John Fitzgerald's article on Chinese and Australian values is fascinating throughout, but I wanted to highlight a few passages. This I didn't know:
Beijing has gained overwhelming dominance of Chinese language media in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands following a concerted effort at content placement and media industry networking by China’s embassies and consulates in the region. This effort is part of a larger proactive strategy of “group management, extra-territorial influence, counter-infiltration, and counter subversion” targeting Overseas Chinese communities generally—particularly Chinese students abroad—to ensure their loyalty to Beijing wherever they happen to be domiciled.
Beijing’s investments in Australia’s Chinese language media have had negligible impact on the broader Australian public, but they are earning high dividends among the Chinese-Australian communities targeted through an active public-diplomacy program that is highly strategic, clearly focused, and generously supported. Through China International Radio, the World Chinese Media Forum, and other arms of the party-government, the Central Propaganda Bureau outlaws the slightest criticism of the CCP or PRC government on its Australian radio and press networks. It pre-packages its own content for placement in local media, including layout, editing, and typesetting, and has largely banished alternative news sources from co-placement on Australian networks.
What is the effect of control from Beijing? Leninist propaganda systems are less notable for what they say, which can be taken with a grain of salt, than for what they prevent others from saying. In 2013, central Party officials added seven subjects to the list of topics never to be mentioned in colleges, the media, or the Internet. The seven taboo issues include “freedom of speech,” “judicial independence,” “civil society,” “civic rights,” and “universal values” in addition to criticism of the CCP and allusions to its privileged and wealthy leadership. Even mentioning to foreigners the existence of the document that lists these banned subjects is considered a betrayal of state secrets in China—an indiscretion that appears to have landed veteran Chinese journalist Gao Yu in detention in China in April 2014.
Chinese-language media conglomerates in Australia, which depend on Beijing funding for their programming, do not report the existence of the mystery document nor do they provide open and critical coverage of the banned topics.
There's also a section on Beijing's management of local diasporas:
In Australia, the party ranks control and management of the Chinese diaspora community well above damage to that community’s reputation. Beijing considers the 2008 counter-demonstrations orchestrated along the route of the Olympic Torch relay in Australia not as a disgraceful display of extra-territorial hubris but as a successful endorsement of its strategy harnessing Chinese residents of other countries to its national objectives.
Fitzgerald's bracing conclusion:
It was all very well to respect the value differences that separate Australia from China while each country went about its business. This may have been the case in Prime Minister Howard’s day, but it is certainly not the case today. China is determined to change the status quo in the region, to project its values through public diplomacy, and increasingly to link trade and investment with political trade-offs. In Australia, the CCP is mobilizing and policing its diaspora to flaunt its distaste for liberal-democratic values. Howard used to say that Australia faces a phony choice between its economic interests and its basic values in balancing relations with China and the United States. The problem for Prime Minister Abbott is that it may no longer be Australia’s choice whether or not to exercise even a phony choice. In arriving at this point, Australians have handicapped themselves by ceding too much to China on national values and reflecting too lightly on the universal character of their own.