SYDNEY, Australia — In a gold-curtained meeting room in Sydney, the Chinese consul general appealed to a closed-door gathering of about 100 people, all of them Australian residents and citizens of Chinese ancestry.
澳大利亚悉尼——在悉尼一间挂着金色窗帘的会议室里,中国总领事向出席一个闭门会议的大约100人发出呼吁,这些人都是澳大利亚的华裔居民和公民。
He called on the group to help shape public opinion during a coming visit of China’s prime minister, Li Keqiang, in part by reporting critics to the consulate. Rallies in support of China should be coordinated, he suggested, and large banners should be unfurled to block images of protests against Beijing.
他呼吁与会者在即将到来的中国总理李克强访问期间帮助塑造公众舆论,其中一个做法是向领事馆报告持批评观点的人。他建议,应该协调一下支持中国的集会,还应该用展开的大型横幅来遮掩反对北京的抗议场面。
“We are not troops, but this task is a bit like the nature of troops,” said the diplomat, Gu Xiaojie, according to a recording of the session in the consulate obtained by The New York Times and verified by a person who was in the room. “This is a war,” he added, “with lots of battles.”
“我们不是军队,但这项任务有点军队的性质,”据《纽约时报》获得的这次领事馆会议的记录,顾小杰总领事说。这些话也得到了一名与会者的证实。“这是一场有很多场战斗的战争,”顾小杰补充道。
The previously unreported meeting in March 2017 is an example of how the Chinese government directly — and often secretly — engages in political activity in Australia, making the nation a laboratory for testing how far it can go to steer debate and influence policy inside a democratic trade partner.
这个此前未见诸报道的会议是于2017年3月间举行的,它是中国政府如何直接——而且往往是秘密地——参与澳大利亚政治活动的一个例子。澳大利亚正在成为中国测验自己在一个民主贸易伙伴的内部,在引导辩论和影响政策方面能走多远的实验室。
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It is a calculated campaign unlike any other Australia has faced — taking advantage of the nation’s openness, growing ethnic Chinese population and economic ties to China — and it has provoked an uncomfortable debate about how Australia should respond.
这是澳大利亚未曾面临过的一场精心策划的运动——利用它的开放、不断增长的华裔人口以及与中国的经济联系,而且中国的做法在澳大利亚还引发了一场该如何应对的辩论,辩论令人不安。
Many countries face the same challenge from China, an authoritarian power pushing its agenda inside and beyond its borders.
许多国家都面临着来自中国的同样挑战,这个威权主义国家正在国内外推行自己的议程。
In Asia, China has been accused of funneling funds to the campaigns of preferred presidential candidates in Malaysia and Sri Lanka. In the United States, there is concern about Beijing’s efforts to stifle dissent on college campuses. And in Europe, Chinese companies and organizations tied to the ruling Communist Party have held events for political leaders and donated millions of dollars to universities.
在亚洲,中国被指控向受其青睐的马来西亚和斯里兰卡的总统候选人提供资金。在美国,有人担心北京试图压制大学校园里的异见。在欧洲,与执政的共产党有联系的中国公司和组织为政治领导人举办活动,并向大学捐赠了数百万美元。
China once sought to spread Marxist revolution around the world, but its goal now is more subtle — winning support for a trade and foreign policy agenda intended to boost its geopolitical standing and maintain its monopoly on power at home.
中国曾试图将马克思主义革命传播到世界各地,但它现在的目标更不易觉察——为旨在提升地缘政治地位、维持其在国内权力垄断地位的贸易和外交政策议程赢得支持。
The contours of its playbook are especially visible in Australia, where trade with China has fueled the world’s longest economic boom. Australian intelligence agencies have warned of Beijing’s efforts, and the issue is likely to be contentious for Australia’s conservative prime minister, Scott Morrison, who won a surprise victory in elections Saturday.
中国的做法在澳大利亚尤为明显,它与中国的贸易推动了全球持续时间最长的经济繁荣。澳大利亚情报机构已对北京的努力发出了警告,对澳大利亚保守派总理斯科特·莫里森(Scott Morrison)来说,这个问题很可能会引发争议。莫里森在上周六在大选中意外获胜
反对党工党参议员邓森因收钱支持亲中政策的指控而辞职。
反对党工党参议员邓森因收钱支持亲中政策的指控而辞职。 William West/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Representatives of the Chinese government routinely lobby Australian politicians behind closed doors without disclosing their activities, often by threatening economic punishment and persuading Australian business and academic leaders to deliver their message.
中国政府的代表经常秘而不宣、暗地里游说澳大利亚政界人士,还往往以经济惩罚为威胁,并说服澳大利亚工商界和学术界领袖转交他们的信息。
The Chinese government and its supporters have also sought to suppress criticism and elevate its views in the Australian news media, by suing journalists and publishers for defamation, financing research institutes and using advertisers to put pressure on Chinese-language outlets.
中国政府及其支持者通过对记者和出版商提起诽谤诉讼,为研究机构提供资金,以及用广告商来向中文媒体施压等做法,企图在澳大利亚新闻媒体上压制批评意见,提升自己的观点。
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Beijing has even promoted political candidates in Australia with these outlets as well as via the United Front Work Department, the party’s arm for dealing with overseas Chinese, and — according to some assessments — with campaign contributions made by proxies.
北京甚至通过这些渠道以及中共负责侨务工作的统战部,还有一些人认为是通过代理人给竞选捐款的做法,来帮助澳大利亚的政治候选人。
Last year, after a scandal involving donors with ties to Beijing forced a senator to resign, Parliament approved an overhaul of espionage laws making it illegal to influence Australian politics for a foreign government.
去年,在涉及与北京有联系的捐款人丑闻迫使一名参议员辞职后,澳大利亚议会通过了对间谍法修订,对外国政府影响澳大利亚政治的做法明确为非法行为。
Australia’s new government — led by Mr. Morrison, who has been vague about his plans for foreign policy — must now decide what to do next at a time when the public is divided: Many Australians fear China but also favor good relations to maintain economic growth and regional stability.
在公众舆论出现分歧的时候,一直对自己的外交政策计划含糊其辞的莫里森所领导的澳大利亚新政府,现在必须对下一步该做什么做出决定:许多澳大利亚人害怕中国,但同时也希望与中国保持良好关系,以保持经济增长和区域稳定。
“There is a lot to unravel with the China story here,” said Mark Harrison, a China scholar at the University of Tasmania.
“中国在这里有很多需要澄清的事情,”塔斯马尼亚大学(University of Tasmania)研究中国问题的学者韩马克(Mark Harrison)说。
The Communist Party, he said, is essentially trying to enforce the same bargain with Australia that it has with the Chinese people: a promise of prosperity in exchange for obedience and censorship.
他说,中国共产党本质上是在试图把它与中国人民所做的交易强行实施于澳大利亚:保证繁荣,以换取服从与审查。
2014年,中国国家主席习近平在澳大利亚议会发表讲话。
2014年,中国国家主席习近平在澳大利亚议会发表讲话。 Rick Rycroft/Associated Press
Weaponized Economics
把经济当作武器
China’s economic bonds with Australia can be traced to the 19th century, when a gold rush drew Chinese immigrants to the continent. Now, China is an engine of economic growth for the country and its largest trading partner by far, accounting for 24 percent of Australian imports and exports.
中国与澳大利亚的经济联系可以追溯到19世纪,当时的淘金热把中国移民吸引到了澳洲。如今,中国是澳大利亚经济增长的引擎,也是澳大利亚最大的贸易伙伴,与中国的贸易占澳大利亚进出口总额的24%
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With that reliance comes an implied threat: China can take its money elsewhere.
这种依赖关系带来了一个潜在的威胁:中国可以把钱拿到别的地方去。
The problem, current and former Australian officials say, is the Chinese government rarely discloses its lobbying activities. Australian businesses linked to China often lean on politicians without public scrutiny, leading security agencies to warn about Beijing manipulating politics.
澳大利亚的现任和前任官员说,问题在于中国政府很少披露自己的游说活动。与中国有联系的澳大利亚企业经常在不受公众监督的情况下对政界人士施压,安全机构因此发出了北京在操纵政治的警告。
“In no country is there such a profound rift between business community and security,” said Linda Jakobson, founding director of China Matters, a nonprofit policy group based in Sydney.
“没有任何一个国家的工商界和安全部门之间有如此深刻的分歧,”总部位于悉尼的非营利政策组织中国事务(China Matters)的创始主任琳达·雅各布森(Linda Jakobson)说。
Critics say China has exploited that rift — and even tried to use its economic leverage to punish Australia for adopting the new law requiring those working on behalf of a “foreign principal” to register their activities.
批评人士称,中国利用了这种分歧,甚至试图利用其经济影响力对澳大利亚通过新间谍法的做法进行惩罚,新法律要求那些为“外国当事人”工作的人登记他们的活动。
In June, Australian winemakers said they were facing problems with their exports to China, and a major deal to expand chilled beef exports into China — negotiated during Mr. Li’s visit — stalled. In January and February, China also delayed coal imports from Australia at some ports.
去年6月,澳大利亚的酿酒商说,他们在向中国出口方面遇到了问题,李克强访问期间达成的扩大冷冻牛肉向中国出口的重大交易也进展缓慢。今年1月和2月,中国还在一些港口推迟了澳大利亚进口煤炭的进港。
Beijing denied any effort to punish Australia, and Australian politicians have brushed off these disputes. But it hardly the first time Beijing blurred the lines between business and politics.
中国政府否认存在惩罚澳大利亚的做法,澳大利亚政界人士也不把这些争端当回事。但这并不是北京第一次模糊商业和政治之间的界限。
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In 2009, the Australian government rejected a bid by a Chinese state-owned firm to purchase 18 percent of Rio Tinto, the Anglo-Australian mining giant, after officials argued privately that the sale would give China too much power to set prices.
2009年,澳大利亚政府拒绝了一家中国国有企业收购英澳矿业巨头力拓公司(Rio Tinto)18%股份的投标,之前,澳大利亚官员私下里认为,这笔交易将赋予中国太多的定价权。
Beijing’s response was an early version of what has since become common in the relationship: a campaign to pressure the Australian government via China’s business partners.
北京的回应是在两国关系中日已司空见惯的一个早期版本:通过中国的商业伙伴向澳大利亚政府施压。
Chinese officials and investors “put the weights on the relevant Australian executives,” Kevin Rudd, the prime minister at the time, recalled in an interview. “The whole idea at that stage was to maximize business lobby pressure on the government.”
中国官员和投资者“向澳大利亚的有关高管施加了压力”,时任澳大利亚总理的陆克文(Kevin Rudd)在接受采访时回忆说。“那个阶段的全部想法就是让商业游说团体最大化地向政府施压。”
Silencing Dissent
压制异见
拥有澳大利亚公民身份的房地产开发商、亿万富翁周泽荣对澳大利亚媒体发起诽谤诉讼。
拥有澳大利亚公民身份的房地产开发商、亿万富翁周泽荣对澳大利亚媒体发起诽谤诉讼。 Peter Rae/EPA, via Shutterstock
In May 2018, two children in Rockhampton, a rural capital of beef production, painted tiny Taiwanese flags on a statue of a bull during an event celebrating the town’s diversity. There were flags from many countries, but the local government painted over those from Taiwan to avoid offending Beijing, which says the self-governing island is part of China.
2018年5月,在以牛肉生产为主的农业小镇洛克汉普顿的一个庆祝该市多元化的活动中,两个孩子在一座公牛塑像上画了小小的台湾国旗。塑像上画了很多国家的国旗,但当地政府用油漆覆盖了台湾国旗,以免冒犯北京。北京认为这个自治的岛屿是中国的一部分。
“What they want are pre-emptive concessions to Chinese interests,” said Peter Varghese, a former head of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“他们要的是对中国的利益先发制人地做出让步,”澳大利亚外交贸易部前部长彼得·瓦尔盖塞(Peter Varghese)说。
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Analysts say Beijing tries both to suppress speech in Australia that undercuts its priorities — such as the diplomatic isolation of Taiwan — and to promote its own agenda.
分析人士说,北京一方面试图在澳大利亚压制削弱中国优先事务(比如在外交上孤立台湾)的言论,另一方面也试图在澳大利亚推动中国的议程。
Critics say one prominent example is the Australia-China Relations Institute, a research organization in Sydney led until recently by Bob Carr, a former foreign minister and outspoken defender of China’s positions. The institute was established with a gift from Huang Xiangmo, a Chinese real-estate developer who had donated generously to both of Australia’s main political parties.
批评人士说,一个突出的例子是澳中关系研究所(Australia-China Relations Institute)。这家位于悉尼的研究机构直到最近一直由前外交部长鲍伯·卡尔(Bob Carr)领导。卡尔直言不讳地维护中国的立场。这个研究所是由中国房地产开发商黄向默捐钱成立的,黄向默曾向澳大利亚的主要政党慷慨解囊。
Australia recently rejected his citizenship application and revoked his residency, despite his denials of having acted on behalf of the Communist Party.
澳大利亚最近拒绝了他的入籍申请,并撤销了他的居留资格,尽管他否认曾为共产党做事。
China has also had success shaping news coverage in Australia, especially in Chinese-language outlets.
中国在影响澳大利亚的新闻报道方面,尤其是中文媒体的报道上也很成功。
Maree Ma, general manager of the company that owns Vision China Times, a newspaper in Sydney and Melbourne, said Chinese officials successfully pressured businesses in 2015 and 2016 to pull their ads because of its critical coverage.
悉尼和墨尔本报纸《看中国》(Vision China Times)的母公司总经理马玛雷(Maree Ma,音)说,因为该报的批评报道,中国官员曾经在2015年2016年成功向企业施压,要求他们撤下广告。
And before Saturday’s election, on WeChat — the Chinese social media platform, which is also popular in Australia — accounts affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party mocked the conservative government, disparaging Australia as “a country whose head has been kicked hard by kangaroos.”
在周六的选举之前,在微信——在澳大利亚也很受欢迎的中国社交媒体平台——上,隶属于中共的账户嘲笑保守党政府,诋毁澳大利亚的“脑袋被袋鼠踢的不轻”。
English-language outlets are not immune to the pressure. In 2017, one of Australia’s largest independent publishers delayed publication of a book examining Chinese influence in Australian institutions.
英文媒体也不能幸免于这种压力。2017年,澳大利亚最大的独立出版商之一推迟出版一本研究中国对澳大利亚机构施加影响的书。
Because Australian law favors plaintiffs in defamation suits, some say such cases — including a large payout in February to Chau Chak Wing, a Chinese-born property tycoon and political donor — have had a chilling effect on reporting and public protesting that might anger Beijing or its allies.
由于澳大利亚法律在诽谤诉讼中偏向原告,一些人表示,此类案件——包括今年2月向华裔地产大亨、政治捐赠人周泽荣支付的巨额赔偿金——对可能激怒北京或其盟友的报道和公开抗议会有寒蝉效应。
At the Chinese consulate in 2017, organizers showed photos of pro-China activists in Australia roughing up protesters from the Falun Gong spiritual movement, which is banned in China.
在2017年中国领事馆的那次会议上,组织者展示了澳大利亚的亲中活动人士殴打法轮功灵修运动抗议者的照片。法轮功在中国被禁。
The audience applauded.
观众爆发出掌声。
Running for Office
竞选公职
霍巴特,著名的华裔政治候选人唐咏北。
霍巴特,著名的华裔政治候选人唐咏北。 Matthew Abbott for The New York Times
China’s playbook prioritizes one particular group: Australia’s growing ethnic Chinese population, a diverse group of more than one million people, about half of whom are immigrants from mainland China.
中国的战略重点是一个特殊群体:澳大利亚不断增长的华裔人口,这是一个超过100万人口的多元化群体,其中约一半是来自中国大陆的移民。
At times, the Chinese government treats Australian citizens of Chinese ancestry as if they’re still subject to its rule. Critics of Beijing are often pressured. In January, Yang Hengjun, an Australian writer and former Chinese official, was arrested on dubious charges of espionage while visiting China.
有时,中国政府对待澳大利亚中国移民的方式,就像他们仍然受其统治一样。批评北京的人士经常面临压力。今年1月,澳大利亚作家、前中国官员杨恒均在访问中国期间因涉嫌间谍罪被捕。
More often, Beijing tries to woo people like Yongbei Tang.
更多时候,北京会试图吸引像唐咏北这样的人。
Ms. Tang moved to Australia 23 years ago with her husband, an electrical engineer, settling in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, where she started editing a newspaper called Chinese News Tasmania. Last year, she ran for the City Council.
23年前,唐咏北跟随从事电气工程师工作的丈夫搬到了澳大利亚,定居在塔斯马尼亚州首府霍巴特,她在那里开始编辑一份名为《塔州华人报》(Chinese News Tasmania)的报纸。去年,她竞选市议会议员。
“All the people in the community know me,” she said, when asked why. “I’m a media person. Influential.”
“社区里所有人都认识我,”当被问及原因时,她说。“我是个媒体人。有影响力。”
Ms. Tang had also helped start a local chapter of the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, which promulgates Beijing’s position that Taiwan is part of China. The group was established by Mr. Huang, the donor whose residency was revoked, and Australian intelligence officials say it is an arm of the party’s overseas influence efforts.
唐咏北还出力在本地开设了澳洲中国和平统一促进会(Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China)的分会,该组织宣扬北京方面的立场,即台湾是中国的一部分。该组织由黄向默创建,就是那位居留资格遭撤销的政治捐赠者,澳大利亚的情报官员称,这个组织参与了中国在海外施加影响力的行动。
That connection and others made Ms. Tang, an Australian citizen, a subject of intense debate during the campaign, which she lost. Several local Chinese leaders published an open letter condemning her “hiding of titles of many organizations including her association with the Chinese Government.”
这种联系以及其他一些因素,使身为澳大利亚公民的唐咏北在竞选期间引发激烈辩论,她的竞选以失败告终。几名当地的侨领发表了一封公开信,谴责她“隐瞒了在许多组织的头衔,包括她与中国政府的联系”。
Cassy O’Connor, the leader of the local Greens Party, accused her of being part of an attempt by Beijing to dominate the Tasmanian tourism and property investment. “The Chinese government actually picks off smaller states like Tasmania, with smaller economies,” she said.
当地绿党(Greens Party)领袖卡西·奥康纳(Cassy O'Connor)指责她在参与北京方面的行动,要在塔斯马尼亚旅游业和房地产投资中形成绝对优势。她说:“中国政府实际上选择了像塔斯马尼亚这样经济规模较小的州下手。”
Ms. Tang denied any ties to the party. “The only wrongdoing I did was to put my hand up, wishing to add a different voice to the Hobart City Council,” she said.
唐咏北否认与中共有任何联系。她说:“我唯一做错的事就是举起了手,希望为霍巴特市议会增添不同的声音。”
What Ms. Tang actually reveals, analysts say, is the party’s ability to recruit sympathizers around the world, many of whom gravitate to Beijing’s orbit less because of ideology than the potential for wealth and influence. Even after her loss, she received favorable coverage on state television in China.
分析人士称,唐咏北实际上揭示的是,中共有能力在世界各地招募支持者,其中许多人之所以被吸引到北京的轨道上,并非因为意识形态,而是因为潜在的财富和影响力。即使在失败后,她在中国的国家电视台也获得了正面的报道。
For many, Australian politics has become an increasingly valuable option — one of many ways to potentially benefit from Chinese power and prosperity.
对许多人来说,澳大利亚政治已成为一个越来越有价值的选择——它是从中国的实力和繁荣中获益的许多潜在途径之一。
“We are no longer the sick man of East Asia,” said one business leader at the consulate meeting in 2017. “We Chinese stand tall.”
“我们不再是东亚病夫,”一名商界领袖在2017年的领事馆会议上说。“我们中国人昂首挺胸。”