September 10th 2016

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY 'Born that way' far from being scientifically verified

CANBERRA OBSERVED Malcolm's 25-point action plan is a bit dusty

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Chinese Australians deplore Mao celebration

U.S. POLITICS A superficial comparison: Donald is no Ronald

VIETNAM MEMOIR Reminder of communist tyranny from a good man

AUSTRALIAN MILITARY HISTORY 10 more awards for Long Tan after 50-year delay

EUTHANASIA BOOK REVIEW Moving stories by no means the whole story

UNITED STATES LABOUR The dwindling state of the States' unions

MUSIC The past is a present and enduring danger

CINEMA Stop-motion serves memory: Kubo and the Two Strings

BOOK REVIEW The West's left turn into today


EDITORIAL 'Free market' ideology a failure: economists

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Chinese Australians deplore Mao celebration

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, September 10, 2016

A large number of Australians of Chinese descent have signed a petition deploring concerts being held in Sydney and Melbourne in September, to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong.

A flyer promoting the concerts, written in Chinese, says that Mao “brought 76 years of peace and stable development for the Chinese people, until today where China has been restored to the status of an international major power”.

Shangxiao Han, who migrated to Australia in 1988, just before the Tiananmen Square Massacre, recalled the tens of millions of people murdered as a result of Mao’s Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

“For them, Mao is just like Stalin to Russians or Hitler to Germans – he’s a mass murderer in their judgement, so they’re very angry.”

His comments were echoed by Frank Ruan Jie, editor of the Tiananmen Times. He said: “These concerts are conducted and supported by the Chinese communist regime to glorify Chairman Mao.

“Mao was the advocate and executor of violence and dictatorship. His brutal rule caused over 80 million Chinese people to die.”


Mr Ruan Jie added: “Australia is a country of freedom and all of its people can enjoy their freedom of expression. But in my opinion, to glorify Mao, the founder of the communist dictatorship, is obviously betraying basic Australian values of democracy and peace.”

The Embrace Australian Values Alliance established an online petition on, to the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, and her fellow councillors, asking for the concert in Sydney to be cancelled.

The petition said: “We are deeply concerned about a concert in tribute to Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung), to be held at the Sydney Town Hall on September 6, 2016, with another in Melbourne three days later.

“Mao was the head of the Chinese Communist Party. His regime and legacy is controversial among the Chinese people.

“This sentiment is also reflected in the Australian-Chinese community. More and more people see him as one of the most cold-blooded dictators in human history, surpassing the cruelty of Hitler in Germany, Stalin in Russia and Pol Pot in Cambodia.

“In actual fact, large amounts of historical evidence show that Mao was personally responsible for massive tortures and persecutions resulting in the deaths of over 70 million Chinese people. He destroyed the Chinese people’s traditional culture; he persecuted all religious believers; he tore down temples and monasteries; he banned all forms of democracy and social freedom.

“Maoism instigates violence and hate against Western laws and society. Mao and his crimes against humanity contravene everything that Australian Values stands for.

“Australia is not the place for publicising or glorifying Mao. As taxpayers of this great country, we cannot tolerate tributes to a violent dictator at a prominent Council venue, the Sydney Town Hall.

“Sydney City Council should not be associated with a tyrant whom most people consider the biggest mass murderer in history.

“Despite Australia being a multicultural country with respect for freedom of speech, this freedom must be exercised under our Australian values.

“We call upon the Sydney City Council to:

“1. Immediately terminate the agreement for the concert to be held at Sydney Town Hall on September 6, 2016.

“2. Ensure no concerts glorifying Mao are held at any council venues within the Sydney City Council.”

These concerts are not the only signs of an unprecedented push by the Chinese Government to bring pressure to bear in Australia, particularly on the growing Chinese community here.

On September 23 in Sydney, a concert will be held in the Sydney suburb of Hurstville, organised by a group claiming to be retired members of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The concert will celebrate the anniversary of the “the 8.1 Corps in Australia”, and the founding of the “Union of Demobilised Soldiers from China”.

To Australians, this is meaningless. But to people familiar with Chinese history, 8.1 refers to the date August 1. This date is the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, the army of the Chinese Communist Party.

On August 1, 1927, the Chinese Communist Party launched the first armed insurgency to overthrow the government of the Republic of China.

After a 20-year struggle, during much of which the Chinese government was battling the invading Japanese, Mao Zedong overthrew the Chinese government and installed a communist regime in Beijing.

The public promotion of Maoism in Australia has not been seen since the collapse of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) over 20 years ago.

John Fitzgerald, director of the Asia Pacific Program at Swinburne University in Melbourne, said: “Mao was a cunning and destructive character – 70 per cent bad, 30 per cent worse. Those nostalgic for his rule may be unwitting dupes of others with equally destructive intent.”

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