I must admit I wasn’t going to read this story from Australia, but it is doing the rounds on the state-run media (ABC) and Fairfax media. The ABC calls it, “Australia’s sovereignty under threat from influence of China’s Communist Party,” while Fairfax calls it “China’s Operation Australia.” The story carefully tries to present an image of an authoritarian communist party reaching out its evil tentacles to threaten the just causes of “democracy activists.” It also gives significant weight to well-known China-bashers, and makes light of other views.
But the story actually reveals a rather different picture despite itself. To begin with, the acts of the Chinese “democracy activists” actually constitute acts of treason. Why? They are seeking to overthrow the state in China and impose bourgeois democracy (which has been repeatedly ruled out as leading to social chaos, in contrast to China’s socialist democracy). Try to overthrow the state anywhere else and you will promptly be in prison. By contrast, the Chinese authorities seem to be remarkably patient with these people.
Second, the overwhelming number of people who turn up in the story supporting the People’s Republic is the real story. The vast majority of Chinese-language newspapers that work hard to counter the corporate media’s negative images (as witnessed by this story), the well-placed Australians of Chinese background who seek to present a more realistic picture, and the thousands upon thousands of students in the Chinese Students’ and Scholars’ Association who come out to welcome visits by Chinese leaders – all these support in various ways the Communist Party and the People’s Republic. The story tries and fails to spin all of these as controlled by the Communist Party. Instead, we need to ask why all these people support China. The reason, as people here tell me again and again, is that the Communist Party has for the last forty years led an incredible process of reforming the Chinese economy into a world power. They know their lives have improved immeasurably, in which the process of reform is based on revolution. This is what is meant by ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’ and a ‘socialistically modernised society’.
The upshot: the few people championed in these reports threaten to undermine all of these achievements. No wonder the vast majority is not impressed.