Australian politician says media revelations of Chinese spying disturbing
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A senior Australian politician on Saturday said he was disturbed by the reported efforts of China to infiltrate politics in Australia, Hong Kong and Taiwan detailed by an asylum seeker who said he was a Chinese spy.
Resource-rich Australia’s ties with its most important trading partner China have deteriorated in recent years, amid accusations that Beijing is meddling in domestic affairs.
“These are very disturbing reports,” said Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, adding that government law agencies were dealing with the matter.
The defector, named as Wang “William” Liqiang by the Age newspaper, gave a sworn statement to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), identifying China’s senior military intelligence officers in Hong Kong, the newspaper said.
He has also purportedly revealed details of how China funds and conducts political interference in Taiwan and Australia, the Age reported.
Police in China’s financial hub of Shanghai, responding to the Australian report, said Wang was a 26-year-old unemployed man from the eastern province of Fujian and was wanted in connection with a fraud case.
On April 10, he went to Hong Kong carrying a fraudulent Chinese passport and Hong Kong permanent residency card, they added in a brief statement.
Wang had previously been convicted of fraud in 2016 in Fujian, Shanghai police said.
Reuters reported before Australia’s election in May that Australian intelligence had determined China was responsible for a cyber-attack on its national parliament and three largest political parties. China denies the accusations.
Wang said he was a part of an intelligence operation within a Hong Kong-listed company that infiltrated universities and media, the Age said.