Canberra / Beijing: A former Australian military officer has accused its Universities of spying for China. In midst of such allegations from Australia, it has come to light that China had sent summons to the Australian ambassador for political interventions. Subsequently, a senior Chinese Naval Officer has expressed his displeasure at Australia for threatening the peace in the South China Sea. These series of events are indicative towards the relations between Australia and China, the once close partners in the ‘Asia-Pacific’ region, deteriorating further.
Since the past few months, China’s interference in Australia’s internal politics and educational systems has become a well-known subject in the Australian parliament. While independent bills have been proposed in the Australian parliament in this regard, it has forced a prominent member from the opposition ‘Labour Party’ to resign. Under these circumstances, the former Australian military officer’s allegations towards its Universities spying for China, is quite sensational.
In an interview to the TV channel ABC news, the former defence official and director of ‘Australian Strategic Policy Institute’, Peter Jennings alleged that the sensitive research underway in leading Australian Universities is highly influenced by China. The Australian Universities were violating the laws on export governing research and technology, considered significant for the defence sector and the defence ministry ought to investigate the matter thoroughly, demanded Jennings.
The Director of ‘Australian Strategic Policy Institute’, Peter Jennings had also claimed that the Australian universities were most likely providing their technology to China and likewise, the Chinese students studying in these universities were also being used for this purpose. Jennings warned that this was definitely not good for Australia’s national and defence interests. The Defence Department of Australia clarified that the universities were responsible for keeping a watch on its foreign students and also ensuring that they complied with the law.
Clive Hamilton, an author and a professor at the Charles Stuart University, also affirmed Jenning’s allegations. Hamilton alleged that the research carried out in the Australian universities was being misused to improve the capacity of advanced Chinese missiles. He also claimed that the joint research by the Adelaide university and ‘Beijing Institute of Aeronautical Materials’ (BIAM) was a remarkable example. Chinese military Lieutenant General Yang Xuejun’s collaboration with the Australian universities for research was quite questionable, said Hamilton.
While these allegations emerged from Australia, China also adopted an aggressive stance. Lieutenant Admiral Shen Jinlong, a Senior Chinese Naval Official accused Australia of compromising the peace in the South China Sea region. It is noteworthy that the accusations were made specifically during the Australian Naval officers’ visit to China. The Chinese Official stated in its allegation that the movements of the Australian military in the South China Sea had disrupted its peace and stability
Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities have expressed their displeasure on the action undertaken by Australia against the Chinese intervention. Recently it has been reported that the Australian Ambassador to China, Jan Adams was summoned by China.