Seventy years ago, the authoritarian dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party was established.
The “Great Leap Forward” which followed in the fifties was one of the largest acts of systematic genocide in world history, taking 45 million lives in just four years.
If an Australian politician attended a celebration day for Nazi Germany or the fall of Phnom Penh to Pol Pot’s troops, their position would no longer be tenable.
And yet when it comes to this particular blood-stained regime, politicians in have both attended celebrations its founding, even speaking in support.
Last month, Liberal and Labor MPs alike hosted a celebration for the seventieth anniversary of Chinese Communist Party dictatorship at Queensland’s parliament sponsored by Labor MP Peter Russo and former LNP leader John-Paul Langbroek.
The guest of honour for the event was Xu Jie, the CCP government’s Consul General in Brisbane. Jie has commended the “spontaneous patriotism” of pro-CCP international students who have harassed and assaulted pro-democracy Hong Kong students and their Australian allies in rallies at the University of Queensland University campus protests.
That event followed a similar celebration in NSW where that state parliament’s speaker Jonathon O’Dea spoke in glowing terms, as reported by Chinese state media.
In Melbourne, the Victoria Police — the same police force that levies fees for free speech — staged a ceremonial raising of the People’s Republic flag in the heavily Chinese Box Hill, much to the chagrin of the area’s sizable Tibetan, Taiwanese, Uyghur and Hong Kongese communities.
Former Liberal Legislative Council leader Bruce Atkinson bragged on social media about attending another official Chinese Consular celebration with opposition leader Matthew Guy and former premier Ted Baillieu clearly present in the audience. Although it may well benefit the Victorian Liberal party to raise awareness about who the opposition leader even is, it’s hard to see how this might help them beat the Andrews government at the next election.
The irony of these displays of diplomatic bonhomie and hypocrisy is startling.
Australian politicians are not just showing their support for a regime that far outstrips North Korea as the most disruptive force in our region; one that pursues an aggressive foreign policy and flaunts its weaponry to the world.
They are supporting a regime they can now see using live ammunition on pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong; protestors whose state, in the past, was bound to us by the “golden thread” of the traditions of British democracy and justice and the common law – and prospered.
They are supporting a regime whose repression they can see and ignoring the dark and terrible tales muttered of hidden torture, murder and genocide that come of the Uighur regions of Central Asia – let alone the torment that goes on out of sight in the Laogai, the Chinese Gulag, well documented by respected Sinologists.
We need to work and live with our largest trading partner (despite its currency manipulations and contempt for intellectual property). We do not want conflict, open or the cyber attacks China already uses to test out defences.
We need accommodation.
The China lobby, its well-rewarded agents of influence and all those waving red flags this week, however, have gone one step further.
They are not about accommodation. They are the new appeasers.
Satya Marar is the Director of Policy at the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance.
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