Intimidation Won’t Silence New Zealand Academic About Beijing Interference

University of Canterbury professor Anne-Marie Brady has linked recent break-ins at her home and office with efforts to silence her over her research work into Beijing’s corrupt efforts to peddle influence abroad. (Photo by Charlotte Richardson)
University of Canterbury professor Anne-Marie Brady has linked recent break-ins at her home and office with efforts to silence her over her research work into Beijing’s corrupt efforts to peddle influence abroad. (Photo by Charlotte Richardson)

A New Zealand academic has been subjected to break-ins and a menacing letter after her research brought to light how the Chinese Communist Party is threatening her country’s sovereignty.

University of Canterbury professor Anne-Marie Brady told the Australian Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee in Canberra that both her office and home have recently been broken into, reported the NZ Herald.

“I had a break-in in my office last December. I received a warning letter, this week, that I was about to be attacked. And yesterday, I had a break-in at my house,” Brady said, adding that the home break-in was particularly suspicious.

“I had three laptops — including one used for work — stolen. And phones. [Other] valuables weren’t taken. Police are now investigating that,” she said.

Brady pointed out that people associated with her living in China have been hauled in by state security for questioning.

The suspicion is that these incidences are attempts to stifle Brady’s research efforts.

In September, she published a paper “Magic Weapons: China’s Political Influence Activities Under Xi Jinping,” which focused on Chinese influence in New Zealand, and in November she released policy advice dedicated to how her government should deal with what she described as “a concerted foreign interference campaign by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).”

In her advice, she warned: “China’s covert, corrupting, and coercive political influence activities in New Zealand are now at a critical level.”

Brady told Stuff media that the recent attempts of intimidation have not been a surprise.

“I research this stuff; these are the tactics I study. I’m prepared for this, I am. And I’ve been taking the proper precautions. So I’m not surprised and I’m not intimidated,” she said.

The Chinese also reportedly pressured Canterbury University and the New Zealand government in 2015 over Brady’s research into China’s Antarctic and Artic interests.

Brady told Newshub that her country was dealing with the issue “very cautiously.”

“I think it’s about time we made a statement, acknowledging that this is happening globally and that New Zealand will be doing whatever it can to defend our sovereignty,” Brady said.

“And that’s not addressed to any one country — every country wants to protect the integrity of its political system and protect its sovereignty.”

What is going on in New Zealand has mirrored concerns in nearby Australia. Last month, sources told 9 NEWS that China topped Australia’s domestic spy agency’s list on a secret country-by-country counter-intelligence index as the most extreme threat to the country’s national security. See this episode from China Uncensored for more information related to that:

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