important part in assisting the network. Chinese diplomats establish Chinese student associations at each university, appoint presidents, and provide large sums of financial aid annually. Thus students can be used to welcome visiting Chinese leaders, block protest groups, and gather intelligence. The Communist Party has also directed student spies to infiltrate dissident groups, especially those related to Tibet and Falun Gong.
Jocelyn Chey, visiting professor at the University of Sydney Institute of International Affairs, and previously a diplomat in China, added, “It’s quite clear that a large part of the business of Chinese diplomatic missions here is just keeping tabs on their citizens.
With reporting by Qiu Chun.