By Andrew Bolt ~
Chinese Australians have played little active part in politics. But once they flex their muscle we may have yet more reason to worry about the tribalisation of Australia – how mass immigration and the multicultural project divided us into tribes pledging loyalty to their own “race”, faith or country of origin.
As Malcolm Turnbull prepares to embark on his first official visit to China as prime minister, some 60 Chinese community leaders in Australia gathered in Sydney urging him to watch his words when discussing the South China Sea in Beijing.
Unfurling a large red banner declaring the need to “Firmly Safeguard the Sovereign Rights of China in the South China Sea”, the forum was organised by the overseas Chinese patriotic association Australian Action Committee for Peace and Justice.
“Australia’s political elite should have a clear understanding,” the committee’s chair Lin Bin said at the Saturday meeting. “[They] ought to talk and act carefully on the sensitive issue on the South China Sea, and not make ‘irrational’ or incorrect signals to the international community.”
The rhetoric of freedom of navigation, freedom of overflight, international arbitration, changing the status quo and “militarisation” of the South China Sea, it said, were all mere buzzwords utilised by the United States as part of its strategic pivot back to the Asia-Pacific – “naked hegemonic behaviour” aimed at containing China’s rise.
What were previously fringe nationalistic and patriotic Chinese associations in Australia are now emboldened in the search for greater domestic political influence with the implicit backing of a rising China and its increasingly assertive foreign policy.
This is not quite the first sign of this new force. In 2008 the Chinese embassy bussed thousands of Chinese protesters to the Beijing Olympics torch relay here to confront anti-Chinese protesters.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.