Monthly Archives: May 2021

Christian Social Media

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has added further restrictions on Christian content on the social media platform “WeChat”, the Barnabas Fund reported.

“WeChat” has blocked Christian search words such as “Christ,” “Bible,” and “Gospel,” the Barnabas Fund noted, and searches for these terms offer no results on the platform.

The Christian persecution watchdog also reported that “WeChat” removed a number of Christian accounts in late April and efforts to access these pages generate a notification that the accounts have been removed from service, stemming from complaints that the account violates the “Internet User Public Account Information Services Management Provisions.”

Christian sites such as “Gospel Times,” “Gospel TV,” “Gospel League,” “WeDevote Bible,” and “Old Gospel” were permanently shut down on “WeChat”, probably because their names contain sensitive Christian keywords.

Other users have complained that they have been blocked from uploading Christian videos to “WeChat”, while some Christian playlists have been removed from other music streaming services, all of which are monitored by the CCP.

In 2018, the CCP banned sale of the Bible on Amazon and other online stores in China, and searches for “the Bible” in Chinese yielded no results on JD.com, while on Taobao, Amazon.cn, and Dang Dang they led to other Christian publications, such as storybooks and Bible study aids, the South China Morning Post reported at the time.

“In China, all religious activities come under the close scrutiny of the officially atheist Communist Party,” the newspaper noted. “Beijing has often repeated its position that it will not allow ‘foreign forces’ to dominate the country’s religious activities.”

“A Christian bookstore on WeChat, China’s most popular messaging platform, based in southern Guangdong province said it was inundated with ‘notice of punishment’ warnings from the social media app, and that most of its content – including the Bible, and Christian books and gifts – had been deleted overnight,” the report added.

The CCP’s new “Measures for the Administration of Religious Personnel”, which were announced in February 2021, came into effect on May 1.

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

May 2021 Update

It all began with a physically blind women. Sharing Braille material via email communication she was searching for the truth. As she studied the second lesson she came to realize that she was also spiritually blind. When asked if she ever received the Lord Jesus as her Savior, she answered yes on February 15, 2021. Her spiritual blindness was lifted. In a phone conversation with her sighted sister she shared her testimony how Jesus had forgiven her of her sins. Together they went to church and she too accepted Jesus as her savior. Two sisters, one blind and one sighted were for over 60 years spiritually blind, but now both can spiritually see.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”

Our life’s goal is to teach the salvation of Jesus Christ to as many unreached people as possible. The greatest need is for Bibles and discipleship materials, to equip tens of millions of hungry house church believers. There is a famine of Bibles in China as the government restricts more and more activities. Even the official Three-Self churches are in great need, as they have seen their Bible quotas slashed by the authorities in recent years.

Hundreds of unreached groups still lack vibrant witnesses. The Gospel has spread rapidly among the Han Chinese majority, but strong ethnic, cultural, and language barriers have meant the churches have struggles to penetrate the non-Han minority groups. We appreciate your prayers and partnership, as together we “look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.” (2 Peter 3:12).

Here is a current snapshot of the state of the Gospel throughout China. While there is much to thank God for in China, the figures are a sobering reminder of how much work remains to be done.

The statistics used are the latest from the “Joshua Project”, who define a people group as “unreached” if less than 2 percent of its population are evangelical Christians.

Leave a comment

Filed under ministry updates

Crimes Against Catholics

A painting by Osamu Giovanni Micico remembering the martyrs in the Xiwanzi massacre.

Recently, there has been increasing opposition against the 2022 Winter Olympics hosted by China in Chongli, due to the CCP’s atrocious crimes committed against humanity. However, little is known about the genocide China committed against Catholicism in the Chahar Region, where the main skiing competitions will be held.

The Chahar Region includes the Xuanhua Diocese and Chongli-Xiwanzi Diocese. During Qing Dynasty times, for centuries, they were under the administration of Commander-in-chief of Chahar (Chahar Dutong). In 1914, during the Republic of China time, the area became the “Chahar Special Administrative Region,” and in 1928, the “Chahar Province.” They were part of the Japan-supported Mengjiang (Mongolia United Autonomous Government) from 1939 to 1945. 

Catholic missionaries arrived in Xuanhua and Xiwanzi in 1688 and 1700. In 1723, the Manchu-Qing Emperor banned all Christian missions within China proper.  Missionaries moved out of the Outer Great Wall of Kalgan (Zhangjiakou), and settled in Xiwanzi village. The ban was lifted in 1858, because of the Treaty of Tientsin.

Read more at “2022 Olympics: Crimes Against Catholics in One of Its Main Venues”

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

China to show the love

If China wants to win against the US, it needs to do a better job of winning global hearts and minds. Perhaps growing tensions around China should push Beijing to consider rethinking its philosophy of foreign affairs. For decades, China was driven by the principle of qiutong cunyi 求同存异,or “seek common ground, and put aside what is different.”

This is an important principle that paid huge dividends to Beijing for many years, yet it worked based on the premise that with time there was more in common than not in common between China and the world.

That is, it was grounded on China’s former “ideology czar” Zheng Bijian’s ideas of peaceful development helping “fazhan”  和平发展 and building common interests “gongtong liyi” 共同利益. But these ideas no longer apply; for the purpose of this essay it doesn’t matter why.

What is important is that with the passage of time, there are more clashes, more differences and less in common between China and the rest of the world. Then, by carrying on using this qiutong cunyi, differences exceed common points and things may get worse and worse by the day with the situation eventually getting out of hand.

New foreign affairs directions? China perhaps should conversely consider the three following ideas. First of all, it should study the world as it is, not as it should be or as China wishes it to be.

China should gain a realistic “worldview” shijieguan 世界观, and give up its traditional “view of all under heaven” tianxiaguan 天下观, that is to consider the present world as if it were an extension of traditional China’s concepts.

That present “worldview” took at least 500 years to build, and it won’t be replaced in a few decades. Russia, antagonistic to “US hegemony,” understands the world as it is and also has a “worldview.”

To challenge this global view is not simply to challenge the view of a single country, but it is to challenge and refute the view of most countries. Of course, here there are lots of details, but they should be analytically and objectively tackled based on the reality of the world. As Mao would say, look at the reality “shishi qiushi” 实事求是.

The second element should be to decrease the temperature and avoid worsening the situation. Conversely, China should try to find reasonable ground for neutral talk.

And the third element, which is in a way more difficult for the Chinese tradition, is trying to confront the difference constructively and positively with other countries. It requires not trying to skirt differences and avoid them, but putting a different spin on the differences and listening to other countries’ points of view.

All of this, after all, is a little bit like Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine tells us to look first at the patient, their overall situation and condition. Then we know that if they have a fever or a rash, we need to decrease the fever or heal the rash. Lastly, we cure the disease or the wound properly without creating further damage to the body.

But the first and foremost important element is to understand what the world is really about.

For instance, as a European, Chinese people often talk to Europeans as if Europe were one clearly defined political entity. In fact, with a bold brush, one could say that the EU is more but also less than the sum of the single countries that are members of the union, and the directive between the countries and the union is extremely complex.

Europe doesn’t have a unitary voice on many things and yet it manages to push forward in some ways its own policies.

A Chinese, dressed as a Red Guard and holding a “Little Red Book” with quotations of Chairman Ma), performs in front of a portrait of the late Chairman Mao Zedong at a restaurant named “Red Classic” in Beijing. Photo: Agencies

The second element about Europe is that the European Union is the brainchild of the United States, which tried to bring together countries that were enemies during World War I and World War II.This was done to cure the disease of eternal conflicts in Europe, and also to build unity of countries against the new threat of the Soviet Union after 1945.

The second element that pushed the European Union to its present state came after another war, the first Cold War.

At the end of the first Cold War, in the early 1990s, the EU was on the rise again. The European Union expanded its member countries to the east, right at the borders of Russia, including some countries that were formerly part of the USSR.

The European Union tried to challenge the bond with the United States by starting the Euro, a new currency that de facto limited the strength of the dollar—but even that is not entirely true as the Euro was conceived by famous economist Robert Mundell, who was also the main economist for US president Ronald Reagan.

In fact, one can say that to a large extent the euro-dollar bilateral condominium has created a new balance of currency that has bolstered transatlantic clout on global financial markets.

This is all to say that some ideas circulating in China about bringing Europe and European countries into a play against the US are extremely far-fetched and naive.

If this is true in the assessment of the relationship between the United States and Europe, it might also be true for more complicated and delicate assessments about China and its status in the world.

The power of love. There are signs that China is recognizing some mistakes in its evaluation of the present situation. A recent article by Andrew Lo is quite acute here. Power needs to be loved and feared, argued Lo while quoting Machiavelli.

But actually, contrary to Machiavelli’s analysis, modern research has pointed out that in an army what pushes soldiers to face death is not fear of punishment. In fact, what can be worse than death? Any punishment is preferable to the risk of death a soldier faces on the battlefield.

What really drives the soldier is love for their comrades, the need to protect their fellow soldiers whose lives depend on their own life. “The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him,” said G.K. Chesterton.

That is, the worst fear in a relationship is the withdrawal of love. This is the terror. Then it is even more so for political power, which cannot simply inspire fear. The US, for instance, is far more fearsome than China but also can inspire great love.

China still lags the US in the battle for hearts and minds. Image: UNSW/The Conversation

The path to greatness for China should be to inspire love. In fact, the US has been loved more than feared for many decades. Its success in the Cold War was not motivated by the Soviet fear of invasion.

The USSR was fully capable of defending itself, and it was far more fearsome than America. Yet the United States was far better than the USSR at inspiring love of its friends and enemies alike.

It did that with a whole arsenal of instruments in which first of all there were its values: liberty, freedom and the possibility for a new individual to become American and be successful. These were values that inspired the whole world and many Russians.

America didn’t promise security and basic welfare for all, but promised freedom to be yourself, to express yourself, to participate in some political change through a democratic system and a chance to improve one’s career, strike it rich, or change your life and have a second life.

These values haven’t stopped existing. They still are extremely strong and extremely appealing to many, even to people who dislike American foreign policy but wish to live in America and change their lives there.

Conversely, China doesn’t offer any country the same appeal. Certainly, it promises money and its win-win strategy, but money by itself has never bought much.

In a marriage, the wife or the husband expects or hopes that their life will improve out of the marriage, and certainly there are economic factors there, but money by itself will never be enough if there is no love.

Fear of lack of love. And in a marriage, if the relationship is based on fear of one of the members, then the marriage is by itself broken. There cannot be fear but fear of withdrawing love. In this situation, if China wants to get out of the present predicament with the US, it has to think long and hard about how to win the love of the people of the world.

China needs to overhaul its approach to foreign relations. Image: Facebook

And part of this is to provide the same liberty, the same chances America does. China might be better than America in all fields, but if it doesn’t inspire love, then it has already failed. 

The USSR was better off. It provided the dream of equality, which although in the long run didn’t work as that of liberty had its own appeal. What about China? In fact, the crux of the matter is that China needs badly to reform and after many decades it may be starting to reevaluate the Soviet experience with Gorbachev.

For almost 30 years, the official line was that the USSR had been wrong to start perestroika and glasnost. Yet Zhao Huasheng of the University of Fudan argued: “But it was not the model of the Soviet system, nor the reform, that destroyed the Soviet Union. It was the mistakes in the reforms that destroyed it”.

We don’t know what Zhao meant by mistakes in the reforms, but certainly China has to invent ideas to solve its very hard problems. This is extremely difficult but not impossible, as air can be made solid.

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

White Paper On Tibet

May 23, 2021 marked the 70th anniversary of the “Seventeen Point Agreement”, signed under duress on March 23, 1951 by the delegates of the Dalai Lama after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950.

For the May 23 anniversary, China published yet another White Paper on Tibet.

It uses the “Seventeen Point Agreement” to claim that the Tibetan delegates acknowledged in 1951 that Tibet had always been part of China. Even if they signed under Chinese pressures, this is a tendentious interpretation of the text. And the Seventeen Point Agreement also stated that, “The central authorities will not alter the existing political system in Tibet. The central authorities also will not alter the established status, functions, and powers of the Dalai Lama. Officials of various ranks shall hold office as usual.”

Obviously, China did not respect that part of the Agreement.

Read more at  China’s New White Paper on Tibet

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

Whitewashing China

Something extraordinary is happening in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.

When it began, all the world knew that it had originated in Wuhan, and that Chinese delays in telling the truth had been largely responsible for its horrible death toll. How it had started was unclear, but the possibility of an unintentional mistake in one of Wuhan’s laboratories studying viruses transmitted from bats to humans was seriously considered.

After more than one year, while all our countries have suffered thousands of deaths and damages to the economy it will take decades to overcome, we have almost forgotten that the virus came from Wuhan. China has been successful in selling to the world preposterous alternative theories placing the origins of the virus in the United States, Norway, or Italy.

As for the laboratory hypothesis, although regarded as a serious possibility by authoritative research centers such as the French National Center for Scientific Research, if you try to mention it you will be excluded from polite company as “conspirationist,” and your posts may even be cancelled by Facebook or Twitter.

Of course, this happened because there is a pro-China lobby that represents prominent business interests. The same businesses that have their main markets in China own newspapers, magazines, and TV networks. However, a report published this month by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), tells us that there is more.

Read  more at Whitewashing China: The Rise of “Belt and Road Journalism”

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

China Avoiding War For Now

A Chinese warship is seen docked at Garden Island naval base in Sydney on June 3, 2019. Photo: AFP / Peter Parks

Talk of war has become louder in recent days, but the “drumbeat” has been heard for some time now as China’s military capabilities have grown. China does not want war, at least not yet. It’s playing the long game and its evident intentions have become more unnerving.Scholars such as Brendan Taylor, associate professor of strategic studies at the Australian National University, have identified four flashpoints for a possible conflict with China, including Korea, the East China Sea, the South China Sea and Taiwan, but conventional war is not likely at this stage.

The armistice between North and South Korea has held for nearly 70 years. The Covid-19 pandemic has severely constrained North Korea’s economy and its testing of intercontinental ballistic missiles has ceased, for now. China has a stake in keeping Kim Jong Un’s regime in power in the North, but the prospects of reverting to a hot war have flowed and ebbed.

Just south of Korea, in the East China Sea, China has intensified its military activities around the Japanese-claimed but uninhabited Senkaku Islands. China appears to be wearing down Japan’s resolve to resist its claims over what Beijing calls the Diaoyu Islands.

A Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force surveillance plane flies over the disputed Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea. Kyodo News/AP

The United States has assured Japan the islands fall under their mutual defense security guarantee. But a confrontation with China could test US backing and possibly set the stage for escalated confrontation elsewhere.

Similarly, China’s industrial-scale island-building in the South China Sea has resulted in extensive military hardware and infrastructure. This will enable the Chinese to consolidate their position militarily and assert control over the so-called nine-dash line, its vast claim over most of the sea.

The US Navy continues to conduct freedom of navigation operations (FONOPS) in the sea to challenge China’s claims. With thousands of marked and unmarked Chinese vessels operating there, however, the risk of an accident triggering an escalation is real.

A Philippine coast guard boat patrols past Chinese vessels in the South China Sea last month. Philippine Coast Guard/Handout/EPA

In 2016, an international tribunal rejected China’s claims to the waters in a case brought by the Philippines. Despite being a signatory to the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), China has ignored the tribunal’s ruling and continued to intrude on islands claimed by both the Philippines and Indonesia.

Chinese vessels anchored at the Whitsun Reef, around 320 kilometers (175 nautical miles) west of Bataraza in Palawan in the South China Sea on March 23, 2021. Photo: Handout / Satellite image ©2021 Maxar Technologies / AFP

Recently, 220 Chinese vessels were anchored for months at a reef inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. China’s actions appear premised on the dictum that possession is nine-tenths of the law.Like China’s seizure of the Scarborough Shoal in 2012 that preceded its massive island construction further south, China could conceivably take the unwillingness of the US to challenge its latest moves as a cue for more assertive action over Taiwan. This is, after all, the main prize Beijing seeks to secure President Xi Jinping’s legacy.

Taiwan presents the US and its allies with a conundrum. It is a liberal open democracy and the world’s leading computer-chip maker. It also sits in the middle of what military strategists refer to as the first island chain stretching from Japan in the north to the Philippines in the south. Its strategic significance is profound.

Having adopted a “one China” policy since 1979, the US security guarantee for Taiwan is conditional and tenuous. Reflecting growing unease over China’s actions, polls show strong US public support for defending Taiwan.

So far, ambiguity has served US interests well, providing some assurance to Taiwan while discouraging the People’s Republic of China from invading.

This guarantee has been important for Japan, as well. With its pacifist constitution, and occasional concern over US commitment to its defense, Japan would be closely watching how the US approaches its Taiwan policy.

Meanwhile, China has metamorphosed both economically and militarily. An exponential growth in China’s military capabilities has been matched by a steep rise in the lethality, accuracy, range and quantity of its weapons systems. On top of this, Beijing has ratcheted up its warlike rhetoric and tactics.

Last month, Xi made a muscular speech to the Boao Forum Asia, calling for an acceptance of China not only as an emerging superpower but also as an equal in addressing global challenges.

Chinese President Xi Jinping reviews a military display of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the South China Sea on April 12, 2018. Photo: Xinhua

Sometimes actions speak louder than words. And China’s actions so far have avoided crossing the threshold into open warfare, refusing to present a “nail” to a US “hammer.” This is for good reason. If war did break out, China would be vulnerable. For starters, it shares land borders with 14 countries, bringing the potential for heightened challenges, if not open attack on numerous fronts.

Then there are the economic concerns. China has significant Japanese, US and European industrial investments, and is also overwhelmingly dependent on energy and goods passing through the Malacca Strait between Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, the Indo-Pacific region’s jugular vein.

This reliance on the Malacca Strait – referred to by one analyst as the Malacca dilemma – helps explain why China has invested so much capital in its Belt and Road Initiative and studiously avoided open conflict, at least until it is more self-reliant. To avoid outright war, China evidently reckons it is better to operate a paramilitary force with white-painted ships and armed fishing vessels in the thousands to push its claims in the South China Sea and East China Sea and constrict Taiwan’s freedom of action.

China has significantly upgraded its navy since Xi took power eight years ago. Li Gang/Xinhua/AP

It also recently passed a new law allowing its coast guard to act more like a military body and enforce maritime law – again in violation of the UNCLOS.

China is also expanding its “gray zone” warfare against Taiwan, which includes cyber attacks, repeated incursions of its airspace and territorial waters, and diplomatic isolation to undermine Taiwan’s resolve and ability to resist.

This persistent and escalating challenge by Chinese forces has demonstrated Taiwan’s inability to control its waters and airspace fully. Beijing is continuing to build a fleet of amphibious capabilities to enable an invasion of Taiwan. US pundits are also no longer confident the Americans would win in an outright war over Taiwan, with Washington’s top military officer in the region arguing one could happen within six years.

Taiwan lacks allies other than the United States, but Japan is mindful of the consequences of a US failure to defend Taiwan. Its ocean surveillance and coastal defense capabilities would be exposed if China took Taiwan. But Japan’s constitution precludes direct involvement in defending Taiwan.

Taiwanese soldiers applaud as Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen (not in picture) arrives at a military base in Hsinchu, northern Taiwan on September 10, 2019. Photo: AFP/Sam Yeh

Under its ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, United States Security Treaty) obligations, the US could call on Australia for military support to defend Taiwan. The mutual assistance provisions are not automatically invoked, but the implications of Canberra standing on the sidelines would be profound.

Warnings about rhetorical drumbeats of war remind us the US is no longer the world’s only superpower and suggest Australia should prepare for a more volatile world.

Rather than rely solely on the US, Australia should bolster its own defense capabilities. At the same time, it should collaborate more with regional partners across Southeast Asia and beyond, particularly Indonesia, Japan, India and South Korea, to deter further belligerence and mitigate the risk of tensions escalating into open war.

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

China’s Mars Rover

China’s Zhurong rover landed safely on Mars on May 15, making China only the third country to successfully land a rover on the red planet. More impressively still, China is the first Mars-going nation to carry out an orbiting, landing and rovering operation as its first mission.

Planetary scientist Roberto Orosei told Nature China is “doing in a single go what NASA took decades to do,” while astrophysicist Jonathon  McDowell described China’s decision to include a rover in its maiden Mars outing as a “very gutsy move.”

Where did it land?  Zhurong, named after the god of fire in Chinese mythology, separated from the Tianwen-1 orbiter and touched down close to the site of previous NASA missions, on a vast plain called Utopia Planitia.

This area of Mars was formed billions of years ago when a Martian meteorite smashed into the planet’s surface. The surrounding area is largely featureless, covered mostly in volcanic material.

Read more at “On its first try, China’s Zhurong rover hit a Mars milestone that took NASA decades”

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

China Will Wait To Take Taiwan

China will not attack Taiwan in the immediate future, but it could in the coming decade when Beijing is more ready for a war, according to an ex-prime minister of Australia.

“There is a lot of wild talk about an impending military crisis over Taiwan … but at this stage, I do not see the evidence of an immediate crisis in the Taiwan Strait,” former premier Kevin Rudd said in an online panel discussion at the Alpha Summit organized by the CFA Institute.

“I don’t think the Chinese are ready for such conflict at this stage, purely from a military calculus,” Rudd said. “It’s more probable that we’re going to face real difficulties in the Taiwan question towards the end of this decade when China calculates that the balance of power is going to be more decisively in its court.”

He said there was a risk of military conflict between China and Taiwan in the medium term, but not immediately.

While Rudd spoke, the US Navy’s 7th Fleet on deployed its Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur in what it said was a “routine Taiwan Strait transit.”

“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the US commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the 7th Fleet said in a statement.

A spokesman for China’s Eastern Theater Command condemned the US vessel’s passage. “The US actions send the wrong signals to Taiwan independence forces, deliberately disrupting the regional situation and endangering peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait,” he said.

Read  more at China will wait to take Taiwan, says ex-PM Rudd

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights

Growing Too Cozy with China

For the last three decades, the world has been drawing closer to China. Of all major Western nations, Australia has gotten closer than any other. And now it is realizing the fearsome consequences of that embrace. It may be too late for Australians to pull out of the relationship. But their fate is a powerful warning to the rest of the world.

Money, Money, Money. It started with a business relationship. After growing at an astonishing annual rate of around 10 percent for some 30 years, China is now, by some measures, the world’s largest economy. It takes a massive amount of raw materials to fuel such growth, making Australia a perfect trade partner.

In 2017, one third of Australia’s exports went to China, and nearly a quarter of its imports came from China.

Soon the economic relationship went beyond trade. China started buying up huge tracts of Australia. Chinese companies own more than 1 percent of Australia’s land area, including coal mines, energy companies, cattle farms, tourist resorts and even tens of thousands of private homes. By the end of 2019, China was officially Australia’s ninth-largest foreign investor. However, much Chinese investment is also funneled through Hong Kong, Australia’s fifth-largest investor.

The flourishing economic relationship affected other areas of Australian life. In 2015, a Chinese company closely tied to China’s Communist government signed a 99-year lease of Australia’s northernmost port in Darwin. The port is vital to the Australian military and also hosts a United States military base. Chinese companies also signed contracts for a 99-year lease on the port of Newcastle, a share in the port of Melbourne, and a 100-year lease on Western Australia’s Merriden airport. All this trade necessitated a close political relationship. In 2014 the Australian government invited President Xi Jinping to address Parliament.

Undercover. But this political relationship developed a dark side. China is being credibly accused of bribing Australian politicians and interfering with Australian elections. In 2017, Australia’s public television station, ABC, released a report showing that billionaires affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party were donating millions to Australia political parties and building close relationships with Australia’s political elites. In 2018 Charles Sturt University ethics professor Clive Hamilton published an explosive book titled Silent Invasion. It documents the governing Chinese Communist Party’s infiltration of Australian corporations, universities, government and even religions.

Hamilton warns that China is turning Australia into a puppet state. China, he says, has received a wave of “billionaires with shady histories and tight links to the party, media owners creating Beijing mouthpieces, ‘patriotic’ students brainwashed from birth, and professionals marshaled into pro-Beijing associations set up by the Chinese Embassy.” He alleges that Chinese spies coordinated a penetration into all levels of Chinese society. In the aftermath of these allegations, Australian Sen. Sam Dastyari resigned, and the nation had to change its rules on politicians receiving donations from abroad.

Other politicians appear to have received thinly disguised bribes. Special Envoy Andrew Robb, for example, was the man who signed off on China leasing Port Darwin for a century. And what was waiting for him immediately upon leaving political office? An estimated $2 million plus expenses over three years—at the company to whom he had just leased the port.

But Chinese influence on Australian governance has been even more aggressive than all this. Three months prior to Australia’s 2019 elections, someone hacked the computer systems of the Australian Parliament and all major Australian political parties. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said at the time that the attack was “sophisticated” and probably the work of a foreign government. It has since emerged that this sophisticated foreign government was China.

Trade War. Chinese infiltration and aggression has caused Australians to change their position toward their large, wealthy northern neighbor. The turnaround started gradually. In 2016 the Australian government blocked Chinese investment in the nation’s energy infrastructure over national security concerns. In 2018 they blocked Huawei Technologies from developing Australia’s 5G network. But the real break came this year. Australia tried to hold China responsible for the spread of covid-19, and conducted investigations into the origins of the virus.

China reacted with fury. The Chinese Communist Party placed tariffs on Australian barley, wheat and coal. They found a sudden increase of “defects” in Australian copper, cotton, lobster, sugar and timber. It blocked imports of Australian lamb for fear of covid contamination, while meat from countries with much higher rates of covid sail on through. About 40 percent of Australian wine exports went to China. In November, the party imposed massive tariffs as high as 200-plus percent on that wine. Week by week, China is ratcheting up the economic damage with more tariffs.

Other strikes by China have been more below-the-belt. On Nov. 30, 2020, an official Twitter account of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted a fake photo showing a grinning Australian soldier holding a gory knife at the throat of an Afghan child with the caption, “Don’t be afraid, we are coming to bring you peace!” Australian inquiries into its troops’ conduct in Afghanistan have found no evidence of Australian soldiers killing children. But China is spreading the lie—an accusation that could easily lead to a terrorist attack against Australia.

As the trade and political skirmish has worsened, China has issued Australia a 14-point ultimatum. Australians can go back to buying and selling with the Chinese the way they used to only if the Australian government opens up the country to Chinese investment and stops criticizing the governing Chinese Communist Party. How will Australia hold up under this pressure? Chinese infiltration has been so thorough that Australia is sailing into a trade war divided. Some of Australia’s own top politicians actually favor China!

Divided We Fall. Some of this is surely from bribery and other nefarious activity that we don’t even know about. But a lot of it is from the fact that Australia has put itself in the position where one third of its exports go to one country. Engaging in a trade war with that country will affect hundreds of thousands of jobs, with some political districts facing little consequence but others being devastated.

In 2019 the state of Victoria signed an agreement to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative—a group of countries that receive Chinese investment in their transportation and business infrastructure in exchange for being drawn closer into China’s orbit. Thus far, China has avoided industries that would harm Victoria. State Premier Dan Andrews has criticized the national government’s opposition to China—and Beijing seems to have rewarded him for taking its side. Others, such as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, have also urged the government to quickly end hostilities with China for the sake of Australian jobs.

Business leaders also have a lot to lose, and have taken China’s side. Andrew Forrest, a mining billionaire, brought one of China’s top diplomats to speak alongside him at an official event—without informing the Australian government minister who was also attending. Forrest said, “Australia needs to walk that line where we have a best friend in America, a best friend in China, best friends across Southeast Asia.”

Media mogul Kerry Stokes used the front pages of his The West Australian newspaper to call for an end to the conflict, writing, “If we’re going to go into the biggest debt we’ve had in our life and then simultaneously poke our biggest provider of income in the eye it’s not necessarily the smartest thing you can do.” He said China “probably owes the world an explanation on the origins of covid-19,” but “we need to stop making accusations.”

He rightly pointed out the massive economic cost that will come if the confrontation with China continues. Between that and the destruction wrought by Australia’s covid lockdowns, Australia’s economy risks being broken. This is the choice Australia now faces. Stand up to China and watch it use its power, influence, hackers and economic realities to devastate the Australian economy and more. Or submit to The Chinese Communist Party’s 14 points.

A Warning for America. America is well down the path Australia is taking. China and America are each other’s primary trading partners. America is also waking up to scandals involving Chinese agents and Chinese money going to powerful politicians. American universities have also been compromised. And China is also using trade wars very specifically—choosing what they put tariffs on based on which U.S. states they want to target.

Australia’s fraught relationship with China is what America’s will become if it continues down this path. After years of infiltration and influence, it already is beginning to face the same choice: “Stand up to the Chinese Communist Party, its 1 billion subjects, its world-leading economy, and its proven willingness and ability to exploit your open economy and society, or comply with its continued infiltration and however many points it imposes.”

In fact, the Bible prophesies this is exactly where America is heading. Isaiah 23 describes a “mart of nations”—a trading alliance in which “Chittim,” a biblical name for China, plays a major role.

America is a much larger economy than Australia, and China cannot take the Americans down alone. This same prophecy shows that China will work together with other Asian nations under its power, and with Europe!

This is what happens when you let a rival power infiltrate your economy, your education, your society and your policy. China will use all these levers against America. Just like Australia, America will soon face economic destruction. The prophecies are clear, and so is the reality on the ground for Australians and Americans.

Leave a comment

Filed under chinese culture, workplace insights