Deer in the headlights
Aggressive moves by the government have sensitized the world to Chinese export of skullduggery, lying, theft, and threats to foreigners in their own country by Chinese organizations in business and government. Infiltration of politics and government in Australia and New Zealand has become a recurring story.
Unfortunately, such actions can bias some people against Chinese everywhere. So - what to make of Gladys Liu?
Gladys Liu was elected to the Australian Parliament this year from Chisholm, a district in which 70% of the voting population was born in China.
It has been discovered that she was listed as a council member of two chapters of the Chinese Overseas Exchange Association, a CCP United Front organization, from 2003 to 2015. She is also listed as an officer in a business organization which is also said to have United Front ties.
Ms. Liu cannot recall being a member of the organizations - in which she had membership for twelve years. The purpose of United Front is to influence overseas Chinese and foreign political and business organizations.
It is possible that mainland organizations could use her name without her knowledge. We have an incident earlier this year in which the former Prime Minister of New Zealand was quoted in China Daily without her knowledge - the interview was simply made up by the newspaper in China.
The Liu case follows that of Pierre Yang, another Australian MP forced to resign in late 2018 when it was discovered he was a member of two United Front organizations - the Northeast China Federation and Association of Greater China. And the case of Sam Dastyari, another MP forced to resign from a government position after disclosure of his possible collusion in stopping an Australian intelligence investigation of a Chinese businessman in Australia - a CCP member who had, incidentally, paid debts owed by Dastyari and made illegal campaign donations - $100,000 cash, in a plastic bag - to Dastyari's political party.
For Ms. Liu, when questioned in a tv interview about her views on the South China Sea and on the character of Xi Jinping, her answers were less than forthcoming. The interview is remarkable for its length - over 17 minutes - and for the evasiveness and failures of memory in Ms. Liu's answers.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has expressed his support for Liu, who is a member of his party, and called criticism of Liu racially motivated.
More detail on the story is at the Conversation, Why Gladys Liu must answer to parliament about alleged links to the Chinese government.
What is one to make of all this? I certainly don't know. That is the problem with being a bit paranoid - you don't know if they are really after you or not. No doubt more will come out on this story.
Watch the interview. For a politician, even one from a place that is a bit of a backwater, she sounds remarkably inept, seeming to choose words quite carefully. It seems that people are watching her, and it is not just voters in Australia.