People’s liberation: the China migrant media syndrome

by | May 11, 2022 | Lobbyland

One of the odd aspects of journalists’ coverage of the campaign is the assumption in much of their questioning and reportage that Chinese-Australians have only one, unified, opinion.

Specifically, that they are offended of behalf of China by any tension between the Australian and Chinese governments.

Anyone passing a business displaying a poster for the Falun Gong’s performing arts troupe Shen Yun might get the idea that not every Chinese Australian supports the political direction of the old country.  If you display a poster that celebrates ‘’China before communism’’, you are not likely to worry about an Australian politician finding a reason to disagree with Beijing.

There are Chinese Australians who applaud Australian government policy on China. There are Chinese Australians who deplore it. Some simply want to get on with their lives in their adopted country. One thing they are perfectly capable of doing is thinking for themselves. The community is as diverse in its outlook as any other. Any idea that Chinese-Australians are a bloc to be courted by any one party (or entity, say independent) is patronising and weird.

If the boot was on the other foot it would be bizarre. It’s not as if Aussies in Clapham or Brooklyn or Bali would be offended if local politicians had something to say about our climate policy. 

Migrants from communist countries were once accused of being a fifth column. Now they are political fodder.

Mark Sawyer is a journalist with Michael West Media. He has extensive experience in print and digital media in Sydney, Melbourne and rural Australia.

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