12 May 2022

Pandemic, election, political discourse fuel racism: Chinese community leader

| Lottie Twyford
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China truck ad

This Advance Australia ad prompted some community members to raise concerns with the Australian Electoral Commission. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

A leading Chinese community member says two years of COVID-19, the current heated Australia/China political relationship and an at times ugly federal election campaign are increasing incidents of racism.

Appearing before a Legislative Assembly committee inquiry into racial vilification, the ACT President of the Federation of the Chinese Community of Canberra, Hao Gu, said while Canberra was largely a welcoming, multicultural community, people at the receiving end of racial targeting could be left with a “huge scar”.

“After COVID-19, things have been getting worse and with the current social and political environment and the [discourse] about Australia’s and China’s relationship … it makes lots of local Chinese people very worried,” he said.

Mr Gu said some of his community members had been targeted by slurs which included pandemic-related terms such as ‘China virus’.

“We, Chinese-Australians, like Australians, have pledged our loyalty to this country by choice, not because we were born here … because we believe in the Australian values.”

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Mr Gu described some targeted electoral campaigning and advertising as “very unfortunate”.

A recent billboard paid for by right-wing lobby group Advance Australia showed a smiling Chinese President Xi Jinping casting his ballot with the slogan ‘Vote Labor’.

ACT Labor Senator Katy Gallagher described the billboard as base politics.

During a three-month reporting period early last year, local Chinese media organisations were made aware of at least seven reported incidents of racism.

One of these was the high-profile incident involving a teenage boy racially abusing the Chinese-Australian owner of the Folks Gallery in Dickson, Vincent Chen.

Footage of the incident in March last year showed the boy making racist references to the appearance of cafe staff and repeatedly referring to “viruses” before spitting on an outside table and telling staff to “clean that up”.

Mr Chen last year said the incident showed a lack of education about racism in schools and the wider community.

Mr Gu had also heard about a group of Chinese people being targeted by teenagers in Gungahlin who screamed “go back to China”.

Also addressing the inquiry, Australia School of Contemporary Chinese president Dr Fuxin Li recalled a recent incident where a group of intoxicated people targeted local Asian grocery and takeaway businesses in Dickson.

Dr Li said the incident was reported to police but he was unaware of any charges laid against the offender.

Mr Gu was particularly concerned about several overt displays of racism by teenagers. He said better education about differences, multiculturalism and how to spot misinformation could help remedy the situation.

Another area of concern for the Chinese community was the lack of clear education for international students.

Mr Gu was aware of incidents where students thought they might face deportation if they reported racism to police.

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ACT Policing previously confirmed to Region Media that it received “a small number of reports of offences which may be racially motivated”, and all reports were taken seriously.

Mr Gu said ACT Policing was doing a good job. But in many cases, it was about encouraging community members to come forward and report incidents of racism.

He also advocated for harsher penalties on those who racially vilified or abused others.

“Australia is one of the best, if not the best multicultural community in the world,” he said. “However, from time to time, a small pocket of the population shows racial hatred.

“We want to raise awareness of those incidents which do happen from time to time … and to combat those bad behaviours.”

Anyone found guilty of ‘serious vilification’ faces fines of up to $8000.

If you experience violence, abuse or other criminal behaviour, report it to the ACT Human Rights Commission on 6205 2222.

If you need support, call Lifeline’s 24-hour crisis support line on 13 11 14.

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That is such a poor marketing strategy played by Liberal. If they really care about Australia’s security and being an anti-CCP, they should have stopped the Solomon Island signing security contract with China. Clearly they only care about the party’s security. So sad!

There are far too many people in Australia who have loyalties and allegiances to other countries, and are foreign spies. If we cannot prevent them coming here (our security agencies are failing), much stronger steps need to be taken to keep them out of our government. Only people born in Australia should be allowed to run (and be elected) into Parliament.

Capital Retro4:52 pm 14 May 22

How can that sign be racist? The person depicted is clearly Xi and last time I checked he was Chinese. How can showing a photo of someone be racist? The world has gone mad.

There is a Chinese Senate candidate who standing for election in the ACT as an independent.

“I think potential voters should know … [that] he is closely linked to the Chinese Communist Party,” Professor Hamilton said.”

Professor Hamilton is the author of two books about CCP intimidation in Australian universities and politics.

Professor Hamilton is a Green too. That must cause conniptions in the watermelon party

Why would it cause them any concern, Futureproof? Is clear-eyed distinction between independent facts a foreign country to you?

It would seem that both major parties have ministers or potential ministers with supposed Chinese connections:
I wonder who paid for Minister Roberts’s visit to China to meet with a Chinese vice-minister?

Capital Retro4:48 pm 14 May 22

Well, we could go back further and revive Joel Fitzgibbon’s exploits with his Chinese connections but the present and future are only relevant now.

Yes you are right … the Labor candidate you referenced and the Liberal candidate I referenced are current MHRs and hopeful of being future MHRs after 21-May. So your point is?

For this topic, it should be noted a NSW Senate Candidate was charged for holding a sign insulting the leader of China after he was attacked by Chinese-Australians for doing so. As far as I am aware, none of his attackers have been charged.

(Completing the above accidentally posted early)
According to Fox News, Police advise a 48 year old man has been issued a court attendance notice. Is Drew Pavlou 48, or 22?

TheSilver, please name the “NSW Senate Candidate” and an actual charge laid.
In this instance, even reading Fox News might increase your awareness about the police response.

@phydeaux Actually it was a Qld Senate candidate (Drew Pavlou) arrested by NSW Police at an anti-Communist Party rally in Sydney’s Eastwood and is now facing one charge of offensive language and another of failing to follow a police direction (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10796051/Drew-Pavlou-arrested-protesting-Chinas-Xi-Jinping.html)
… however, that’s only half the story, as NSW police confirmed they have “charged a 48-year-old man with assault following Drew Pavlou’s, 20, viral political protest in Eastwood, Sydney, on Saturday.” (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10777121/Drew-Pavlou-protest-Man-charged-assaulting-anti-Communist-activist-Eastwood-NSW.html)

I knew who it was, JustSaying, hence the quotation marks.

I also knew other detail, having read three stories on it including dailymail.
Separately from that, Riotact having the submit button inside the text box is a total pain when using a touch tablet.

Yep got ya, phydeaux – and agree re the submit arrow

Capital Retro10:31 pm 14 May 22

Tablets are for people suffering pain.

If we were being honest, we would all admit that in election campaigns, BOTH sides of politics manipulate, distort and misrepresent the truth.

This election probably more than most have seen a relentless personal attacks, as opposed to campaigning on policies.

“That’s not my job” is a prime example of misleading personal attacks, that I object to.

If we were honest, we’d also admit that the party we intended to vote for has some questionable policies and that if we could blend policies from each, we’d be better off.

Sadly, we’ll all discover that no matter which party wins, we’ll be let down.

Sadly, kenbehrens, you are absolutely correct. Politics of the major parties, has become the game of why you shouldn’t vote for my opponent, rather than why you should vote for me.

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