Groups linked to MP back China’s brutal Hong Kong stance

MORE than 150 Australian Chinese organisations have thrown their support behind Beijing's crackdown in Hong Kong - and a controversial state Labor MP closely linked to two of the groups is refusing to distance himself from their anti-democratic propaganda.

Controversial Labor Party MP Shaoquette Moselmane, criticised last year for pro-Chinese Communist Party comments, is a founding member of one of the groups and the honorary chairman of another. It comes just days before a new ICAC investigation is set to grill key state Labor figures over corruption allegations over Chinese ­donations and influence.

Hong Kong has been the scene of more than two months of, at times, violent clashes between police and protesters. What began as demonstrations against an extradition bill has now ­become a wider pro-democracy movement, with Beijing accusing protesters of "terrorist-like actions".

Last night Mr Moselmane declined to answer questions about whether he backed Chinese propaganda, contained in a statement issued on behalf of the local organisations, or if he supported democracy in Hong Kong.

Labor leader Jodi McKay's spokesman said "this is the first time the matter has been raised". "No complaints have been made. Mr Moselmane's views are his own," he said.

But China's Communist Party issued a statement welcoming the Australian Chinese associations' interven-tion, using it to justify its hard-line stance in Hong Kong.

The local groups, a mix of cultural and friendship soci­eties, signed the communique backing Beijing over the uprisings, saying Hong Kong "has now returned to China" and its internal affairs were part of "China's sovereignty".

Mr Moselmane, who has visited China 10 times in nine years, is the honorary chair and member of the Australian Shanghainese Association. He is also a founding member and past senior vice-president of the Australian Chinese Association.

Both organisations were named in federal parliament for being part of United Front - Beijing's secretive network of foreign influence operations. In 2015, during a trip to Shanghai, Mr Moselmane met with Jie Ju, chairwoman of the Chinese People's Consultative Conference of Songjiang the peak body that directs United Front. The US describes the organisation as "the highest ranking entity overseeing the United Front system".

Shaoquett Moselmane has yet to distance himself from groups supporting China’s Hong Kong clampdown.
Shaoquett Moselmane has yet to distance himself from groups supporting China’s Hong Kong clampdown.

The Chinese government's State Council Information Office issued a formal statement to Xinhua News Agency earlier this week singling out the Aussie support.

"More than 20 Chinese associations in Australia ­recently issued a joint statement opposing the illegal act of undermining Hong Kong's basic order, opposing any outside forces' interference in Hong Kong affairs and opposing all acts of splitting China," it said.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute researcher Alex Joske said the Australian Chinese Association "explic­itly works to promote China's influence in politics" and that the Shanghainese Association of Australia was run by John Zhang until recently. Mr Zhang now works in Mr Moselmane's office.

Professor Clive Hamilton, who has looked into China's attempts to influence Australian politics, said the United Front-linked Chinese associations "exist to advance … the Chinese Communist Party in Australia and reproduce Beijing's propaganda".

"Mr Moselmane is free to echo the slogans of the Chinese Communist Party if that's what he believes," he said. "He is not the first Australian politician to lend his support to a totalitarian regime. But NSW voters should be aware of any links he might have to Chinese Communist Party organisations and people who do its work in Australia."

Last year Mr Moselmane moved a motion in state parliament in support of United Front figure and ­exiled Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo, expelled from Australia by ASIO over foreign influence activities. Mr Huang will be the focus of ICAC corruption hearings starting on Monday.

Pro-democracy Hong Kong supporters hold placards during a demonstration in Sydney. Picture: AAP
Pro-democracy Hong Kong supporters hold placards during a demonstration in Sydney. Picture: AAP

Labor boss Kaila Murnain would not answer questions about the party's continued support for Mr Moselmane.

Disclosure records show Mr Moselmane received funding from Chinese government officials to help pay for rail and road trips during privately funded trips to China.

He has courted contro­versy in parliament, with Jewish leaders condemning his anti-Israel tirades, including claims it ran "torture camps" in southern Lebanon.

"And no complaints have been made. Mr Moselmane's views are his own."

But the ruling Chinese Communist Party Government has come out with a statement welcoming the intervention by the Australian Chinese associations and used it to justify its hard-line actions in Hong Kong.

The local groups, a mix of cultural and friendship societies, signed the communique backing Beijing over the uprisings in Hong Kong, saying the island city "has now returned to China" and its internal affairs were now part of "China's sovereignty".

Mr Moselmane, who has visited China ten times in nine years, is the honorary chair and member of the Australian Shanghainese Association. He's also a founding member and past senior Vice-President of the Australian Chinese Association.

Both organisations were named in federal parliament for being part of the Beijing's covert network of foreign influence "United Front" operations.

China's Communist Party government's State Council Information Office issued a formal statement to Xinhua News Agency on earlier this week singling out the Aussie support.

"More than 20 Chinese associations in Australia recently issued a joint statement opposing the illegal act of undermining Hong Kong's basic order, opposing any outside forces' interference in Hong Kong affairs and opposing all acts of splitting China," the Chinese government stated.

"The statement also called on the Hong Kong people to stop the violent acts of the ultraradicals, unite and protect 'one country, two systems' and safeguard Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.

NSW MP Shaoquett Moselmane met Mrs Jie Ju in 2015 on a trip to China. She sits on the Chinese Political Consultative Conference of Songjiang, the peak body which directs the work of the Propaganda United Front Network.
NSW MP Shaoquett Moselmane met Mrs Jie Ju in 2015 on a trip to China. She sits on the Chinese Political Consultative Conference of Songjiang, the peak body which directs the work of the Propaganda United Front Network.

"Overseas people have … reiterated their support for the Chinese government's position on the Hong Kong issue, condemned the … interference of external forces and supported the Hong Kong SAR government."

Australian Strategic Policy Institute researcher Alex Joske said the Australian Chinese Association "explicitly works to promote China's influence in politics" and that the Shanghainese Association of Australia was run by John Zhang (aka Zhang Zhisen) until recently. Mr Zhang now works in Mr Moselmane's office.

Professor Clive Hamilton, who has researched China's attempts to influence Australian politics, said the United Front-linked Chinese associations "exist to advance the interests of the Chinese Communist Party in Australia and reproduce Beijing's propaganda".

"Mr Moselmane is free to echo the slogans of the Chinese Communist Party if that's what he believes," he said.

"He is not the first Australian politician to lend his support to a totalitarian regime.

"But NSW voters should be aware of any links he might have to Chinese Communist Party organisations and people who do its work in Australia."

Last year Mr Moselmane moved a motion in State Parliament in support of United Front figure and exiled Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo, who was expelled from Australia by ASIO over his foreign influence activities.

Huang will be the focus of ICAC corruption hearings starting next Monday, as part of a probe into whether ALP NSW branch officials and Chinese Friends of Labor tried to subvert donation laws.

ALP boss Kaila Murnain would not answer questions about the ALP's continued support for Moselmane.

Mr Moselmane attracted widespread criticism in June last year at a function at NSW State Parliament when he said it was "his view" that for China to succeed it "needs greater control of the global media" and "the rules have to change" because global institutions "favour" the West.

"China will not be satisfied to operate within an existing world order with the rules of the game designed to satisfy the west," he claimed.

"A new world order is what China will in future demand.

"China cannot continue to rise the way that it has within a West-designed world order, in a Western-designed global financial system … controlled by Western powers.

"Historically China has longed for greatness and greatness cannot be achieved if the rules of the game continues to favour its opponents. The rules have to change."

"The only way for China to reach its potential is for China to force a change to the rules and create a new world order."

Disclosure records to the NSW State Parliament show Mr Moselmane has received funding from Chinese government officials to help pay for internal rail and road trips in China during his privately-funded trips to Guangxi, Shanghai, Xian, Shangrao and Songjiang.

Mr Moselmane has also attracted controversy over his time in parliament, with Jewish leaders condemning his anti-Israel tirades, including claims that the Israel ran "torture camps" in southern Lebanon and his blocking of Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff from an ALP multicultural event last year.


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