A few weeks ago I featured extended excerpts from a truly eye-opening essay by Swinburne University academic John Fitzgerald on Chinese Government activity among the Chinese diaspora in Australia, which include the orchestration of pro-Chinese demonstrations along the Olympic Torch relay route through Canberra in 2008 (photo above), and the Chinese state's attempts to buy up the Chinese-language community media here.

I'm a couple of days late to this, but I want to flag a blistering op-ed from China watcher Paul Monk which appeared in the Fairfax papers on Wednesday, also on the subject of Australia's Chinese-language media. 'The Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda bureau has been buying up radio stations and newspapers across the country and channelling the voice of Beijing into them from editorial offices in China', Monk writes:

What Beijing is doing is of a piece with its more general drive to extend its sway in the region in terms of both hard and soft power. But this particular initiative is blatant interference in Australia’s internal affairs of a kind that would never be tolerated on the receiving end by China and is, in fact, rendered impossible there by the Party’s tight monopoly of news media. It is a strategic move on Beijing’s part to create what can only be described as a fifth column inside our borders. It should be scouted out and the Party sent packing.

Read the whole thing. I assume the Government is receiving regular reports on this topic from ASIO. No wonder it is taking a tougher line on China.

Photo by Flickr user Michael Lieu.