The Melbourne Vietnamese community held a rally in Federation Square on Sept. 30 to protest against the invasion of Vietnam by the Chinese Communist Party through its “One Belt, One Road” project.
The organizers of the rally had a warning for anyone listening: if Australia does not guard against the influence of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) soft power, it will become the next target of the communist regime.
“Yesterday is Tibet, today is Vietnam, and tomorrow is Australia,” they said.
The rally attracted hundreds of people from the local Vietnamese community as well as people from all walks of life across Melbourne, one day before the anniversary of the CCP’s establishment on Oct. 1.
Vietnamese Community Federation Chairman Bon Nguyen, Vietnamese religious leaders, Australian intelligence and security expert Paul Monk, and Tibetan community chairman Tenzin Khangsar all spoke at the rally.
Nguyen said that the rally was to protest the expansion and invasion of the CCP in Vietnam under the rule of the Vietnamese Communist Party. He stressed that it was not a protest against the Chinese people.
“Communist China and Chinese people are two different things. Chinese people are our friends. Chinese people are living in harmony in our community,” Nguyen said. He added that the Chinese people themselves are also suffering from the CCP’s persecution in China.
“In Australia, we do not want to stand idle. Tomorrow, we will see Australia be next because we see what has happened in Tibet, because we are witnessing what is happening in Vietnam now. The Chinese communist are trying to expand their borders, and this is what happened in Vietnam.”
Vietnamese Sovereignty Under Threat
Nguyen explained how Vietnam was losing its sovereignty under the CCP’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, under which the Vietnamese Communist Party allowed the CCP to set up a special “special economic zone” (SEZ) in Vietnam.
In June, the Vietnamese Communist government drafted a bill to create three SEZs in northern, central, and southern Vietnam, and Phu Quoc Island, which will allow foreign investors to lease land in these areas for up to 99 years.
According to the Central News Agency, the draft triggered the Vietnamese people to question whether their government was “selling land and country to China.” Large-scale protests broke out in several cities across Vietnam.
Today, in southern Vietnam, people protested everywhere to protest the Vietnamese government's approval of the bill for Chinese businesses to lease land in three special economic zones in #Vietnam. pic.twitter.com/LvJACEuuOG
— Linh Lan (@LinhLan76704617) June 10, 2018
— Anh Chí (@AnhChiVN) June 10, 2018
One protester who participated in the Ho Chi Minh City protests said: “the 99-year land lease law will directly affect Vietnam’s sovereignty and allow Vietnam to fall into the hands of China. Vietnamese people may lose 5,000 years of history from the world.”
HOT: Wave of online protests sweeps over #Vietnam in opposition to planned legislation (June 15) that will let foreigners lease Vân Đồn, Phú Quốc, Vân Phong for 99 years and turn them into Special Economic Zones. Many call it a backdoor for China and an act of treason. pic.twitter.com/ggC1NNi9aR
— Saigonese (@VietNamTweeter) June 6, 2018
“We, the Vietnamese community, have been the victims of the Chinese communist regime for years,” he said.
Unbelievable: Teacher Đào Quang Thục, who protested against the Formosa pollution disaster, was given a 14-year sentence plus 5 years house arrest, for “attempt to overthrow the regime”. @hrw pic.twitter.com/C5HUwEiWDd
— Saigonese (@VietNamTweeter) September 20, 2018
— Saigonese (@VietNamTweeter) September 11, 2018
Nguyen said that the Vietnamese people’s resistance to the bill had been violently suppressed by the Vietnamese Communist Party, with some protesters being jailed.
He also said that China’s militarisation in the South China Sea has meant that Vietnamese fishermen have been unable to fish in their own seas for some time.
“If you are not allowed to fish, you’re not allowed to carry on your normal activity in Vietnam, [and] you’re not allowed to enter certain location that you normally enter, then that’s a restriction of human rights.”
Recently, this has resulted in some Vietnamese fishermen fleeing to Australia, Nguyen said.
“Vietnamese people try to escape from Vietnam and seek freedom from another country. I hope that it’s not a massive exodus for Vietnam, but there has been evidence that the Vietnamese escape from Vietnam not just to Australia, but to Thailand and Indonesia.”
“If there isn’t Communists in China, I don’t think that there’s any intention to invade our country,” Nguyen said.
In an open letter to the Australian public, the organizers said that the CCP’s ambitions of hegemony and the treacherous kowtow actions of the Vietnamese Communist Party “pose a real threat to Australia’s security and sovereignty.”
Communist China has been aggressively invading and dominating Vietnam by stealth, the letter reads.
Deeply Alarming Signs of Infiltration in Australia
Former head of China analysis at Australia’s Defense Intelligence Organisation, Paul Monk, said that he is deeply alarmed by the CCP’s systematic program of subversion and censorship in Australia.
“I would have thought, given the clear nature of that regime, that we in Australia should collectively be saying, ‘We do want trade with China, we do want to see China continue to prosper, but we don’t accept that its way of governing China is in any way attractive or appropriate,’” Monk said.
In its attempts at diplomacy and preserving international peace, Monk said that Australia has tended towards the position of not causing trouble for other governments.
“Former prime ministers, former foreign ministers, former state premiers, former ambassadors, senior business figures, and numerous academics openly defend the China, that means the Communist Party in China, against criticism,” Monk said.
Swaine was idiotically infamous for stating ‘China is not into expansionism as it has *no written plans* to do so’. Needless to say, my responses earned a BLOCKED in return!
Can’t put two and two together!
Same type as Bob Carr, Kerry Brown.. pic.twitter.com/GQbb5vCmIE
— SCS_Disputes (@SCS_Disputes) June 25, 2018
These Australian elites have criticised concerns about the CCP’s actions at home and in the region as being stuck in “Cold War thinking.”
But Monk warned that due to the sharp difference in political culture between the free world and Communist regimes, we are now seeing a diplomatic relationship with the CCP that is “one-way street.” While we refrain from criticising the CCP, “the Communist Party has a systematic program of seeking to subvert and limit and censor our freedoms here,” he said.
“China is a totalitarian regime. It’s not a friendly one, it’s a pernicious one.
“We now have a situation in Australia, with regard to the Chinese Communist influence, which dwarfs anything that happened in the Cold War.”
Monk believes that the influence of the CCP in Australia is mainly played out using “soft power,” which has been seen in the impact of its money into politics, business, academia and the media.
“The Confucius Institutes are a conduit for that attempt to influence and undermine freedoms that we take for granted,” Monk said, adding that the Australian government had done almost nothing about them.
He added that the CCP had not dared to act rashly against Australia militarily due to its long-standing alliance with the United States.
“The main reason Australia should by no means withdraw from the alliance with the United States is because as long as we are allied with the United States, China will not seek to directly intimidate us militarily.
“But that doesn’t mean that its influence and intervention are a problem.”
Monk said that Australia’s new foreign interference legislation that was passed in June will help improve Australia’s defences against covert political interference from foreign entities, but that their effectiveness remains to be seen and will depend on how they are implemented.
Monk concluded by saying that Australia’s road to resisting CCP influence has just begun and is likely to go on for years. “We need to be principled, mobilised and vigorous in order to defend the things we cherish,” he said.
The Epoch Times reporter Ruby Zhang contributed to this article.
Australia’s China Experts Discuss Chinese Communist Party Infiltration in Australia
“The conflicts between two different values systems, and the conflicts between the two political systems are issues that cannot be ignored.”