Book criticising China withheld by publisher

(Frew) #1

An interesting if concerning article about the power of China to influence public debate in Australia. The publisher’s refusal to release it demonstrating the point of the book.

(Tim Challis) #2

Hang on; citation of a “confidential email”, “which has been obtained by Fairfax Media”, multiple images of the author and a (probable mock-up) shot of “the cover of the ditched book”?

Maybe I am being overly suspicious but this seems similar to the actions of someone wanting to milk the benefits of the Streisand effect whilst minimising the risk of associated opprobrium?

(Frew) #3

Sure, if someone refused to publish my book on Chinese influence because of Chinese influence it would be exactly how I would handle it. A bit of a fuck you to the publisher and the Chinese Communist Party whilst creating maximum promotion for the book.


I take it with a grain of salt. There are so many ways to self publish these days

(Frew) #5

You aren’t going to get in the book shops without a major publisher, which is what Allen and Unwin are selling, that and advertising. If you are going to self publish, using being sold out by your old publisher is a good way to go about it to make up for what you lose by not being with a major publisher. With the publicity generated, there may be other publishers up for going through with a defamation case.

Defamation is a huge limit on free speech, much more problematic than the more public 18C debate.


Perhaps the author release some of the evidence they have to help sell the book.

(Frew) #7

Clive Hamilton is a well known academic. The article itself contains many examples of Chinese influence on Australian politics, both through aggressive use of defamation laws and influence buying. It isn’t something unheard of before this book was written, there was even a 4Corners episode on it earlier this year. I suspect the book will go through much of the same areas as both the article and the 4 Corners episode.

(Peter Fulton) #8

Can he not self-publish? Take out the middleman.

(Frew) #9

I’m sure he could, but he would be up for defending himself in a defamation case should it come up (the reason the publisher didn’t want to touch it) which would cost a fortune, and self publishing is a poor option compared to having a publishing house do it for you. No money for promotions, no access to space in bookshops and loss of the publishers connections with book reviewers etc. I am sure that the media the story has generated will make other publishers think about it and weigh up the risks.

The fact that the publisher won’t publish it for risk of a defamation case is a sign that defamation law in this country is broken. Something that the article highlights and perhaps something we should think about.


Interesting fella, staunchly pro-censorship and now this happens to him? hmmmm

(Tim Challis) #11

I was carefully not mentioning this aspect of Clive Hamilton as it strictly is not relevant to the posed matter of censorship of Chinese criticism. However as I am an avowed supporter of the E.F.A. and C.H. is somewhat agin 'em perhaps this is a personal conflict of interest?


What’s broken about it? Could it be that they are scared to publish because there is no evidence of his claims and there could be a legitimate claim arising from that? or is there really a conspiracy going on?

(Frew) #13

Doesn’t change what is going on. We are in favour of free speech for racist shit-stain Andrew Bolt, we can defend the free speech of anyone regardless of their views if their cause is just.


@Frew As condescending as you are for posting a LMGTFY link which I refuse to click on, I did find an Electronic Frontiers Australia link which seems to cover the topic quite well include this exact thing which he is facing. Since this is the EFA’s area of expertise, perhaps this is something which the EFA would be better suited to assist with.

Personally I’m not deciding if I think that his claims are even true or not (the contents of the book, or the threats) until I see some evidence of any of it. Those are some bold claims about the Chinese and I’m not keen on making us any enemies (Especially Chinese Australians who could see this as thinly-veiled Xenophobia) unless there is clear evidence of the truth. Academics post all kinds of nonsense all the time, and he has an interest in there being a “conspiracy” to sell books when he does manage to get it published (as is a common tactic for book sellers to make publicity stunts).

(Frew) #15

I posted this in the article section to share the story, there was no desire for action. It is important for Pirates to be up on these issues in case you ever find yourself getting interviewed in the media or asked questions in the street. Knowledge is power and the more knowledge Pirates have, the better we will be.

You do have access to Google, you can Google obvious questions and it may answer you satisfactorily. I am not going to do the intellectual labour of explaining something to you when many other people have done it before me and I can just share the link. In this case I googled it for good articles and there was a list right there as the first search results.


Please just use a regular Google Link, LMGTFY is really passive aggressive.

I’m not against criticising the Chinese Government for the things they do wrong, especially not because I’m scared of any kind of retaliation against the Pirate Party from the Chinese Government are we should do anything special for them. As long as the criticism is justified, then we have an OBLIGATION to criticise.

What I am worried about is regular Chinese Australians browsing to, finding the Discussion Forum, using the Search feature and typing in “China” to try to ascertain if we are secretly a bunch of racists (or even find this through Google as this forum is indexed) and then get the wrong idea that we are joining in with the anti-Chinese bandwagon because we don’t like Chinese people, WHICH IS NOT TRUE.

Most Chinese Australians are in fact (publicly or privately) anti-China Government, but they are mindful that most ordinary Australians don’t differentiate between the two.

What I am concerned about here is that this article sounds like a nasty rumour with nothing to back it up, and in fact he doesn’t even claim that anyone threatened him or the publisher, only that his publisher was worried about potential threats (meaning, they never actually happened yet).

Personally, if what he says is true about the Publisher (and this is not in fact a publicity stunt) then that sounds like it is more on the Publisher from dropping the ball prematurely than anything that the China have actually done or if they know for sure that the Chinese Government actually would do (as oppose to speculation).

The convention for releasing information you want known which is being “suppressed” is to release it onto the internet. He has not dropped any information at all onto the internet, not even to prove the authenticity of his claims. This makes me highly skeptical and makes me think that there is a little bit of anti-Chinese sentiment happening in the background.

If he does end up exposing something, with proof, I’d be happy to jump on board with that.

I am very extremely happy to support change against current Defamation laws, the information I found with a search linking to the EFA was very convincing, and I had not been aware of the issues with Defamation Laws before you pointed towards me doing a search, so thank you @Frew that was the right thing to do (except the LBGTFY part). But I don’t think that this particular case has any substance behind it to get support behind the defamation laws problem.

(Frew) #17

Read the sources, watch the video, there is plenty of evidence of Chinese interference in Australian politics, I suspect Chinese background Australians are the most conscious of it. At no point have I accused Chinese heritage people doing anything. Get a grip.

You demanded I make a case about defamation laws, it has been an issue we have spoken out about in the past, you should already be on board. If not you have the capacity to search for yourself, or you shouldn’t be in politics. Asking me to explain it for you is lazy and vindictive so I responded in kind. Don’t be a dickhead and I won’t treat you like one.


The implication in articles like this is that China/CCP is planting agents into Australia and therefore we should be dubious of all Chinese origin people because any of them could be an agent here to undermine us.

There is already a growing anti-Chinese sentiment growing in Australia, particularly when it comes to home buying in Melbourne and Sydney, so we need to be mindful not to alienate regular Australians who are also of Chinese ethnicity, the vast majority of which aren’t secret agents of the CCP.

What happens if or when Australia suspends citizenship to anyone of Chinese background because “they could be a spy”? That’s where this hysteria is heading.

If they are worried about defamation or some other law being used against them (like Clive Palmer wrongly being accused of fraud) there’s a thing called Wikileaks, use it (or find someone else to take the heat).

I’d feel far more comfortable if we weren’t operating on circumstantial evidence that “There is a Chinese/CCP conspiracy going on” and work off actual evidence to take down these channels of corruption and foreign influence (and fix the systems itself so that another nefarious group can’t do the same) rather than leave it open that “It could be anyone”.

In fact, this kind of pussyfooting around could create a self-fulfilling prophecy where the public distrust against Chinese (currently the average person can’t differentiate between CCP China and people who look Chinese) and this causes Chinese-background people to feel alienated from the rest of society, and in turn pushes them towards Chinese media outlets where if there is actual CCP involvement, could then actually be manipulated in the way that is being claimed.

This is what we are currently seeing with Violent Extremism… and whenever that issue gets conflated with non-violent Muslims, it disenfranchises them just a little bit more into an “us vs them” mentality.

Similarly, it’s absolutely critical for there to be a distinction between CCP and their agents, and people who are ethnically Chinese.

I know that you are just posting an article here and not a call to action. Maybe there is some substance behind the claims of the CCP. Whatever the case, if were to take any action on the issue of CCP influence (and personally, I think we should) we would need to be much more careful than to simply avoid saying “Chinese” (even though the source articles say “Chinese” all over it), but we’d need to take positive action to make that distinction.

In fact, why don’t we jump on board with the CCP Influence issue? Would could position ourselves as the save haven for Chinese-background people who want to avoid being labelled for the actions of the CCP, while simultaneously reaching out to these Authors/Journalists to get the information they are too scared to publish and we put it out for them (we’d have to do the whole cold war thing of meeting in a secret location with mobile phones off, etc. that’d be pretty cool).