Key Points …
–Chinese govt record lists her as a council member of the Guangdong provincial chapter; China Overseas Exchange Association (COEA)
.also a council member, Association’s Shandong provincial chapter 2010
-COEA, an arm of Beijing’s powerful State Council
-since merged with the CCP’s United Front Work Department
-2 bodies created to exert influence in countries like Australia
–concern among China watchers about Ms Liu’s contacts with Ji Jianmin
-and Tom Zhou, junket operator for Melbourne’s Crown Casino
‘I think Parliament itself must now ask whether she is in breach of section 44 of the constitution … ‘
WHAT will this guvmint do about this? Will it sweep it under the carpet?
Questions raised about Liberal MP Gladys Liu amid claims of links to Chinese political influence operations
By political reporter Tom Iggulden
10 SEPTEMBER 2019
*New claims connecting Liberal backbencher Gladys Liu to the highest echelons of China’s covert political influence operations are raising questions about her eligibility to sit in Parliament.
*A Chinese government online record lists her name as a council member of the Guangdong provincial chapter of the China Overseas Exchange Association between 2003 and 2015.
*Chinese government records also indicate she was also a council member of the Association’s Shandong provincial chapter in 2010.
*At that time, the China Overseas Exchange Association was an arm of Beijing’s powerful State Council, the Chinese government’s central political and administrative body.
*It has since been merged with the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, described by Chinese president Xi Jinping as China’s “magic weapon” to defeat the country’s overseas opponents.
*”The two bodies of which Ms Liu [was] a council member are explicitly created by the communist party of China in order to exert influence in countries like Australia,” China researcher at Charles Sturt University Clive Hamilton told the ABC.
- Associate professor Feng Chongyi of UTS said the China Overseas Exchange Association was a key link between China’s central government and pro-Beijing patriots based overseas.
“This is one of the organisations created by the Chinese government for United Front operations,” he told the ABC, referring to China’s covert political influence operations.
“In particular, its work specialises in [recruiting] friends from overseas Chinese communities.”
In a statement to the ABC, the Liberal backbencher says she has “no relationship” with the China Overseas Exchange Association.
However, multiple Chinese-speaking sources have told the ABC they believe she has.
They point to praise for Ms Liu from China’s state media in 2007 for establishing the Chinese Liberals Association with the Liberal Party’s Victorian branch and that her Chinese name is highly unusual and easily identifiable.
*There is also concern among China watchers about the Liberal MP’s contacts with a member of Melbourne’s Chinese community, Ji Jianmin.
He is president of the high-profile Huaxing Arts Troupe, which organises cultural events in the city.
Dr Feng said the organisation was “the flagship cultural art association bilaterally organised by the Chinese State Council”.
“It enjoys a very high status within the Chinese United Front network,” he said.
*The chairman of the organisation is Tom Zhou, also known as Mr Chinatown.
*Channel Nine recently identified him as, responsible for bringing in wealthy Chinese gamblers including Chinese President Xi Jinping’s cousin Ming Chai.
Mr Ji and Mr Zhou did not respond to multiple questions the ABC put to them.
Ms Liu’s statement to the ABC says she has “no relationship” with Mr Ji or Mr Zhou.
However, the ABC has identified three events Ms Liu attended last year put on by Mr Ji’s organisations, including one where the pair were photographed together.
They were also photographed together at a fourth event, Melbourne’s Lunar New Year festival in February this year, along with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The Prime Minister’s office issued a statement to the ABC that said Mr Morrison had attended multiple Lunar New Year events.
There is no suggestion Mr Morrison is aware of claims made about Mr Ji’s connections to the United Front network.
“Many serious questions now surround Ms Liu,” Professor Hamilton told the ABC.
*”I think Parliament itself must now ask whether she is in breach of section 44 of the constitution, which disqualifies any member who owes allegiance to a foreign power.”