China’s secretive lobbying agency ‘stepping up its operations in Australia’

CHINA’S secretive agency tasked with recruiting overseas supporter for the Communist Party is believed to be ramping up operations in Australia.
Date: November 30, 2017
By: Megan Palin

A SECRETIVE lobbying agency dedicated to strengthening China’s Communist Party’s influence by recruiting “friends” in the West is increasingly becoming a source of suspicion in Australia, according to an expert.

China’s United Front Work Department, which is under the control of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, officially focuses on building support for the party in China and abroad. The ultimate goal of the Leninist-style operation — recently referred to as a “magic weapon” by president Xi Jinping — is to influence the West and isolate enemies.

It’s also tasked with coercing elites outside the party to ensure of their political loyalty.

Following Labor Senator Sam Dastyari’s forced resignation from senior parliamentary positions over links with China and accusations the popular politician was “under a foreign influence”, Sydney’s Lowy Institute East Asia program director Merriden Varrall warned there was reason to believe the department was ramping up secret operations in Australia.

Dr Varrall said the department had been given a budget boost in recent years to increase its power and coerce Chinese citizens at home and abroad “to their perceptions”.    [FULL STORY]