The moment a Chinese spy decided to defect to Australia
November 22, 2019 2:23 PM   Subscribe

Australia's government wouldn't be the first stop for me if I were defecting from China, but any port in the storm I guess. Australia seems to be on the path from being partially an American vassal state to a Chinese vassal state, what with the mining industry's grip on Australian national-level politics and all.
posted by tclark at 2:59 PM on November 22, 2019 [5 favorites]

The first article mentions that he was wary about going to Australia, but it seemed in the end that having his wife and child there gave him his only real opportunity to flee without raising suspicions.

It is brave of him to defect so publicly. I can only assume that China will want to make an equally public example of what they can do to defectors.
posted by clawsoon at 3:07 PM on November 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


"….conducted human flesh search [a Chinese term for researching using internet media such as blogs and forums]”. Then they “made public all their personal data, their parents’ and family members’, then we attacked them verbally, swearing at them.

“[We] effectively silenced them.”"

So this is why we have Facebook.
posted by clavdivs at 3:39 PM on November 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

This could be pretty explosive as it could roll up a lot of networks and put China on its back foot in some ways ahead of some really important political battles in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Worth noting also that The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, and 60 Minutes all have stuff coming later this weekend and/or Monday. Seems to be a semi-coordinated release.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 3:42 PM on November 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

It probably doesn't take that much co-ordination, I almost expect most of them already have informal style guides in place for their general program of articles designed to stoke Sinophobia and anti-China sentiment.

Which these will feed into, regardless of the legitimate bases for criticism of China.
posted by Acid Communist at 3:47 PM on November 22, 2019

12 min. Wendover Productions video on China's relationship with Australia.
posted by Bee'sWing at 3:52 PM on November 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

> "Worth noting also that The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, and 60 Minutes" …
… are all part of Nine Entertainment Co.
posted by Pinback at 4:47 PM on November 22, 2019 [8 favorites]

People were expecting that Nine were going to crush Fairfax under its horseshit during the takeover, but between this and the Crown corruption story from earlier this year, it seems like maybe Nine's trying to use Fairfax's Actual Journalism to give their TV station a shot in the arm? Certainly it's been a long time since 60 Minutes has had an actual story. It's still early days, but I did expect worse outcomes a lot quicker.

As for China, man, I don't know. Peter Hartcher's definitely driving the anti-China coverage, and I frequently get the whiff of Sinophobia from it, but he had an article earlier this week that seemed to articulate his concerns in a reasonable way: Chinese nationals do appear to be doing things like harassing people the Chinese government don't like, based on the idea that China still sees itself as the little guy who'll be crushed by capitalism unless they're constantly on the defensive. That's a dynamic I've seen play out so often - last week, there was some drama around YA authors and also Roxane Gay and N K Jemisin attacking a grad student for her horrifying opinion that a university-wide reading program should select a book for adults - that, yeah, if you think that's what's going on, I can see why you'd flinch in the paper every time China does something.
posted by Merus at 5:25 PM on November 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

I cannot wait to find out which staffer in which Federal MP’s office, if they ever get named at all, I can sense an absolute shitstorm of defo law gathering
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 5:30 PM on November 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

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