Top Chinese Diplomat Uses Nazi Slur Against Australian Senator

October 23, 2020 Updated: October 23, 2020

Beijing’s ambassador to Australia has launched a vitriolic attack against a senator and critics of the Chinese communist regime, as the government hosts public hearings on new laws which could spell the end of the Belt and Road Initiative in the country.

The Canberra-based Cheng Jingye claimed Tasmanian Senator Eric Abetz’s recent comments at the hearing, which were critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), “have the smack of Goebbel’s tricks.” Joseph Goebbels was the infamous Nazi propaganda czar.

“It’s my hope that you would look at China and our bilateral relationship in an objective and rational manner without tinted lens or bias,” he wrote in a submission (pdf) to a public inquiry into the new Foreign Relations Bill.

The diplomat also rounded on representatives who were critical of the CCP during the inquiry claiming they made “malicious allegations” and were “notorious for their longstanding anti-China stance.”

Chinese Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye
Chinese Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye speaks to the media during a press conference at the Ambassador’s residence in Canberra, Australia, on Dec. 19, 2019. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

Cheng gained notoriety in April when he hinted of retaliatory trade strikes against Australia in response to Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s calls for an inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senator Abetz, who was born in Germany, responded saying, “It is excruciatingly ironic that the dictatorship’s mouthpiece makes a comparison with a regime that so closely mirrors his own – holding people in concentration camps, making illegal land grabs, persecuting religious minorities and repressing pro-democracy activists.”

“The unattractive belligerent, and indeed aggressive tone of His Excellency’s response, confirms why so many in the Chinese diaspora live in fear of the Chinese Communist dictatorship even here in Australia,” he told The Epoch Times on Oct. 23.

“If this is the official response to the Chair of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee, one can just imagine the ‘subtlety’ employed on the Chinese diaspora,” he added.

The ambassador’s comments were made in a submission to Abetz, who is chairing a committee reviewing the Foreign Relations Bill. The Bill will give the foreign minister authority to review, and potentially veto; agreements entered between foreign entities, and Australian universities and sub-national governments.

Experts believe controversial agreements such as the Victorian Belt and Road Initiative and Confucius Institutes could be cancelled under the law.

Xi Jinping
China’s then-Vice President Xi Jinping (now Chinese leader) unveils a plaque at the opening of Australia’s first Chinese Medicine Confucius Institute at the RMIT University in Melbourne on June 20, 2010. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

According to the Senate’s rules, the Chinese diplomatic corp has an opportunity to respond to “adverse reflections” that have been submitted to the committee regarding its behaviour and actions. Several submissions and testimonies have pointed to multiple instances of foreign interference by Chinese diplomats.

Foreign Minister Payne was displeased with the ambassador’s attack.

“Nazi comparisons, frankly, rarely contribute very much of use to any discussion and this would be no exception,” Payne told ABC radio on Oct. 23.

She also stood by Senator Abetz who has recently come under the spotlight for asking three Chinese Australians whether they were willing to “unconditionally condemn” the CCP during a public hearing over issues related to Australia’s vast multicultural community.

His comments were subsequently mischaracterised by the hearing witnesses—Osmond Chiu, Wesa Chau, and Yun Jiang—as related to issues of race and loyalty.

This also became the focus of the media’s critical narrative.

Dr Feng Chongyi, associate professor in China Studies at the University of Technology Sydney, stood by Abetz and said it was a “shame” three Chinese Australians in public positions refused to condemn the “evil conducts of the CCP.”

Epoch Times Photo
Dr. Feng Chongyi and Dr. Paul Monk at a panel discussion hosted by the Australian Values Alliance on China’s influence in Australia, in City Tattersalls Club in Sydney, Australia on Dec. 10, 2018. (NTD/Screenshot)

“They are not qualified to represent Chinese communities in Australia,” Feng told The Epoch Times. “It is ideologically and intellectually bankrupt to justify acquiescence of grave human rights violations by the CCP regime in the name of multiculturalism or, even worse, anti-racism.

Minister Payne said, “We are always prepared for robust debate and robust exchange in Australia including from our members of parliament.”

“But my personal view, and I think it is one which the prime minister has expressed before, is the only pledge we expect Australian citizens to make is the pledge that they make when they become an Australian,” she added.

Home Affairs and Immigration Departments have been ramping up efforts to prioritise and promote Australian values in an effort to counter foreign interference.

The CCP currently requires prospective members to make the following, in part, pledge to the Party, “… be loyal to the Party, work hard, fight for communism throughout my life, be ready at all times to sacrifice my all for the Party and the people, and never betray the Party.”

The pledge stands in stark contrast to the Australian citizenship pledge which asks citizens to “… pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.”