After the establishment of the Embracing Australian Values Alliance (EAVA), the question arises as to what are Australian Values and how they are defined. The core values we defend are universal values, including democracy, freedom, rule of law, equality and dignity, all of which play a foundational role for modern civilisation.
Since the Cold War period in the 50s, the Chinese Communist Party has exported its “revolution” and autocratic ideology to countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia. By the end of the 80s, we saw the collapse of the communist bloc as a world system.
However, there are still a number of remaining communist states today, including China, North Korea, Vietnam, Laos and Cuba. The Chinese Communist Party is the leader of all communist autocratic regimes. They stop at nothing to expand their frontiers and create an environment in which communist autocratic regimes can survive. In Australia, apart from buying off politicians, the Chinese Communist Party has exerted enormous influence on Chinese communities. They have taken control of Chinese community organisations, Chinese newspapers, as well as a number of politicians, scholars and people in the arts sector, so that they can form an extensive united front to defend the ideology exported overseas by the Chinese communist regime. The aim is to gradually change Australia’s culture and politics, and to create an environment for the Chinese Communist Party’s expansion of influence.
In theory, Australia is a multi-cultural society, but we must not fall into the trap of cultural relativism or moral relativism. If we uphold human rights, should we be tolerating those who violate human rights? If we believe that democracy and freedom are righteous universal values, should we be tolerating autocracy, class differentiation and special privileges (enjoyed by Chinese Communist Party high-ranking officials)?
I see Chinese people, arriving in Australia after overcoming numerous difficulties, still living in the shadow of autocratic ideology. Whilst enjoying freedom here, they are also benefiting from the economic growth in China, filling their pockets with money. Many feel proud to share in the glory of the Party. Can they even discern the difference between China and the Chinese Communist Party? Meanwhile, those who are calling for freedom for the Chinese people have been ostracised by the Chinese community here.
There is a huge difference in attitudes from when I first came to Australia – there were large numbers of diaspora in the Chinese community who participated in pro-democracy activities. These people were treasured by universities, appointing them as heads of departments or involving them in various social activities. However, with the creeping influence of the Chinese Communist Party, these diaspora have gradually been marginalised in the last 10 years and considered as negative assets, as institutions worry that their dealings with China will be adversely impacted.
In the Chinese community, the initial establishment of community and townsman associations were to help fellow or senior Chinese people through various difficulties. Responsible to the members, they worked together and helped each other. However, gradually, these organisations have become running dogs of the Chinese Consulate and their associations have also become an extension of the Chinese communist regime. The target of their services is no longer their fellow Chinese or senior people, but the Chinese Consulate.
These associations fall over each other trying to present themselves to the Chinese Consulates for favours, including the three associations mentioned by former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin: Australia Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, NSW Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China and Sydney Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China. If one becomes the president, deputy president or member of a council, he would be acknowledged by the Chinese Consulate. Despite some overseas Chinese community leaders holding the same views as the Chinese Communist Party, many more behave this way for self-interest.
In our China political studies and research, we found the Chinese Communist Party regime to be a very peculiar monster. If we follow the communist regimes during the Cold War period which I mentioned earlier, their first slogan would be to eliminate capitalism. But now, the entire Chinese Communist Party regime is parasitic on capitalism and cannot keep away from it. China has combined communist ideology with the worst capitalism in the 19th century and, as a result, the Chinese Communist Party is destroying the environment without restraint and trying to make money at any cost; they do not have to care about extremely poor working conditions and are able to keep the wages very low while disallowing any dialogue with workers’ unions. Of course, these unions are also controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. They have used this method to create so-called efficiency and high profits.
The entire Western world has been dragged into the Chinese Communist Party’s game. In the 80s, only a number of surrounding regions or countries, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, moved their manufacturing industry to China, because labour was cheap and they were offered benefits, such as free land and tax benefits. Later, the USA, Europe and Australia also moved their manufacturing industries to China.
When I first came to Australia, there were still many local garment factories, plastic manufacturers, etc., but later, they all disappeared, with most of them moving to China or Vietnam.
When Western manufacturing industries moved to China, vested interest groups united with the Chinese Communist Party regime to create a “myth”: Neither Australia nor Japan, nor the Western world can do without China.
In fact, the 50s through to the 70s was a golden period for the Western world, with steady developments in all areas, including medicine and education. The Chinese Communist Party regime had never participated in the world market at that time. How could it be then, that no one could do well without China?
Why do we need to pay attention to Australian values (universal values) in this day and age? Because the existence of our humanity has a foundation based on values, without which we would not be humans.
Some local Australians and the younger generations have grown up in a privileged society where freedom and democracy are readily available to them from birth; therefore, they do not value these as much, with some even being critical of having a democratic government. Together with our politicians, if we do not face up to the Chinese Communist Party regime and recognise their denial of human rights and suppression of the people, we will gradually forget these precious values. We would be walking a very dangerous path if consideration were only given to financial benefits, and that is why it is very important for us to establish Embracing Australian Values Alliance.
This is a translated extract from Professor Chongyi Feng’s speech at the Resisting Chinese Communist Party Influence Forum held in Sydney on 15 July 2017, organised by the Embracing Australian Values Alliance.
Chongyi Feng is an associate professor in China Studies at the University of Technology Sydney.