The Australian 'turned' me into a CPC member overnight

By Chen Hong Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/16 0:55:51

Chen Hong

Author's Note: 

The article was written in response to The Australian's erroneous reports about my alleged membership of the Communist Party of China (CPC). It was submitted to The Australian for publication with the purpose of clarification of basic facts. The newspaper, however, did not publish this article in full, but only ran a news story containing truncated parts of this article, which regretfully does not completely reflect my thoughts at all. 

Through the kind offices of The Australian and some other Australian media outlets, I became a member of the CPC without even knowing it.

An "exclusive" news story published on The Australian's website in the middle of the night of December 13 leaked an alleged database, containing a list of 1.95 million CPC members, including me. 

The next day's follow-up report further disclosed that "(my) membership (to the Party) is reserved at CCP Working Committee for the Organ of the East China Normal University." The report then officiously enlightens readers saying, "reserved party membership occurs when a CCP member has left the country for more than six months, but can be restored when the member returns."

I have never joined the CPC. I have no Party membership for any CPC committee to reserve or to restore. Since late 1994, I have never stayed outside of China for over four consecutive months. 

I have been a member of a minor political party called the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party for three years. 

The sensational "revelation" of the purloined database that The Australian proclaimed to have verified is a list of names of staff for foreign diplomatic missions and international businesses employed through the Shanghai Foreign Agency Service Department. My name and alleged other personal details are on the list.

The simple fact is that I have been a member of the teaching faculty of East China Normal University since 1990, with employment contracts signed directly between me and the university. 

I do not need, nor am I allowed by the law, to be hired through an HR agency.


Sensationalist report stated the database was acquired by a dissident "risk(ing) their [sic] life to access it." The report also maintains that The Australian "independently obtain(ed) a more complete version of the same database from a confidential source."

With such cloak-and-dagger theatrics and "painstaking" verification, how could the most basic facts about me be so erroneous? Anyone with common sense would naturally cast serious doubt about the veracity of the rest of the information of that mysterious database.

The craze and ferocity of the fierce hunt for "the red witches" are now rampaging in Australia beyond belief. Even Chinese citizens in their own country are been questioned and suspected by McCarthyists for their political involvement and activities. 

Some members of the Australian government and parliament are chorusing for an investigation because CPC members have been employed by Australian foreign services and other organizations. Is the CPC regarded by Australia as an adversary political organization, so that members of the party should be suspected and treated as enemy agents?

Such a mind-set and acts are bullying by nature. The hunters for "reds under the bed" had better heed the kind advice by the sagacious Australian literary critic A. A.  Phillips who said "the opposite of the Cringe is not the Strut, but a relaxed erectness of carriage." 

The author is a professor and director of the Australian Studies Centre, East China Normal University.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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