“Racial Bait McCarthyism”: Eric Abetz struck after asking Chinese Australians to...

“Racial Bait McCarthyism”: Eric Abetz struck after asking Chinese Australians to...
“Racial Bait McCarthyism”: Eric Abetz struck after asking Chinese Australians to...
The Australian Commissioner for Racial Discrimination has joined a wave of criticism against Liberal Senator Eric Abetz after he asked three Chinese Australians to testify before a Senate committee denouncing the Chinese Community Party.

On Wednesday, the Senate committee, which dealt with issues facing diaspora communities in Australia, heard from Yun Jiang, Osmond Chiu and Wesa Chau, who told the investigation that many Chinese Australians feel intimidated when they speak up on questions, affecting their community and country.

After her opening speech, Senator Abetz asked all three witnesses if they were ready to “unconditionally condemn the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party”.

The poll received a quick backlash on social media and was criticized by Australian Commissioner for Racial Discrimination, Chin Tan.

“No Australian should question or undermine his ethnic allegiance to this country, nor should he be required to prove his loyalty,” said Commissioner Tan.

“Treating people based on race or ethnicity without prejudice contradicts the democratic values ​​of Australian equality and our fundamental human rights.”

Ms. Jiang, an ANU researcher, told SBS News that she was “very, very shocked to hear this question.”

“I also looked at what questions were previously asked in the same question and similar questions were not asked to other people,” she said.

Yun Jiang – Direktor des China Policy Center, Senior Research Officer an der ANU.


In her opening address, Ms. Jiang had told the hearing that many in the Chinese diaspora felt unable to participate in public debates on Australia’s China policy, also because they might draw allegations of infidelity from Australians.

Many were also afraid to speak up and feared consequences for family members in China.

“Obviously he didn’t take that into account at all and was just repeating the exact behavior that I said affected,” she said.

Ms. Jiang replied to Senator Abetz’s question that she condemned the “serious human rights violations” committed by the Chinese government, but also said that it was not fair to force all Chinese Australians to clarify their political positions.

Mr. Chiu, a research fellow at the progressive per capita think tank, told the investigation that he did not support the Communist Party.

He told SBS News Senator Abetz that the questions were a worrying trend in rhetoric.

“It felt a bit surreal. The best comparison I can think of is like an inquisition or a show trial, ”said Chiu.

“I think it says a lot when Chinese Australians can’t even appear before a Senate committee without their loyalty being called into question.”

Per capita think tank researcher Osmond Chiu.

SBS News

Ms. Chau, a Labor candidate for Melbourne’s deputy mayor, expressed disappointment that Chinese Australians had been selected to denounce the regime and asked Senator Abetz if his allegiance to Australia had been questioned because he was born in Germany has been.

“Oh, absolutely,” replied the Senator.

“Haven’t you read the terrible trolling I’m getting? I am amazed that you would ask that question. ”

Senator Abetz said other ethnic groups had asked similar questions, and Italian Australians were often asked if they were “part of the Mafioso”.

He said he had no difficulty condemning the German NSDAP but was “concerned that some of our witnesses are having great difficulty condemning a regime that has been responsible for millions of deaths”.

His comments met with the approval of the senator of the liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, who, according to the study, “there is an overwhelming desire among the people of the Sino-Australian community to participate in politics”.

After her appearance, Ms. Chau described the questionnaire on display as “racial McCarthyism”.

“It is absolutely very exhausting to have to answer all these questions – you not only have to answer them publicly, but you also have to answer them in a public hearing in the Senate,” she told SBS News.

Senator Abetz defended his line of questioning on Thursday, arguing that his request to witnesses to denounce the Communist Party had “nothing to do with race and anything to do with values”.

“At no point have I questioned anyone’s loyalty – I didn’t even” mention the word “loyalty,” he said in a statement.

“If Mr. Chiu, a prominent Chinese-Australian from a ‘progressive’ think tank … cannot bring himself to denounce a regime that continuously and systematically violates human rights, there is no hope for the Chinese diaspora in Australia to speak out.”

Labor Senator Penny Wong said she would “not tolerate the loyalty or worth of some Australians questioned about their ethnicity”.

“In a world where authoritarianism and nationalism are on the rise, we cannot afford to be complacent about protecting our democracy and we cannot allow ethnic groups to be targeted.”

“The behavior of some committee members towards Australian citizens yesterday went against these interests.”

Mr. Chiu and Ms. Chau both told SBS News that they would like to see an apology from the Senator.

“If he doesn’t, I can only hope that the prime minister will intervene, because otherwise it signals that the senator’s behavior will be tolerated,” said Chiu.

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