One of Australia’s largest Chinese-language media groups—which has links to Beijing—has been seized by liquidators.
Ostar International Media Group, which is based in Melbourne, runs eight Chinese and English-language radio stations, 11 Chinese newspapers, and an online television program. Its most prominent program is the 3CW radio station in Melbourne.
The group’s owner, millionaire Jiang Zhaoqing—or Tommy Jiang—was revealed to have links to the Chinese Communist Party and was invited as a special guest in 2011 to visit Beijing and attend the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.
Ostar owed $5.6 million, including $550,000, to the Australian Taxation Office, according to the liquidation report.
The group also owed funds to media licensing businesses JLS Media ($287,000) and Geelong Broadcasters ($64,000). In addition, the Northeast Chinese Chamber of Commerce was owed $100,000.
Ostar’s media outlets are known for toeing a fairly pro-Beijing line. In March 2020, one online news site owned by Ostar defended Beijing’s handling of COVID-19 after Victorian state Member of Parliament Bernie Finn published a series of Facebook posts criticising the Chinese regime.
Jiang’s other business, Global CAMG Media Group, remains solvent, however.
Global CAMG is 60 percent owned by Guoguang Century Media Consultancy, which in turn, is owned by Chinese state-owned media giant, China Radio International (CRI)
CRI’s Sydney Bureau Chief Li Dayong left Australia after allegedly being questioned by the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation.
The seizure of Ostar comes following the release of new reports revealing the full extent of Beijing’s influence or control over Chinese-language media in Australia.
In December, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute found that 12 out of the 24 largest traditional Chinese media outlets in Australia were run by executives with links to the United Front Work Department, Beijing’s foremost overseas infiltration organ.
An additional four outlets were directly owned or received financial support from Beijing.
The report complemented earlier revelations by Australia’s peak intelligence body, the Office of National Intelligence, that the CCP had influence or control over two-thirds of online Chinese news media.
Former Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge warned last year that “malign information or propaganda” was being spread through ethnic media in the country, including outlets “controlled or funded” by state players.