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Thread: #Chinese influence pervades #Australian politics - Parliamentarian Gladys Liu’s exposed past ties to Chinese Communist Party groups has ignited a political firestorm asiatimes.com/2019/09/articl…
legislator in Australia’s ruling coalition has admitted she had links with a communist group used by Beijing to advance its interests overseas. The potentially explosive revelation comes amid increasing scrutiny of political activities by ethnic Chinese in the country.
Gladys Liu, Australia’s first China-born member of parliament, confirmed on September 11 that she had an honorary role in the Guangdong provincial chapter of the China Overseas Exchange Association (COEA) from 2003-2015.
Then run by the Communist Party’s powerful State Council, the COEA is now part of the United Front Work Department, a shadowy state agency tasked with spreading Chinese influence abroad.
She has also denied reports that she has links with Ji Jianmin, president of Huaxing Arts Troupe, a cultural organization that is overseen by the State Council.
Ji has been identified as a junket operator who brings high-profile gamblers to the Crown Casino in Melbourne: one of those he brought to Australia recently was Ming Chai, a cousin of China’s leader Xi Jinping.
Interviewed about her political beliefs on Sky News, Liu declined three times to describe China’s actions in the South China Sea as illegal, saying only that she backed the Australian government’s position on the issue.
“I have resigned from many organizations and I am in the process of auditing any organizations who may have added me as a member without my knowledge or consent,” Liu said. “I do not wish my name to be used in any of these associations and I ask them to stop using my name.”
Canberra does not take sides in the dispute but accepted a ruling by an arbitral tribunal at The Hague handed down in July 2016 that China’s wide-ranging claims to the sea in its nine-dash line map were not consistent with international law.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that Liu, who represents a Melbourne seat with a large Chinese population, is a “fit and proper” legislator.
However, she may have breached laws against foreign political influence enacted last year and is now under pressure to resign her parliamentary seat from the opposition Labor Party. If she eventually does, it would even one political score.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption does not have policing powers but can recommend legal action against individuals found to have breached political funding rules. Jail terms apply for anyone found guilty.
#Australia: #Liberal MP Gladys Liu refuses to say #China's actions in South China Sea unlawful - The MP for the Victorian seat of Chisholm also questioned over her connection to Chinese Communist party organizations theguardian.com/australia-news…
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