Canberra Cowers: First silence, then participation


Silence doesn’t just mean consent, it often means complicity.  Or to quote Martin Luther King Jr., “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

In July, during pro-Hong Kong, pro-democracy protests in Australia, the government and police turned a blind eye to intimidation and threats by propa-Panda thugs.  Physical assault and throwing of fecal matter was recorded on video.

In September, the Australian government is now using protests in Hong Kong as a pretext for unecessary screening and denial of entry to Hong Kong citizens.

If they’re not cowering and kowtowing to Beijing by harassing Hong Kong citizens, it certainly looks like it.

From July 30:

Hong Kong supporters ‘stunned’ by pro-Beijing harassment in Australia and New Zealand

[Drew] Pavlou, a 20-year-old critic of Chinese Communist human rights abuses, has been at the center of a campus controversy with geopolitical overtones. He organized a protest last week that drew online threats and ultimately a group of roughly 300 pro-Beijing demonstrators, in an echo of the outbursts that have rocked Hong Kong in recent months, which calls attention to China’s broader network of foreign influence operations.

“The leader of the Chinese nationalist students … messaged me personally the night before the protest and warned me that I would be hurt if I went ahead with it,” Pavlou tweeted after the protests last Wednesday.

Pavlou organized the protest, along with Jack Yiu, with multiple issues in mind. He wanted to denounce the Chinese Communist repression of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, the violence against Hong Kong protesters outraged by pressure from the mainland government, and his alma mater. The university hosts a Confucius Institute, which works “to promote the learning of Chinese language and culture,” as the school put it, but sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Education. U.S. officials regard the institutes as important platforms for Chinese Communist propaganda.

The scene turned ugly when a Chinese student grabbed the megaphone that Pavlou was using to lead a “Xi Jinping has got to go” chant, per a video released by the protest organizer. “CCP thugs sprayed what looks like urine on peaceful pro Hong Kong students,” Pavlou added in a tweet releasing another video.

[Drew] Pavlou, a 20-year-old critic of Chinese Communist human rights abuses, has been at the center of a campus controversy with geopolitical overtones. He organized a protest last week that drew online threats and ultimately a group of roughly 300 pro-Beijing demonstrators, in an echo of the outbursts that have rocked Hong Kong in recent months, which calls attention to China’s broader network of foreign influence operations.

“The leader of the Chinese nationalist students … messaged me personally the night before the protest and warned me that I would be hurt if I went ahead with it,” Pavlou tweeted after the protests last Wednesday.

Pavlou organized the protest, along with Jack Yiu, with multiple issues in mind. He wanted to denounce the Chinese Communist repression of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, the violence against Hong Kong protesters outraged by pressure from the mainland government, and his alma mater. The university hosts a Confucius Institute, which works “to promote the learning of Chinese language and culture,” as the school put it, but sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Education. U.S. officials regard the institutes as important platforms for Chinese Communist propaganda.

The scene turned ugly when a Chinese student grabbed the megaphone that Pavlou was using to lead a “Xi Jinping has got to go” chant, per a video released by the protest organizer. “CCP thugs sprayed what looks like urine on peaceful pro Hong Kong students,” Pavlou added in a tweet releasing another video.

From September 6:

Hong Kong democracy protester ‘detained’ briefly by Border Force as artists counter Beijing

A Hong Kong pro-democracy student activist says she was targeted by Australian Border Force officials and briefly detained upon her arrival in Melbourne this week.

Zoey Leung is one of three Hong Kong students visiting Australia as part of a delegation designed to shore up global support for their pro-democracy cause.

She told the ABC that two male Border Force officers singled her out, questioned her for half an hour, and went through photos on her phone and social media accounts.

“I got detained by the Border Force police,” she said.

“They claimed there are riots in Hong Kong nowadays and they asked me about my intention to come to Australia … they asked me if I kept any weapons in my luggage.”

“They asked me to unlock my cell-phone to check those photos and some social media.”

Ms Leung, the vice-president of the Hong Kong Baptist University student union, said she thought she was targeted.

“I am angry, because I feel like those police have a political stance towards the Hong Kong movement, and because of that, they seem to restrict my freedom to travel, my freedom of movement,” Ms Leung said.

Australian academic Clive Hamilton, author of Silent Invasion about Chinese influence in Australia, said he was “very shocked” by Ms Leung’s account.

“I’m ashamed that my country should treat Zoey this way,” he said.

Mr Hamilton’s remarks came during a heavily policed event in Melbourne featuring dissident Chinese artist Badiucao and Hong Kong singer and pro-democracy activist Denise Ho.

The pair said their event had been rejected by nine venues due to security concerns, including the National Gallery of Victoria, which is currently hosting the terracotta warriors exhibition.

Past demonstrations on Australian soil, including in major cities and universities, have seen heated exchanges and scuffles break out between pro-Hong Kong and pro-Beijing camps.

Badiucao accused the NGV of “self-censoring” after it declined to host the “Be Water” event, which was held at the Melbourne City Conference Centre.

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