Chinese Australians warn of sleeper agents
Hong Kong nationals living in Australia are urging the Morrison government to undertake strict political vetting of those fleeing the territory, fearing Chinese Communist Party supporters could take advantage of Scott Morrison’s resettlement offer.
Security experts warn Beijing could use the opportunity to plant sleeper agents in Australia, while the sons and daughters of senior CCP officials studying in Australia could also seek a path to permanent residency.
The Australian can reveal family members of at least two senior Hong Kong government officials — Education Secretary Yeung Yun-hung, and pro-Beijing politician Tam Yiu-chung — are living in Australia.
Hong Kong migrants to Australia also fear the families of Hong Kong police members — who led a year-long battle with pro-democracy protesters — could seek Australian residency.
Mr Tudge told The Australian: “Our national security is our number one priority. Our strict character and security checking regime applies to all applicants.”
Jane Poon, from the pro-democracy group Australia-Hong Kong Link, pointed to past instances in which Chinese nationals had been allowed permanent residency but remained loyal to Beijing.
“A lot of Hong Kongers who are residing here, or studying here, are saying the Australian government should think about political background checks,” she said. “A lot of Hong Kongers in Australia still have families residing in Hong Kong. They don‘t want some abusers’ families coming to Australia and living next door.”
Mr Yeung, whose department is mandating new pro-China textbooks, has a son and daughter in Australia.
Mr Tam has family members in Australia including his son, who has become a citizen.
Foreign ministers of Five Eyes group nations discussed HK on call, says official
Thursday, 09 Jul 2020 08:17 AM MYT
OTTAWA, July 9 — Foreign ministers from the Five Eyes intelligence sharing group discussed the situation in Hong Kong during a conference call yesterday, a Canadian government official told Reuters.
The official declined to elaborate. The Five Eyes groups Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
Separately, Canada’s Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne tweeted on Wednesday that he discussed with his counterparts from the other countries many issues regarding international peace and security.
Beijing imposed a new national security legislation on Hong Kong last week despite protests from residents of the island and Western nations, setting China’s freest city and a major financial hub on a more authoritarian track.
Since then Canada has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and said it could boost immigration from the former British colony. — Reuters
Australia will suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and give 10,000 Hongkongers on student and temporary visas a pathway to permanent residency in response to the city’s controversial national security law, a move that drew a swift rebuke from Beijing.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said the national security law constituted “a fundamental change of circumstances in respect to our extradition agreement with Hong Kong” and Australia had “formally notified Hong Kong and advised the Chinese authorities” of the decision.
In response, China slammed Australia’s move as a serious violation of international law.
“It grossly interferes in China’s internal affairs. China will not accept it, and expresses strong condemnation. China reserves the right to take action, and Australia will have to bear all consequences because of that,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Thursday.https://www.youtube.com/embed/E_LVK6Cyw9Y
Earlier, a spokesman at China’s embassy in Canberra issued a statement saying Australia’s “meddling in Hong Kong’s affairs and China’s internal affairs … will lead to nothing but lifting a rock only to hit its own feet”.
Australia’s decision to suspend the extradition treaty follows a similar move by Canada last week.
Meanwhile, New Zealand on Thursday said it was reviewing settings of its relationship with Hong Kong, which would include extradition arrangements, controls on exports of strategic goods and travel advice. “China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters said in a statement.
Apart from allowing Hongkongers on graduate and temporary skilled work visas to stay in the country for five years, up from two years, Australia will offer incentives for Hong Kong businesses to relocate. While Australia did not announce plans to issue visas on humanitarian grounds to Hong Kong residents, Morrison said they could apply to the country’s humanitarian and refugee visa programme.
He added that the government would give special consideration to Hongkongers eligible for the Global Talent Visa scheme, making a pitch for international financial services, consulting and media businesses with regional headquarters in Hong Kong to relocate to Australia.
Australia axes HK extradition deal, extends visas
Australia has torn up its extradition agreement with Hong Kong as Beijing’s crackdown on national security intensifies.
Mr Morrison said the national security law constituted a “fundamental change of circumstances.”
“We have formally notified Hong Kong and advised Chinese authorities,” he told reporters at a press conference.
It comes after Beijing’s controversial national security law, which silences criticism of China, was imposed on the region last week.
The new law criminalises acts of “subversion and secession,” “terrorism” and “collusion” with foreign forces with potential life imrpisoment. The law triggered a fresh wave of protests in Hong Kong.
Australia is extending visas for those on skilled or student visas
Hong Kong nationals with skilled and graduate temporary visas in Australia will be offered an immediate five-year visa extension, with a pathway to permanent residency.