SYDNEY, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) — A new report by the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney has taken aim at a number of recent claims made by the Australian media in relation to China.
Author of the report Prof. James Laurenceson told Xinhua at the launch on Monday that negative rhetoric around China has been on the rise, but those claims are not tenable.
“Towards the end of 2015, but particularly since last year, I began to notice an increasing proportion of commentary in Australia that appeared to take on what I would describe as a panicked tone, and had a dubious connection to facts and evidence,” he said.
“And I wasn’t the only Australian academic to notice this shift.”
In response, Laurenceson decided to document the claims in order to find out if the facts supported their concerns.
“Some claims are completely bereft of an evidence base, such as those suggesting that China is positioning itself to make a territorial claim over Australia,” Laurenceson said.
“Others, such as assertions that ‘Chinese political donations’ represent a Chinese government attempt to undermine Australian sovereignty, are linked to concerns raised by security agencies, but the evidence base also shows that such concerns relate to just two donors and one is not Chinese; he has been an Australian citizen for the past 20 years.”
“The other has recently been approved by the Australian government to continue to permanently reside in Australia and expand his already extensive business operations.”
In total, there are over 300 companies in the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Australia and none of them have been reported to have made any political donations, according to Laurenceson.
“The facts also reveal that foreign donations, not just Chinese, accounted for only 2.6 percent of total political donations in the last federal election campaign,” he said.
“Further, there is no evidence that Chinese donations have had an impact on government or opposition party policies on issues of interest to Beijing.”
Although tensions between the two countries have intensified slightly in recent years, Laurenceson believed the relationship between China and Australia still remained strong and positive for both nations.
“China presents Australia with enormous economic opportunities, with two-way trade now heading toward 200 billion Australian dollars (142 billion U.S. dollars),” he said.
“Trade is entirely voluntary, every single one of those 200 billion dollars is a decision by an Australian consumer or and an Australian company that engagement with China is in their best interest.”