Liu Qibao head of the publicity department of the Communist Party meets with Premier of New South Wales Mike Baird, 27th May 2016
On 26 May, six agreements were signed between Chinese and Australian media outlets in Sydney. Liu Qibao, Head of the Central Propaganda Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), flew in to attend the signing. Gary Quinlan, Acting Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, joined him.
President Xi Jinping demands the media must pledge fealty to the Communist Party, and it exists, first and foremost, as a propaganda tool for the state. So too, must Chinese media find ways to more effectively to broadcast the party’s voice to the world, or in his words: “properly tell the China story”.
Fairfax Media will run China Watch, an eight-page lift-out prepared by the Communist Party’s official English-language China Daily, monthly in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Australian Financial Review.
Sky News signed a memorandum of understanding with the online arm of the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, with a view to sharing video and online news content, mostly around business and economy stories.
The official Xinhua news agency also sealed an agreement enabling “greater information exchange” with the University of Technology Sydney’s Australia-China Relations Institute (ACRI), helmed by former foreign minister Bob Carr.
It was “frankly alarming”, he said, if it amounted to an endorsement which “officially welcomed foreign political party propaganda placements in Australian media”.
“The Chinese propaganda [push] has been quite aggressive and quite concerted and they have a lot of money to spend,” he said. “They’re not worried about budgets and they’re leaving no stones unturned.”
Among the stories in Friday’s China Watch were full-page articles outlining how “benefits are already flowing” from the China-Australia free trade agreement, and how “Manila has no leg to stand on” in its attempt to seek international court arbitration of its South China Sea territorial disputes with Beijing.
China Daily’s deputy editor-in-chief Kang Bing said Fairfax Media’s presence in both Australia and New Zealand “means the influence of China Daily will be spread to cover the two most important countries in Oceania”, adding that China’s “soft power could drive the wheel of its friendship with Australia and New Zealand”, according to quotes carried by the Chinese newspaper.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands before their meeting in …