TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The U.S. Congressional Commission on China held a hearing on Thursday, April 26 to discuss China’s “Digital Authoritarianism and the Global Threat to Free Speech."
During the talk on what the Commission called “one of the most restrictive internet environments in the world,” it was also asserted that China is “waging a campaign of psychological warfare” against Australia by guest speaker and scholar, Clive Hamilton.
Hamilton is the author of the book “Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia,” a book that was refused publication by its original publisher, Allen and Unwin, over fears of political backlash from China. The book has since been published by the company Hardie Grant.
Hamilton in his address to the Commission and in his book, examines how China’s Communist Party and the United Front network are targeting the Australian state, and the Australian people with a campaign of “subversion, cyber intrusion, and harassment.”
The controversy over Hamilton’s book has cast a shadow over discussions of free speech and foreign political influence in Australia, one of the U.S.’s key allies in the region. Since its publication, Hamilton has purportedly faced a campaign of harassment and spying from Chinese operatives at home and at his work place, Charles Stuart University in Canberra, where he is a professor of ethics.
Many academics and public officials have expressed support for Hamilton and concern over the China’s “unacceptable interference” in Australia’s society and politics.
Other speakers, Sarah Cook, a senior research analyst for the China Media Bulletin, and Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, discussed the extensive surveillance network and the “Great Firewall,” as well as the great lengths that China will go to suppress any information that might lead to domestic or international criticism of the communist party.
Another topic of the discussion was the trend of espionage activities at United States’ universities, and the extraterritorial manipulation of Chinese students in foreign countries by the CCP.
The Commission hearing was chaired by Senator Marco Rubio, who has recently been a strong critic of China’s authoritarian policies domestically, and its program of intimidation against its Asian neighbors.
Rubio is also one of the co-sponsors of the recently introduced “Asia Reassurance Legislation Act,” which seeks to shore up U.S. alliances in the region to counter China’s increasingly troublesome behavior.
The full hearing on China's“Digital Authoritarianism and the Global Threat to Free Speech" can be viewed below.