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China: International Relations and Responsibilities


I begin my remarks by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we are holding this meeting, the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation and I pay my respects to their Elders, past, present, and emerging. I also acknowledge we are occupying land stolen from them and that their sovereignty was never and will never be ceded.

Before diving in, a little about me.

My name is Anthony Leong. My family has had a long history with China, the Republic and then the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and fighting Japanese aggression. My family has had generational links with one of the oldest Chinese organisations in Australia, the See Yup (4 Districts) Society, as well as being inaugural members of the Australia-China Friendship Society (ACFS) some 70 years ago. As President of the ACFS Victorian Branch, I see our role as non-political and certainly not as a mouthpiece for the Chinese government.

I also have a further role as Secretary-General for the Pacific-China Friendship Association (PCFA), with membership being countries rather than individuals. In that position, I have also edited a facts and figures manual on China written by PCFA President Dr Hiria (Peter) Ottino.

Basic Facts About China

China is a big place – 1.44BN inhabitants, 61.4% urbanised, c55 ethnic minorities, Median age 38.4 yrs, median life expectancy 76.31 yrs, 9,596,960 sq. km, roughly 27% water, , GDP USD 25.56TN, and surrounded by over 100 foreign military bases.

Briefly, the Communist Party of China (CPC) was founded 1921, led by Chairman Mao Zedong, the Long March across China by the Communist Army occurred in 1935. The Liberation of China from the Japanese invaders and the Nationalist collaborators occurred in 1948, the declaration of the People’s Republic of China and Land Reform and Redistribution was in 1949 and rural reform into collectives was initiated in 1953. The tragic, failed “Great Leap Forward” was effected in 1958, and The Gang of Four's Cultural Revolution began in 1966. US President Richard Nixon visited China in 1972, recognising the People’s government and the "1-China Policy", and Australia officially recognised China in December 1972 with Gough Whitlam as PM.

It is important to point out that China is not the CPC, but the people. The Chinese people have a different mindset to Westerners, especially when it comes to common goals and the common weal. The West is into individualism overshadowing the collective, but in many older cultures, including the Chinese, while the family unit is strong, it is the community which is paramount. Thus, Chinese thinking is not wrong, but different, hence “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics”.

Economically, China has elected to embrace the concept of “Gradualism”, not economic “shock therapy”, as was suggested to the former USSR by both the World Bank and the USA, instantly causing the Russian economy to tank.

China thus is opening to market forces, but in a controlled, integrated manner, where the established, strong economy is not weakened by a shock change in direction. They will arrive at an amalgamated Socialist/market economy by increments, whilst maintaining the levers and economic mechanisms controlled by government oversight.

Finally, we turn to the West’s xenophobia. Importantly, my sources are from the West, not China, thus breaking one of the most important rules of using primary sources! Most scholars seek primary sources for truthful, contemporaneous accounts. However, the West has so sown seeds of xenophobic mistrust and denigration of Chinese sources, that in order to not be dismissed as fanciful, I have relied on Western sources to back Chinese reporting – I have to prove the positive by citing the negative!

Ten Issues in Western Minds

1. Russia & Ukraine
2. Taiwan
3. Uighur and Xinjiang
4. COVID-19
5. Tibet
6. Hong Kong (HK)
7. S China Sea
8. African & Pacific Debt Traps
9. Belt & Road Initiative (BRI)

1. Russia & Ukraine:

There’s an old saying, “Admonish friends in private, praise them in public”. China has not publicly criticised or praised Russia either. By not entering into commentary, China has acted as promised and remained neutral as an honest, impartial broker. As can be seen now by the West and contrary to their constant assertions, China has neither encouraged Russia, nor given substantial aid.

2. Taiwan:

From Gough Whitlam and Richard Nixon in 1972, the “1-China Policy” was adopted worldwide. The push for Taiwan secession only came when fleeing members of the Kuomintang (KMT), led by collaborator Chiang Kaishek, took control of the island and vowed to regain the Mainland.

America and their allies keep Taiwan supplied with military hardware and bases, with frequent visits from the US military. With potentially hostile forces a mere 161km offshore, it is little wonder China feels threatened or at least under surveillance from unfriendly forces.

Taiwan is as much a part of China as Tasmania is part of Australia. Anyone thinking of pushing Tasmania to secede would be classified as an enemy of Australia (or plain mad). The analogy is much the same with Taiwan, since Taiwan is not a nation either.

3. Uighur & Xinjiang:

After the outcry following the publication of the Charlie Hebdo cartoon lampooning the Prophet Mohammed, why have there been no Muslim country protests at the alleged treatment of their Muslim sisters & brothers in so-called ‘concentration camps’? Logic would dictate that alleged outrages against followers of Islam and trampling of their rights would cause fury around the Muslim world. This has not happened, not with China’s closest Muslim neighbours Pakistan and Indonesia, not with fundamentalists in the Middle-East. Economic sanctions and penalties would not prevent someone surely from speaking out in defence of their brethren?

The only reason is the most obvious – China has corralled radicalised Muslim extremists and those who are in danger of being radicalised and is carrying out a de-radicalisation and re-education program. This is similar to what the West is attempting, but on a larger scale because simply there are more people.

China simply could no longer afford the mayhem and murder (literally) carried out by separatist extremists bent on destruction and disruption. Many hundreds of innocent citizens were maimed or murdered by knife-wielding terrorists or blown up by improvised explosive devices. By cracking down on these radicalised and violent terrorists, and by educating others, the attacks have practically stopped. All governments have a responsibility for the safety of their citizens and China is no different.

Turning to other aspects of criticism of China’s treatment of the Uighur people, why did the West use photos from 2018 to ‘prove’ their claims of ‘concentration camps’, when a year later, the compound was proved (via US satellite images) to be a primary school, and the barbed wire and surrounding walls had been removed? In other words, the school was under construction in 2018, then opened and security construction walls removed. Further, why were the Uighur exempt from the “1-Child Policy” and in fact almost doubled their population of children, if genocide were the objective?

The Western world has relied on one person for advice regarding treatment of the Uighur, Adrian Zenz, who has no working knowledge of Chinese or indeed first-hand familiarity with the Uighur. Similarly, his “Uighur Scholars Group” has nobody with in-depth Uighur expertise or contact.

There is another so-called expert body on whom the West relies: The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), also an allegedly independent think-tank. The minor detail always omitted is that the Institute is funded by several US military-industrial complex manufacturers, namely Lockheed-Martin, Rafael Missiles, Boeing, BAE, Thales, Microsoft, and Oracle, as well as Australian Federal Government Defence and other Departments. This hardly counts as independent by any measure.

4. COVID 19:

In April 2020 I compiled a table comparing China’s COVID-19 timeline from Boxing Day 2019 with Western sources, to see areas of disagreement and where the alleged Chinese “coverup” occurred between the Wuhan discovery of the virus to when the world was alerted.

To my surprise, there have been many under-reported events which were never explained by the West, including the outbreak of the virus in February 2020 on two US navy vessels (USS Reagan and Roosevelt) which had not been anywhere near China, one case in norther Italy in October 2019 and one in France around the same time, a full 2 months before Wuhan was engulfed. Further, it was determined posthumously that several US military personnel taking part in the Military Games in Wuhan around September 2019, had died from COVID and not pneumonia as first surmised.

In summary, the discovery of an anomalous ‘pneumonia’ in Wuhan was Boxing Day 2019, confirmation it was a “novel” coronavirus was on December 30, and China alerted the WHO and the world on January 12. All told, from an anomaly to a confirmation of a novel virus, it took scientists 3 weeks, during which time Chinese scientists had mapped the virus genome and distributed that mapping as well. It took one week to realise this was totally abnormal, then a mere fortnight to map the genome and release the information to the world. Hardly a cover-up, seeing the West did nothing for another 2 months.

Finally, a word about the virus leaking or being released from the secure laboratory in Wuhan. Despite the desperate efforts of a crazed media, most Western scientists believe the virus could not have been manufactured and released from anywhere. The scientific analysis of the virus’ now-familiar spikes could not be made by humans without certain ‘trademarks’ of intervention.

5. Tibet:

For almost 700 years, China and Tibet have had a difficult and often treacherous relationship. Dynasties of Emperors and Dalai Lamas have fought, made treaties, and even cooperated. Nevertheless, Tibet has always had a theocratic ruling class, often in conjunction with emissaries from Beijing. Being feudal with a rigid class system, Tibet institutionalised exceptionally cruel control over the inhabitants to maintain power: slavery, indentured labour and servitude were rife. Peasants and serfs were chained and often their children were born into forced labour or sold/gifted to the Potala Palace. Little was off-limits and tragically, paedophilia was rife amongst the priests.

As part of the emancipation of China and its people, China moved to rid Tibet of these ancient and disgraceful practices. This of course was met with opposition by the very people who benefitted from these socially abhorrent practices, and of course this has morphed today into a so-called uprising, really spurred by an entitled priest class wanting to wrest back control. In the meantime, China has established a Tibetan university*, school*, housing, welfare, and a social security infrastructure. While other Chinese have moved into Tibet to bolster the economy and build civil structures, the notion of genocide (cultural or actual) is hard to fathom.

*These are mandated bi-lingual & established by the Chinese – prior to then, there were no public schools and illiteracy was almost 100% of the working population.

6. Hong Kong:

Great Britain had a notorious reputation for gunboat diplomacy and enforcing their will by way of force or sometimes piracy (e.g., Sir Francis Drake). They would create or use entities to plunder resources from the countries they colonised (East India Company, Swire Group) and China was ripe for the picking: the Opium trade.

When outraged Chinese fought back against the corrupt trade, the British with superior fire power killed the protestors and sought reparation for “damages”, one such prize being the ceding of Hong Kong to the British for 99 years. During their occupation, they held the island with an iron fist, with white power and control being endemic (which I witnessed first-hand). Even when forced to return Hong Kong in 1997, it was done grudgingly and with ill-grace, especially on the part of the departing English Governor of Hong Kong, Christopher Patton.

China gave a concession to the people of Hong Kong that for 50 years, there would be a “1 country, 2 systems” policy in place. Basically, this means Hong Kong would function almost autonomously, as do the states and territories in Australia. However, Foreign Affairs is always a central government role, not State, as is the security of the country and other matters involving common, national interests.

The riots in Hong Kong were complex in character, as they covered British rule and reversion, internal Hong Kong destabilisation, anti-PRC agitation, pro-Western regime change and a smattering of anarchists who just wanted to smash things. It would take too long to analyse this here, suffice to say that China did not bring in troops or PLA riot squads, and did not intervene. It was the HK government which dealt with the rioters and eventually quelled the disturbances after many weeks of total chaos and damage.

7. South China Sea:

The Spratley group of islands has been the subject of numerous nations for several hundreds of years but has been used by China for fishing and navigation through to the Pacific. The ruling by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) failed to note China and other claimants preferred territorial negotiations and in fact a peaceful sharing has already been mooted by several interested parties.

Further, as China is ringed by over 80 bases and hostile military sites, China’s placing of installations on this atoll is defensive, not expansionary and in no way has inhibited passage, trade or even provocative Western military exercises.

8. African and Pacific Debt Traps:

The Wall Street Journal in February 2019 posited that “the real political purpose” of China’s deals “isn’t a debt trap but building goodwill and high-level relationships.”  Similarly, the New York Times said in 2019 that "the idea that the Chinese government is doling out debt strategically for its benefit, isn’t supported by the facts".

China’s track record with loans worldwide is consistent: failure to pay, or pay the full amount due to inability, results in the debt being extended, re-negotiated, or forgiven. It is China’s pattern of behaviour over decades which point to this being common practice. To suggest otherwise is being mischievous or dishonest.

9. Belt and Road Initiative:

In 2014, Xi Jinping set out a basic tenet for economic development around the policy of “Green, Renewable, Cyclical”. The Belt and Road Initiative has many complex benefits to emerging and established nations and entities. The BRI helps emerging nations with infrastructure and growth with green initiatives. For established states and nations, the initiative means easier exchange of goods and services, preferred status in other exchanges and importantly, friendly cooperation in matters of mutual interest.

However, the BRI has other advantages too:

* Sharing of new research and scientific breakthroughs such as fusion research for continuous, safe power,
* Provision of scholarships to students wishing to broaden their knowledge, either of China and its culture, or specific research, such as the annual aquaculture scholarships given by the Shanghai Ocean University’
* Sending technical experts to developing nations to teach and provide equipment as necessary and
* Providing humanitarian aid in the form of food, shelters, medicines/vaccines, mobile hospitals.

Thus, the BRI is an international bridge for communication and exchange which circles the globe, inviting dialogue, understanding, and where needed, material help. It breaks the strangle-hold of Western values and universal control, giving smaller, less powerful nations an option to choose their own future.


ACFS – Australia-China Friendship Society
ASPI – the Australian Strategic Policy Institute
BRI – the Belt and Road Initiative
CPC – Communist Party of China
GDP – Gross Domestic Product
PCFA – Pacific-China Friendship Association
PLA – People’s Liberation Army – China’s military
PRC – People’s Republic of China

Presentation to the 2022 Isocracy Network, Inc., Annual General Meeting by Anthony Leong, Secretary-General of the Pacific-China Friendship Society

Great Wall of China image by Wikipedia user Severin.stalder, CC