Australian publisher scraps book on China’s influence, fearing Beijing



Chinese
flags flutter at Tiananmen Square ahead of the Belt and Road
Forum in Beijing

Thomson
Reuters


  • An Australian publisher has shelved a book on China’s
    influence in Australia, out of fear of reprisal from
    Beijing.
  • The publisher wanted to avoid “Beijing’s agents of
    influence” commencing complex and legal action.
  • There has been an uptick in warnings on China’s
    influence in Australian business, politics, security, and
    universities.
  • The author, a public ethics professor, says the “shadow
    Beijing casts” could put Western democracy at risk.

A large independent publisher has shelved a book on China’s soft
power in Australia, because it is concerned about reprisals from
Beijing or its “agents of influence.”

Allen & Unwin told Clive Hamilton, the author of the upcoming
“Silent Invasion: How China is Turning Australia into a Puppet
State,” that his book was an “extremely significant” title but
could open the company to “possible action by Beijing,” which
could take a range of forms, including complex and expensive
legal action.

The publishing company, in a statement to Business Insider, said
it had chosen to delay publication.

“After extensive legal advice we decided to delay publication of
Clive’s book “Silent Invasion” until certain matters currently
before the courts have been decided,” a spokesperson said. “Clive
was unwilling to delay publication and requested the return of
his rights, as he is entitled to do. We continue to wish him the
best of luck with the book.”

Hamilton, a professor of public ethics at Charles Sturt
University, said the decision was worrying and “if it spreads,
and other publishers are afraid of publishing criticism of
Chinese government then Western democracy is in trouble.”

“I think the key message is that the shadow Beijing casts is now
enough to spook even a…

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