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'Shanghai Sam's' fall should alert attention to China’s rise

By Peter West - posted Tuesday, 5 December 2017


We noted earlier that a Chinese virtue is "gratitude for favours". Exactly how is the Labor Party, especially in NSW, expected to show gratitude for the money showered on it by Chinese businessmen?

I once believed the Labor Party served the interests of workers. That seems to be a foolish hope now.

Sadly, the conservative parties get donations as well. Some of the Chinese donations to political parties were listed by the ABC. They make startling reading.

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Issues remaining

We should laugh out loud at the automatic response to these questions. We are racist, we are in a moral panic, this is China-phobia, and so on. We need to rip out foreign donations root and branch. Here's a start:

First, some kind of Independent Commission Against Corruption is clearly needed to see where the money goes and what effect it has. People do not give away their hard-earned money for nothing.

Second, there needs to be a much sharper investigation of Chinese influence and control. The links between Chinese businessmen and NSW Labor must be part of this. These links have a very strong and unpleasant smell.

Third, it is demonstrably wrong that people can retire from politics and be ushered straight away into cozy jobs in Chinese businesses, or any other firms based overseas. There are far too many examples on both sides of politics.

Finally, what goes on in our universities? Are academics free to tell the truth as they see it? Or are there pressures brought to bear on those who do not toe the Beijing line? Those of us with university experience know too well that money talks loudly, foreign students bring in large fees, and difficult students are given too much of their own way.

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So let's ignore the fake cries of 'China phobia' and 'moral panic'. These issues need to be sorted.

The Turnbull Government says it has legislation restricting foreign power and influence in preparation for 2018. Surely this is an issue which will not wait. Well might the Liberals say that the Senator seems to be lacking loyalty to Australia. Yes indeed: but who else does this apply to?

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About the Author

Dr Peter West is a well-known social commentator and an expert on men's and boys' issues. He is the author of Fathers, Sons and Lovers: Men Talk about Their Lives from the 1930s to Today (Finch,1996). He works part-time in the Faculty of Education, Australian Catholic University, Sydney.

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