China’s Operation Australia: the party line

Do as I say  – not as I do!

The Chinese Communist Party is waging a covert campaign of influence in Australia – an aggressive form of “soft power” – and while loyalists are rewarded, dissidents live in fear.



University student Tony Chang had suspected for months that he was being secretly monitored, but it was a panicked phone call from a family member in China that confirmed his fears.

It was June 2015 and Chang’s parents had just been approached by state security agents in Shenyang in north-eastern China and invited to a meeting at a tea house. It would not be a cordial catch-up.

As Chang later detailed in a sworn statement to Australian immigration authorities, three agents warned his parents about their son’s involvement in the Chinese democracy movement in Australia. The agents “pressed the point that my parents must ask me to stop what I am taking part in and keep a low profile,” the statement said.

As Chang later detailed in a sworn statement


From a Brisbane share house littered with books and unwashed plates, the Queensland University of Technology student told a Fairfax Media-Four Corners investigation that the agents had intelligence about his plans to participate in a protest in Brisbane on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and also during the Dalai Lama’s visit to Australia.

Chang’s activities in Brisbane meant that his terrified father in China feared that he too was being “watched and tracked”

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