Australian Furor Over Chinese Influence Follows Book’s Delay

“The decision by Allen & Unwin to stall publication of this book almost proves the point that there’s an undue level of Chinese influence in Australia,” said Prof. Rory Medcalf, head of the National Security College at Australian National University. Allen & Unwin is one of Australia’s largest publishers.

In the yet-unpublished book, the author, Clive Hamilton, a well-known intellectual and professor at Charles Sturt University in Australia, describes what he calls an orchestrated campaign by Beijing to influence Australia and silence China’s critics.

In one chapter, according to Mr. Hamilton, the book asserts that senior Australian journalists were taken on junkets to China in order to “shift their opinions” so they would present China in a more positive light.

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Mr. Hamilton says the company that was set to publish his book expressed concerns about possible lawsuits by Beijing.

Credit
Craig Mackenzie

In another chapter, he said the book details what he calls links between Australian scientists and researchers at Chinese military universities, which he said had led to a transfer of scientific know-how to the People’s Liberation Army.

The book had been scheduled to be published in April, and Mr. Hamilton had already turned in a manuscript. But Allen & Unwin, based in Sydney, suddenly informed him on Nov. 2 that it wanted to postpone publishing because of legal concerns.

Mr. Hamilton responded by demanding the return of the publication rights, effectively canceling the book’s publication by Allen & Unwin. Mr. Hamilton says he will seek another publisher.

Mr. Hamilton said the decision had been made for fear of angering Beijing, and shows China’s ability to limit what information Australians can see — exactly the sort of influence that he said he warned about in his book.

“This is the first case, I…

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