Penetrating Chinese-language media? Australian think tank ASPI 'suffers from victim delusion'

By Xu Yelu and Cao Siqi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/18 1:03:03

Photo taken on June 23, 2020 shows the logo of Australian Strategic Policy Institute in an office building, in Canberra, Australia. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese experts on Thursday slammed the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) for its old trick of defaming China and the Communist Party of China (CPC) in a report that accuses the CPC of manipulating Chinese-language media in Australia.

The ASPI report offered no solid evidence of its accusations, said Chinese experts, adding the institute is suffering from delusions of victimhood and its ideological bias motivates its demonizing of the CPC. 

The report, entitled The influence environment, claimed four of the 24 Australian media companies studied show evidence of CPC ownership or financial support. The four companies have been involved in a range of concerning activity, including suspected political interference.

"Like previous China-related reports issued by the ASPI, this paper has no credibility at all. The so-called evidence is just groundless speculation to meet personal interests and a political end," Chen Hong, director of the Australian Studies Center at East China Normal University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"The news services they provide, either through official WeChat account or websites, are in accordance with the law," Chen noted. "Most of the media companies mentioned are registered in Australia and they are legally entitled to build websites."

Global Times research on the companies mentioned in the report, shows the Media Today Group, which is best known for its website Sydney Today, covers all areas of life in Australia, including visa applications, real estate information, and discount shopping, making it the largest classified information platform in Australia. The website also presents exclusive video interviews with a number of Australian ministers, including former prime ministers, cabinet ministers and state governors. Many Chinese and Australian politicians have written columns on the company's news app.

Nan Hai Culture and Media Group, which was also mentioned in ASPI report is wholly  owned by Australia‑based individuals. The Nan Hai Culture and Media Group said it serves the Chinese community in Australia with positive interact to local mainstream companies and business partners. In addition to providing high quality service content of Chinese news and life information, the company also provides a full range of branding services to develop Australia-China business and cultural exchange activities in the country. 

Chinese media outlets have been established around the world where they are popular information resource centers. is a Canada-based Chinese information website, which is a popular news platform that provide news, discussion groups and blogs. BackChina is another popular US-based Chinese news website that provides information and news for Chinese readers in the US.

Chinese Foreign Minister Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at Thursday's press briefing that ASPI report is yet another example of how it serves as an anti-China tool, and there is no evidence to support the allegations mentioned in the report. 

The various reports ASPI churns out, however fancy, will not change its nature as rumor-maker, said Wang. It's hoped that the Australian people and the international community will distinguish right from wrong and jointly denounce the retrogressive actions of anti-China organizations such as ASPI, Wang said.

China's Foreign Ministry has described the ASPI as "not independent or scientific" because the institution has received funding from the US government and weapons makers and makes its living by publishing fake news critical of China and is not widely respected in Australia.

APAC News, a Sydney-based news outlet, reported on October 12 that at least 11 financial backers of ASPI "have either directly or indirectly been involved in prisons and the use of prison labor and/or implicated in human trafficking."  Among them, four major long-term financial backers - BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon - have relied on prison labor to build components used in their military hardware, according to the APAC report. 

US-based news outlet, the Grayzone, also revealed that ASPI is a "right-wing, militaristic think tank funded by the US and Western governments, mega-corporations and an eye-popping array of weapons manufacturers", including Raytheon Australia, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, MBDA Missile Systems, Saab AB and Thales.

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