Allegations of a plot to install a Chinese spy in Australia’s Parliament have emerged, with the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, saying the claims were ‘deeply disturbing’.
The claims were first made by an Australian news channel, Channel Nine. Apparently a Chinese spy ring had approached an Australian-Chinese man, Bo ‘Nick’ Zhao, to run for Parliament. An offer was made to fund Zhao’s campaign to the tune of A$1 million. Zhao was an ordinary member of the governing Liberal party. He reported the advance to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation last year. However, Zhao was found dead in a hotel in Melbourne in March this year. To date, the cause of death has not been determined, and the identity of the killer is unknown.
The Chinese government denied the allegations, saying that Australia was in a ‘state of hysteria and extreme nervousness.’
This is not the first time there has been alleged Chinese meddling in antipodean affairs. In 2017 Jian Yang, a member of the Parliament of New Zealand, was accused of having taught English to Chinese spies in the 1980s and 1990s, something which Yang admitted to.
Yang had moved from China to New Zealand in 1999.
As China tries to increase its influence around the world, it is likely that such incidents will become more common.