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Silent Invasion: China's Influence In Australia

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In 2008 Clive Hamilton was at Parliament House in Canberra when the Beijing Olympic torch relay passed through. He watched in bewilderment as a small pro-Tibet protest was overrun by thousands of angry Chinese students. Where did they come from? Why were they so aggressive? And what gave them the right to shut down others exercising their democratic right to protest? The a In 2008 Clive Hamilton was at Parliament House in Canberra when the Beijing Olympic torch relay passed through. He watched in bewilderment as a small pro-Tibet protest was overrun by thousands of angry Chinese students. Where did they come from? Why were they so aggressive? And what gave them the right to shut down others exercising their democratic right to protest? The authorities did nothing about it, and what he saw stayed with him. In 2016 it was revealed that wealthy Chinese businessmen linked to the Chinese Communist Party had become the largest donors to both major political parties. Hamilton realised something big was happening, and decided to investigate the Chinese government’s influence in Australia. What he found shocked him.   From politics to culture, real estate to agriculture, universities to unions, and even in our primary schools, he uncovered compelling evidence of the Chinese Communist Party’s infiltration of Australia. Sophisticated influence operations target Australia’s elites, and parts of the large Chinese-Australian diaspora have been mobilised to buy access to politicians, limit academic freedom, intimidate critics, collect information for Chinese intelligence agencies, and protest in the streets against Australian government policy. It’s no exaggeration to say the Chinese Communist Party and Australian democracy are on a collision course. The CCP is determined to win, while Australia looks the other way. Thoroughly researched and powerfully argued, Silent Invasion is a sobering examination of the mounting threats to democratic freedoms Australians have for too long taken for granted. Yes, China is important to our economic prosperity; but, Hamilton asks, how much is our sovereignty as a nation worth? ‘Anyone keen to understand how China draws other countries into its sphere of influence should start with Silent Invasion. This is an important book for the future of Australia. But tug on the threads of China’s influence networks in Australia and its global network of influence operations starts to unravel.’ –Professor John Fitzgerald, author of Big White Lie: Chinese Australians in White Australia


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In 2008 Clive Hamilton was at Parliament House in Canberra when the Beijing Olympic torch relay passed through. He watched in bewilderment as a small pro-Tibet protest was overrun by thousands of angry Chinese students. Where did they come from? Why were they so aggressive? And what gave them the right to shut down others exercising their democratic right to protest? The a In 2008 Clive Hamilton was at Parliament House in Canberra when the Beijing Olympic torch relay passed through. He watched in bewilderment as a small pro-Tibet protest was overrun by thousands of angry Chinese students. Where did they come from? Why were they so aggressive? And what gave them the right to shut down others exercising their democratic right to protest? The authorities did nothing about it, and what he saw stayed with him. In 2016 it was revealed that wealthy Chinese businessmen linked to the Chinese Communist Party had become the largest donors to both major political parties. Hamilton realised something big was happening, and decided to investigate the Chinese government’s influence in Australia. What he found shocked him.   From politics to culture, real estate to agriculture, universities to unions, and even in our primary schools, he uncovered compelling evidence of the Chinese Communist Party’s infiltration of Australia. Sophisticated influence operations target Australia’s elites, and parts of the large Chinese-Australian diaspora have been mobilised to buy access to politicians, limit academic freedom, intimidate critics, collect information for Chinese intelligence agencies, and protest in the streets against Australian government policy. It’s no exaggeration to say the Chinese Communist Party and Australian democracy are on a collision course. The CCP is determined to win, while Australia looks the other way. Thoroughly researched and powerfully argued, Silent Invasion is a sobering examination of the mounting threats to democratic freedoms Australians have for too long taken for granted. Yes, China is important to our economic prosperity; but, Hamilton asks, how much is our sovereignty as a nation worth? ‘Anyone keen to understand how China draws other countries into its sphere of influence should start with Silent Invasion. This is an important book for the future of Australia. But tug on the threads of China’s influence networks in Australia and its global network of influence operations starts to unravel.’ –Professor John Fitzgerald, author of Big White Lie: Chinese Australians in White Australia

30 review for Silent Invasion: China's Influence In Australia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Locky

    When I was in primary school and aged about 11 (circa 2000), we would travel to Melbourne for school excursions to places like the zoo and the Holocaust museum (gotta gettem while they're young, right?). A game we used to play on the bus through parts of Melbourne as innocent kids was called 'spot the Aussie' - all you had to do was spot the Caucasian amongst the sea of Asians. There was no malice in the game, just kids being kids. As the years have rolled on, the subject of immigration to Austr When I was in primary school and aged about 11 (circa 2000), we would travel to Melbourne for school excursions to places like the zoo and the Holocaust museum (gotta gettem while they're young, right?). A game we used to play on the bus through parts of Melbourne as innocent kids was called 'spot the Aussie' - all you had to do was spot the Caucasian amongst the sea of Asians. There was no malice in the game, just kids being kids. As the years have rolled on, the subject of immigration to Australia has become a polarising one, particularly when it comes to the Chinese. Hamilton, in this dense and well researched book, does a great job in exposing how deep Chinese influence runs in Australia and just how lacking of a spine Australia's politicians are. Someone quotes in the book that 'money talks, and it speaks Mandarin' when it comes to politicians and people of influence within Australia. Silent Invasion deals with most of the problems that arise with the heavy amounts of Chinese immigration that are currently occurring - from Australian businesses being bought up, policies changing to reflect Beijing's, history revisionism by the Chinese (did you know that the Chinese actually discovered and colonised Australia in 1432 according to the Chinese Communist Party?!), the negative effect on the Australian housing market, communist infiltration into the intellectual academies, the degradation of Australia's defence system and basically how quickly and deeply those loyal to China first have become prominent in Australian society. This is a book that can almost be deemed tedious with how thoroughly it is researched, yet that makes it all the more important for Australians to read. Recommended to all Australians and those who want a clearer understanding of Chinese subversion tactics.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jxliu

    This is probably the best book I have ever read on contemporary China and its mission against our civilisation. Indisputably principled in political economy theories, it is unbiased, balanced, and comprehensive, demonstrating an unusual entirety of coverage of the issues Australia has to face against CCP China's aggression. It is a book of hope for those who love Australia and its values. It is also a book of fear for China and for those whom it is gracing. It may seem a tiny ripple at the momen This is probably the best book I have ever read on contemporary China and its mission against our civilisation. Indisputably principled in political economy theories, it is unbiased, balanced, and comprehensive, demonstrating an unusual entirety of coverage of the issues Australia has to face against CCP China's aggression. It is a book of hope for those who love Australia and its values. It is also a book of fear for China and for those whom it is gracing. It may seem a tiny ripple at the moment but will grow into a tsunami in the near future--let us give it 10 years. Caution: although this book is incredibly unpedantic and exceptionally accessible, some high school level economics training is required to appreciate its wit and wisdom.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marie Belcredi

    Having met Clive Hamilton, read his books and having a great respect for The Australia Institute, I was curious why he would stick his neck out and write a book so controversial that would make him open to being labelled a racist or anti-Chinese. Hamilton is a brave person who will speak out and he has in this well researched book. There is nothing in this book that is not supported by ample evidence. I read this book with one marker in the Notes and one book mark to my current page. Australian Having met Clive Hamilton, read his books and having a great respect for The Australia Institute, I was curious why he would stick his neck out and write a book so controversial that would make him open to being labelled a racist or anti-Chinese. Hamilton is a brave person who will speak out and he has in this well researched book. There is nothing in this book that is not supported by ample evidence. I read this book with one marker in the Notes and one book mark to my current page. Australian are shown to be naive, easily bought and have a short term outlook. The example of Andrew Robb comes up in the book. Andrew Robb was Australia's minister for Trade and Investment and was involved in negotiating trade deals with other countries including China. These deals, negotiated for Australians were, however, highly secret until they were a fait accompli . Why, I asked many times, are the people who will be affected by this, not allowed to know what is being agreed to? Funny! Less funny is that he then retired and went straight away to work for Landbridge, the current owners of the Port of Darwin. Obviously a conflict of interest issue but Robb got away with it. Other examples of politicians being bought. Sam Dastyari comes to mind. Hamilton takes the reader through many ways that the Chinese government is infiltrating our industries, buying up assets, farming lands and spying and stealing our IP, yet the average Australian either does not know or is scared of speaking out. Food for thought indeed and so glad Hamilton wrote this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tom Evans

    An alarming look at Beijing’s influence in Australia, particularly of geoeconomics, how any nation angering the Chinese government has been responded by swift and damaging sanctions. Most importantly it presents researched, factual findings, and is not a book riddled with sensationalism as I thought before reading it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    I was drawn to this book because of its author, Clive Hamilton, who had impressed me as the founder of the left-wing think tank, The Australia Institute. Knowing Hamilton's political persuasion made wanting to read this book all the more compelling. This book is no apology for China's poor record on human rights, or its positions on Taiwan and Tibet, but is an excoriating critique of this country's involvement and influence in every sector of Australian life: science and technology, defence, edu I was drawn to this book because of its author, Clive Hamilton, who had impressed me as the founder of the left-wing think tank, The Australia Institute. Knowing Hamilton's political persuasion made wanting to read this book all the more compelling. This book is no apology for China's poor record on human rights, or its positions on Taiwan and Tibet, but is an excoriating critique of this country's involvement and influence in every sector of Australian life: science and technology, defence, education, politics, and trade. He even demonstrates how China has attempted to rewrite Australia's history by inserting a Chinese presence in the First Fleet and its discovery of Australia before the Europeans, and how, to the dismay of other Asian countries, China has replaced the name of the Luna New Year with Chinese New Year in Australia. Meticulously researched and referenced as one would expect from a seasoned academic, this book is a wake-up call for all Australians to be aware of and to resist the insidious presence of China in all spheres of Australian social and political life. The only improvement to this book would have been a glossary of abbreviations of organisations eg CSSA, PLA which are all tentacles of that huge beast that is the CCP (Chinese Communist Party).

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

    I cannot recommend this book enough. A damming portrait of how the Chinese government is employing soft power to erode Australia’s sovereignty and make Australia a virtual tribute state to the new modern China. It is clear the CCP is determined to move heaven and earth to do this. Methods include intimidation, buying access to politicians, silencing critics in universities and schools, and buying up real estate and agricultural resources. I ultimately worry about the future of Australia in 20 ye I cannot recommend this book enough. A damming portrait of how the Chinese government is employing soft power to erode Australia’s sovereignty and make Australia a virtual tribute state to the new modern China. It is clear the CCP is determined to move heaven and earth to do this. Methods include intimidation, buying access to politicians, silencing critics in universities and schools, and buying up real estate and agricultural resources. I ultimately worry about the future of Australia in 20 years or so.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Simon Robinson

    Essential reading for any Australian wishing to be politically aware, especially considering that the Chinese Communist Party repeatedly attempted to thwart its publication for the truth contained therein. After witnessing thousands of Chinese students aggressively overtake a small protest by Tibetans in front our Canberra Parliament during the 2008 Olympic torch relay, and the complete lack of media coverage of same, Hamilton was left gobsmacked, and subsequently driven to investigate how and w Essential reading for any Australian wishing to be politically aware, especially considering that the Chinese Communist Party repeatedly attempted to thwart its publication for the truth contained therein. After witnessing thousands of Chinese students aggressively overtake a small protest by Tibetans in front our Canberra Parliament during the 2008 Olympic torch relay, and the complete lack of media coverage of same, Hamilton was left gobsmacked, and subsequently driven to investigate how and why such a thing could happen. Where did so many pro CCP people come from? Why were they so angry and determined? Why was there no media coverage or police response? His work systematically outlines how the CCP is using soft power, money, economic addiction and the race card to undermine our democracy and turn it to its own purposes. Recent headlines clearly serve to drive home his points. Hamilton's main aim is raising awareness. He offers no solution - that's up to us. Although he concludes that Aussie naivety and complacency are Beijing's strongest assets in their silent invasion.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Torsi

    If you were going to write about China's political and economic influence on another country, you would want to get your facts straight and that is what Hamilton sets out to do. Every claim is meticulously referenced so much so that the book becomes a list of well documented facts and as such is not a particularly satisfying read. What it does do well is offers a deeply unsettling and detailed train of evidence of China's 'One hundred year' strategy and Australia's part in ensuring global superi If you were going to write about China's political and economic influence on another country, you would want to get your facts straight and that is what Hamilton sets out to do. Every claim is meticulously referenced so much so that the book becomes a list of well documented facts and as such is not a particularly satisfying read. What it does do well is offers a deeply unsettling and detailed train of evidence of China's 'One hundred year' strategy and Australia's part in ensuring global superiority by 2050. What I learnt: Australia is stuck between a rock (America) and a hard place (China) being strategically important to both and could very easily get caught in the cross-fire if global and regional instability grows.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Peter Franklin

    A very interesting book that raises many worrying things that are happening in Australia. Several of the episodes are publicly known but much more is not and politicians and the media are mostly quiet about the situation.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    This is a very frustrating book. Clive Hamilton discusses some very serious issues about China's relationship with Australia, issues that need to be discussed and addressed. But he undercuts his argument with rather tiresome name-calling (anyone who would take a different view to him is a member of the "China lobby", a "dupe", an "apologist" and so on) and other tropes that reek of the harangue, including the unsourced ascription of motivation to people who do or say things with which he disagre This is a very frustrating book. Clive Hamilton discusses some very serious issues about China's relationship with Australia, issues that need to be discussed and addressed. But he undercuts his argument with rather tiresome name-calling (anyone who would take a different view to him is a member of the "China lobby", a "dupe", an "apologist" and so on) and other tropes that reek of the harangue, including the unsourced ascription of motivation to people who do or say things with which he disagrees. He also makes the occasional but telling error of fact, judgement or interpretation due to his reliance on interpreters and informants for understanding aspects of Chinese culture, society and politics. His interpretation of the song 'Descendants of the Dragon' (also called 'Heirs of the Dragon') by Hou Dejian is a perfect example of this; my book The Monkey and the Dragon, about Hou Dejian, tells the fascinating and complex story of this song, which is far from the ethno-nationalistic propaganda Hamilton assumes it to be, although it has certainly been used that way; he is seemingly unaware that it was sung on Tiananmen Square in 1989 by students and by Hou, who changed the line that Hamilton quotes, and banned for years. Is this important? It's a small detail, but it's one that illustrates the flaws in the book, which tends to trample on nuance in its rush to hammer home its argument.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Farr

    A phenomenal, well-researched account of the rising influence of the Peoples Republic of China upon Australia. The book explores the entangled web that the Communist Party has spun across Australia's cultural institutions, former and current leaders, universities, media and the CSIRO. Excellent book - 5 stars.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jaanus Tamm

    It gives good overview and lots of examples how communist party runs china foreign policy and foreign investments to other countries. Handbook of behaviour what to expect in Europe soon (or already happenening). Shows how much China influence has been increased in Asia and how countries consider to hedge declining US power there.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lorelle

    The book is a Must Read for all Australians. Well researched, well written, if this isn't a wake up call for politicians, universities, the Defence Force and media then I don't know what is.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Must read. Australian elites have let the country down - either greed or denial/ignorance.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sarah King

    A very interesting insight into the influence that the CCP has over its citizens and how it is trying to influence the two nations that are weakened (Australia and New Zealand) by geography. It is also interesting the narrative the CCP is trying to force onto the Australian population. There was an interesting comment made about that Chinese students take the slightest offence at something and think its an attack on the motherland and it can whip up a 'jingoistic fervour' in them. As well as how A very interesting insight into the influence that the CCP has over its citizens and how it is trying to influence the two nations that are weakened (Australia and New Zealand) by geography. It is also interesting the narrative the CCP is trying to force onto the Australian population. There was an interesting comment made about that Chinese students take the slightest offence at something and think its an attack on the motherland and it can whip up a 'jingoistic fervour' in them. As well as how fast Chinese students can be mobilised for the state or how fast they can be punished for comments made against the CCP. Another point is how easily Australian politicians can be quick to accept money from donors for comments and a pro-Beijing point, an interesting point to be on the lookout for in the future.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Woo

    This book is a hair-raiser. The author did a good job investigating and reporting the infiltration from China to Australia. The original publishing company withdrew to publish this book is very telling that the influence of China is very strong. The freedom of speech in Australia is being sabotaged.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Joe Callingham

    I was driven to read this novel on the back of the reports that various publishers were refusing to publish the novel out of (alleged) fear of a back lash from Beijing. It is definitely one of the most politically contentious novels I have read but it covers an area that many Australians are afraid to explore due to the threat of being called a racist. Clive Hamilton does a comprehensive job in analysing the reach of the Chinese state into Australian domestic matters. While some of the revelatio I was driven to read this novel on the back of the reports that various publishers were refusing to publish the novel out of (alleged) fear of a back lash from Beijing. It is definitely one of the most politically contentious novels I have read but it covers an area that many Australians are afraid to explore due to the threat of being called a racist. Clive Hamilton does a comprehensive job in analysing the reach of the Chinese state into Australian domestic matters. While some of the revelations in the novel are shocking, there is a fair bit of hearsay (rather than documented evidence) used to support those claims. Independent of some of the scrappy lines of evidence and borderline racist commentary, it is clear that the reach of Chinese state in Australia goes from the grass root Chinese communities all the way to academia and the political parties. Beijing is not just content to set up these networks, since it sees Australia as part of its sphere of influence, but is actively exploiting it to pursue their own usually obscured geopolitical aspirations. Although, I do not think such a finding is unsurprising. As a middle power, influence by a superpower (such as the US or the UK) in domestic affairs has been part and parcel of Australian history (Petrov affair anyone?). However, what is fundamentally different now is the socio-political reality of China means its influence is often diametrically opposed to some the basic rights Australians see as integral to their society. This means that the influence that Beijing can wield internally in Australia has the potential to shake the structures that are fundamental to democracy and our perceived freedoms, in a way that have never occurred with the US or UK. Therefore, while rough around the edges, the message of "Silent Invasion" is clear - Australians have to be weary of courting the favour (mostly in the form of money) of China at the expense of our values and freedoms.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Diana Reynolds

    This is an absolute gobsmacker of a book and one every Australian should read. It lifts the lid on so much that has been going on with the elites of Australia - polititians, leaders of industry, the education sector and beyond. We mere mortals, the general public have been conned with slogans and moral imperatives, given snippets and edited truths about what is really going on and has been for the last 50 years! Meanwhile our country's sovereignty continues to be bartered under our noses to fore This is an absolute gobsmacker of a book and one every Australian should read. It lifts the lid on so much that has been going on with the elites of Australia - polititians, leaders of industry, the education sector and beyond. We mere mortals, the general public have been conned with slogans and moral imperatives, given snippets and edited truths about what is really going on and has been for the last 50 years! Meanwhile our country's sovereignty continues to be bartered under our noses to foreign powers with a massive hidden agenda. Written in neither left or right political speak, 'Silent Invasion' spares neither party but gives a well reseached perspective that the powerful would prefer we don't know about.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ding Lingwei

    CCP uses trade as the lure to Australia, while 100% Chines corporations dont have any right or courage to violate government, and most of the big corporation have governmental background, for example, the grandfather of Meng Wanzhou is a vice-governor of Sichuan province, Xi Jinping is the brother in law of Li Shufu, the chairman of Geely. What's more, sometimes the oversea Chinese have to obey the command from Beijing such as argue for the fame of CCP, monitor the abroad Chinese. Of course, the CCP uses trade as the lure to Australia, while 100% Chines corporations dont have any right or courage to violate government, and most of the big corporation have governmental background, for example, the grandfather of Meng Wanzhou is a vice-governor of Sichuan province, Xi Jinping is the brother in law of Li Shufu, the chairman of Geely. What's more, sometimes the oversea Chinese have to obey the command from Beijing such as argue for the fame of CCP, monitor the abroad Chinese. Of course, they may do it willingly if they are brainwashed to be a "little pink".

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ian Macintosh

    This is a fact-heavy book (with detailed source references), which sets out an argument for why Australia should be more vigilant with regards the potential for China to influence Australia. It is a compelling read, though a little repetitive at times. The structure is neither chronological nor clearly aligned to chapter headings. Recommended for those who are interested in this topic, as well as those who have not yet studied the topic.

  21. 5 out of 5

    PeterBlackCoach

    Good insight into how China's soft power and diplomacy is being deployed into Australian institutions and power structures. A controversial book as some publishers refused to publish it which was why it was interesting to read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ray Li

    Great insight into how some of the apparent benign actions of big Chinese powerhouses **can** have some more sinister side effects on the Australian lifestyle and culture. Some political bias but definitely worth a read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Mayweather

    Well researched and important work, but often appears to jump on the "Has a Chinese name, could work for China" angle a little too easily. I have plenty of Chinese friends, with very Chinese names, who would never work for the Communist Party no matter their threats. Read with a grain of salt.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zhang Tao

    An interesting book about how China uses its money to influence Australia which covers students, Chinese community, and politicians.

  25. 4 out of 5

    James Edward Hansen

    This is a very disturbing book. Aussies are far too naive and complacent for their own good, and are very poorly led. Wake up, lest you lose your country and not even know what happened.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dan Henri

    I hate-read/skimmed this and it sucks bad. Just absolute garbage race-essentialism and eugenics. Hamilton literally proposes banning citizenship for Chinese people based on their political beliefs. The fact that this was taken so seriously by the media and the federal government really speaks to how dog-shit they are.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    Interesting. I guess you really want to be clear about the all encompassing references to the ‘Chinese’ in this book; the author does emphasize he was concerned about the Chinese Communist Party’s strategies, and not so much the Chinese people. You don’t want racial prejudice erupting and damaging people. It is ok to look at one countries strategies to get ahead and critically consider these. All countries are vying for power and to further expand their own interests. Hamilton is a bit more urge Interesting. I guess you really want to be clear about the all encompassing references to the ‘Chinese’ in this book; the author does emphasize he was concerned about the Chinese Communist Party’s strategies, and not so much the Chinese people. You don’t want racial prejudice erupting and damaging people. It is ok to look at one countries strategies to get ahead and critically consider these. All countries are vying for power and to further expand their own interests. Hamilton is a bit more urgent about China’s strategies, feels we’ve been bought and conned, wined and dined. And infiltrated. I don’t know. Certainly I can agree that Australia should not be taking foreign donations. Political party members should not be receiving donations from any group really as they all try to buy influence. Any donations should be fully declared and scrutinized from small to large amounts to see there is no corruption occurring. I used to think Australia wasn’t corrupt.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Duncan Smith

    A very disturbing book. Australia is being duped thanks to a combination of chronic naivety and poor decisions driven by short term financial gain. As a former fan of Hawke and Keating, I was taken aback to hear of their part in enabling this, along with several other prominent public figures. This book is almost mind blowing at times, and the long term implications are not good. Unbelievable.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    Eye-opening. Deeply disturbing, and quite scary.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gary Morris

    Very interesting book with a lot to consider. One of the reason I read it was due to the efforts in trying not to publish it. A bit of a wake up call before we sell off the farm. Free Tibet!

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