Summary of How China Interferes in Australia

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While Kremlin-sponsored foreign influencing campaigns have grabbed headlines, Australia has been grappling with increased Chinese interference in its domestic politics. According to John Garnaut, a strategic risk adviser and China expert, China’s co-opting of thought-leaders and suppression of Chinese-Australians’ free speech is a warning to democracies everywhere as to China’s power and geopolitical ambitions. Australia’s approach to counteracting Chinese meddling, meanwhile, serves as a model for protecting democracies from foreign influence in general.

About the Author

John Garnaut is the founder of the strategic risk advisory JG Global. He has worked as a China correspondent and was senior adviser to Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.



Recently, China has stepped up its efforts to gain political influence in Australia. The Chinese Communist Party’s use of soft-power tools to corrupt politicians, business leaders and academics places Australia in a delicate position. While Canberra wishes to defend its liberal democratic values against authoritarian influence, it does not want to alienate its main export partner. China is also the source of 180,000 foreign students and a million tourists to Australia each year. As the problem of foreign interference...

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