Australia is one of only three Western countries that has an extradition treaty with China. It’s not yet in force because no government for the last ten years has got the votes to ratify it.
And here’s why.
Professor Feng is a respected Chinese academic who’s been teaching at Australian universities for the last twenty years. His wife and daughter are Australian citizens. Last month he went on a work trip to China, but when he tried to leave his passport was confiscated and he was hauled off to an interrogation room.
His crime? Expressing support for human rights, on a human rights project part-funded by Australia.
Commenting on the case, Rory Medcalf, head of the ANU’s National Security College, said:
“Unfortunately a signal of intimidation has been sent to Chinese Australians not to criticise the Communist party interference in Australian domestic affairs.”
So why do our governments keep trying to get this extradition treaty signed off? It was brought before Parliament again last week, to coincide with an official visit from a Chinese delegation. Fortunately, the government pulled it at the last minute when 11 Liberal politicians refused to back it.
The group of 11 included James Paterson, Andrew Hastie, Sarah Henderson, Eric Abetz, Kevin Andrews, Jonathon Duniam, Trent Zimmerman, Tim Wilson, Dean Smith, David Fawcett and Chris Back.
Well done them for taking on their party and standing up for Australian values. But can we have some consistency? If the Chinese Government is too dodgy for an extradition treaty, why we are we so happy for them to control key parts of our national infrastructure? This includes iconic farms that are essential to our food security, power utilities, airports, even water treatment plants.
Or take Newcastle Port – the world’s biggest coal export terminal and a unique national asset.
Yancoal, a miner controlled by the Chinese government, is currently in talks to buy a major stake in Newcastle Port. If the deal happens, this would give China significant control over all aspects of the port’s operations and massive leverage over our most important export industry.
It’s time we said no. Our government has to start standing up to this authoritarian one-party state. If we don’t there will be nothing left for our grandchildren.
Sign up for the latest news