Below is my personal experience that illustrates the pervasiveness of the Chinese Communist Party’s overseas infiltration, including the monitoring and control of Chinese citizens overseas.
Not long after I arrived in Australia, I began working at a Chinese restaurant. Around that time, Vision China Times published “Female Shanghai Prisoner”, a series of short articles based on my personal story. The Epoch Times newspaper also published an article I had written criticising the current social and human rights situation in China. Once, a fellow Shanghainese asked me curiously: “Why don’t you use a pseudonym for your articles?” Amused by his question, I burst into laughter and told him: “I even dared to use my real name in Shanghai; why should I use a pseudonym in Australia?”
My boss came to me one day and said; “A stranger came to the restaurant today and stealthily asked me whether Baoqiang Sun was working here. He was not a customer. You should be more careful.”
The following week, my boss and her husband had a sudden change of attitude towards me. They said to me: “Please, we are simply running a business. We do not want to inflict any trouble upon ourselves.” I understood that the Chinese Consulate must have somehow been involved. I had no choice but to resign.
I was previously a member of a senior tour group that used to gather in Sydney on Fridays. Having learnt my lesson from previous experiences, I did not casually disclose my name to others. One time, during a conversation, the tour guide mentioned that she liked my articles. Another member of our tour group then responded: “Baoqiang Sun is sitting right beside you.” Our tour guide looked at me, shocked. A few days later, the tour guide called me and murmured: “Someone in our group demanded that you be expelled.” I repudiated, saying that our tour group should stay out of politics. I asked who was behind this decision. The tour guide told me: “She is very well connected, she hasn’t worked a day since coming to Australia and she is supported by some sort of fund under the Chinese Consulate. She has closely monitored everything you have said to our tour group and she is pressuring me to expel you. I am under a huge amount of pressure because of you.”
I told her that I thought it was unfair that the woman knew so much about me, yet I did not even know her name. The guide responded: “I won’t tell you her name, no matter what. I should not have even called you. If my husband finds out, we’ll have a big fight.” She hastily hung up.
My husband and I used to sing with the St George Choir. The director of the choir was also from Shanghai. He was the victim of persecution by the Chinese Communist Party, so he had to run away and came to Australia. After the Chinese Consulate took control of the choir, he became so obedient that even the songs written by him would be handed over to the Consulate for censorship. Every time we had activities, he would make comments such as we had “such a good place for rehearsal and it was all owing to Ms X, please choose her as the candidate MP in the election”, and he would make this heard by everyone. As a result, Ms X became the only option by the Chinese voters and the whole choir unanimously voted for her.
In Sydney, there are now countless choirs and dancing troupes. Their underlying objective is to propagate the Chinese Communist Party’s ideology among Australian society. A friend of mine is a famous musician and regularly performs in Hong Kong and overseas. He would regularly contribute to causes that helped prisoners of conscience in China. As a result, he became a victim of constant threats by the Chinese Communist Party and was told that if he continued his support, he would not only be prevented from going overseas, but also from performing with local choirs and dancing troupes. The Chinese Communist Party successfully silenced him.
A hospital located in a predominantly Chinese district lent our choir a meeting-room, ostensibly to enrich the life of its senior citizens. However, its real motive seemed to involve ideological control over its residents. To illustrate, no Falun Gong newspapers were allowed into the meeting room. Each performance had to be approved by the Chinese Consulate and undergo strict censorship. The seniors in the photography club were all high-ranking officials in China. They received sizeable pensions from the Chinese government, while not disclosing this in order to receive welfare payments from the Australian government too.
The Sydney Chinese Zhi-Qing Association’s (SCZQA) president became subservient to the Chinese Communist Party in order to further his business interests in China, allowing the SCZQA to come under full control of the Chinese Communist Party. Their performances include nationalistic songs about violence and class struggle written during the Cultural Revolution, as well as communist-themed group dances reminiscent of China’s Red Guards.
In order to protest and boycott the Chinese Communist Party-endorsed ballet Red Detachment of Women, we drove over 800km to Melbourne. During this protest, a man walked over to us, sneering: “You only have a few dozen people to protest the ballet, yet we assembled 3,000 Chinese people with one call-out to protest the South China Sea Arbitration.” He swaggered off.
Needless to say, compared to the veiled propaganda previously employed by the Chinese Communist Party, the more recent tactics in infiltrating Western societies have proven more brazen and shameless. We must be vigilant. The Chinese Communist Party has utilised its enormous resources to infiltrate and occupy Australia, from political donations to Confucius Institutes, controlling Chinese students and Chinese communities, with the goal of undermining the universal values central to Australian democracy.
Baoqiang Sun is a writer who was sentenced to a 3-year jail term in China due to her open criticism of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. She escaped to Australia in 2011 as a refugee.