|Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Remarks|
At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on September 1, Spokesperson Hua Chunying answered a question about the alleged launch of inquiry by the Australian Government into foreign interference in Australian universities and China’s Thousand Talents Plan.
Journalist: The Australian government will launch an inquiry into foreign interference in Australian universities and how China has recruited scholars in the Thousand Talents Plan. Do you have any comment?
Hua Chunying: I read reports on that, but I need to verify if it's true.
China is committed to developing relations with other countries on the basis of mutual respect and non-interference. Interfering in other countries' domestic affairs is not in the "genes" of China's diplomacy. As Australia is a close ally of the US, certain Australian people and forces seem to be "infected" with paranoia, dominated by China-phobia and conjectures, to the extent of losing all sense of rationality and justice that they make various accusations against normal educational and people-to-people exchange between China and Australia.
If Australia really wants to conduct serious research on foreign interference, I believe there are many clues. For example, as disclosed by media multiple times, those Australian institutions and individuals taking the lead in fueling hostility towards China have received funding from the US government, and one of them is the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). Some in Australia revealed that it has long been receiving funds from the US government and arms dealers. Besides, according to ABC News, among the members of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations, a body meant to strengthen engagement between the two countries, two have been funded by the US Department of State. This is a fact that is both enlightening and thought-provoking.
During the past 20 years, trade volume between China and Australia has grown from less than 10 billion to 235 billion Australian dollars last year. Over 12,000 Australian companies have set up branches in China. Last year, the number of Chinese students in Australia nearly 230,000. Every year over 1.4 million Chinese tourists travel to Australia. China has been Australia's biggest trade partner for 11 years in a row and is now Australia's largest source of international students and tourists. And more promisingly, China has been Australia's most important collaborator on scientific research on account of the number of university research papers and mentions in the top 1 percent of most-cited articles. These are eloquent facts.
As an Australian proverb goes, "Keep your eyes on the sun and you will not see the shadows." This fits so well to where we now stand. We hope the Australian government, politicians and all those with a rational mind in the country will keep their eyes on the bright future of China-US relations and on the sun, rather than on the dark clouds and disturbed by the shadows. We hope Australia will adopt a constructive China policy instead of a destructive one.