Author Clive Hamilton has launched a Chinese-language edition of his controversial book Silent Invasion to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
- The book explores Chinese influence in Australia
- It has been strongly criticised by the Chinese Government
- It is already selling well online in Hong Kong
The move is likely to infuriate the Chinese Government that last year issued a strident critique of the English-language version, describing it as “slander” and “good for nothing”.
The book explores Chinese influence in Australia and claims the Chinese Communist Party is engaged in a systematic effort to erode Australian democracy and exert control over the expatriate Chinese community.
“It’s a poignant time to launch the Chinese-language edition,” said Professor Hamilton, referring to the sensitive anniversary of the Chinese Government’s bloody crackdown on student protesters in Beijing on June 4, 1989.
The Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University in Canberra said Chinese-speaking people all over the world would now be able to access his work.
“It means a great deal to me that people whose English isn’t so good can read the book,” he said.
Professor Hamilton said there was demand for his book in Taiwan and in the broader Chinese diaspora.
“I doubt that a bookseller in Hong Kong would stock this book,” he said.
“I think it would be a dangerous thing to do.”
But according to his publisher, the book is already selling well online in Hong Kong.
And despite the risks, he envisages there will soon be a thriving black market for the Chinese-language version in China itself.
‘It’s going to be a big threat’
The Sydney launch was organised by the Australian Values Alliance, an Australian pro-democracy group condemned by Beijing as being “anti-China”.
“Chinese-speaking people, they also need to know how bad the communists are and don’t be fooled by their propaganda,” spokesman John Hugh said.
Mr Hugh said despite China’s outspoken attack on the English-language version, Beijing would be much more concerned by the book’s release in Chinese.
“Not many Chinese people can read in English, so it’s not a big threat to mainland China,” he said.
“But the Chinese version, it’s going to be a big threat.
“Mainland Chinese, a lot of them have the habit when they go to Hong Kong and Taiwan, they look for those books and quietly smuggle those books back to China.”
Professor Hamilton said since his book was first released, there had been an “awakening” to the issue, with the Chinese company Huawei being banned from building sensitive telecommunications networks both here and overseas.
But he said China’s Communist Party had “shifted its tactics in Australia”.
“We shouldn’t forget it has many friends and supporters and agents of influence in this country and they are not defeated by a long margin.”
He challenged China’s recent defence of the Tiananmen Square crackdown after Defence Minister Wei Fenghe said it had been the “correct” decision and was justified by the economic stability that followed.
“It is never the correct policy to massacre innocent citizens protesting for freedom of speech and democracy,” Professor Hamilton said.
“All that the public statements reveal is how brutal and insecure the Chinese Communist Party Government is.”
The Chinese Embassy in Canberra has been contacted for comment.