Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times (環球時報) yesterday accused Australia of spying on China and stealing its technology, weeks after Beijing rejected allegations of interference in Australian politics.
An employee of China’s national security department told the paper that Australian intelligence agents “in disguise” collect information from Chinese overseas or “even encourage them to subvert China.”
Agents also closely monitor Chinese and the embassy in Australia to foil “Chinese spy threats,” the newspaper said on its front page.
“In global covert struggles, Australia had never played the role of victim,” the unidentified employee was quoted as saying. “However, they are wantonly working on intelligence about China and groundlessly accusing China of spying on them. The logic is ridiculous.”
The Australian government did not immediately respond to the allegations.
The article follows an Australian media report this month that the nation’s intelligence agencies had major concerns China was interfering in Australian institutions and using political donations to gain access.
An investigation by Australian Broadcasting Corp and Fairfax Media found the country’s political elite had been warned two years ago about taking donations from two billionaires with links to the Chinese Communist Party, but, despite being cautioned by the nation’s spy agency, both the Liberal and Labor parties continued accepting substantial sums of cash.
The probe showed that property developers Huang Xiangmo (黃向墨) and Chau Chak Wing (周澤榮), or their associates, had donated about AUS$6.7 million (US$5.1 million) to political parties over a decade.
Following the report, Canberra announced it had launched an inquiry into espionage laws and foreign government interference.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called the reports “totally groundless” and said Australian media should not “waste their time on such meaningless and malicious” stories.
The Global Times article said many Chinese have been interviewed or harassed by Australian intelligence and are required to provide information on Chinese communities and the embassy.
Some have been sent back to China to “gather information,” the report said, adding that Australia was “stealing Chinese technology” and installing listening devices in the Chinese embassy.
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