Australia's China experts split on proposed interference laws

They hold starkly different views on perceived Chinese meddling

Chinese New Year celebrations in Sydney this year. Australia has about 1.2 million people of Chinese heritage - about 5 per cent of the population.
Chinese New Year celebrations in Sydney this year. Australia has about 1.2 million people of Chinese heritage - about 5 per cent of the population.PHOTO: REUTERS

Australia's plan to curb Chinese interference in local affairs has led to the country's academics being divided over whether the proposals and media coverage of the issue could lead to racism towards the Chinese-Australian community.

In a sign of the rising divisions and anxieties in Australia over the extent of China's influence abroad, two groups of prominent academics have released letters which present starkly different views.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2018, with the headline 'Australia's China experts split on proposed interference laws'. Print Edition | Subscribe