House debates

Thursday, 18 February 2021



12:29 pm

Photo of Kevin AndrewsKevin Andrews (Menzies, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

If there's a silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic, it surely must be that the west is finally waking up to the true nature of the communist regime in China. For far too long many people in the West—indeed, in this country—naively believed that China was no longer communist and was on some pathway to a form of liberal democracy. That illusion has been shattered particularly in relation to the ongoing cover-up of COVID-19.

I want to refer to two books which are required reading these days for members of the Chinese Communist Party and should be required reading for policymakers in the West. They're the latest of Xi Jinping's books, published in November and December last year. The first book is titled On the Party's Propaganda and Ideological Work, which collects about 52 of his speeches and writings over a number of years. He insists:

China is red, and this color cannot be diluted. It is necessary to tell the stories of the party, the revolution, the origin, the stories of heroes and martyrs, strengthen revolutionary tradition education, patriotic education, and youth ideological and moral education, and carry on the red gene to ensure that the red country will never change its color.

To contrast one of his and the Chinese regime's grievances against Australia, that our media carries unfriendly reports from time to time about China, he insists that the media 'must firmly adhere to the principle of party spirit, firmly adhere to the Marxist outlook on news, firmly adhere to the principle of correct orientation of public opinion, and firmly promote positive publicity of the party'. One only has to read the mouthpiece of the CCP, the Global Times, against the West, to see what that means in practice from the Chinese perspective. He insists that the Chinese people 'must continue to accept the nourishment of Marxist philosophical wisdom, and more consciously adhere to and apply the dialectical materialist world outlook and methodology'. Doubling down, President Xi Jinping demands that the 'Chinese communists still have to learn and practice Marxism, and continuously draw scientific wisdom and theoretical strength from it'.

His second book was published just before Christmas and it's titled, On Persistence in Comprehensively Governing the Country According to Law. It's again a collection of speeches over about five or six years. But President Xi Jinping's conception of the rule of law bears no resemblance to its Western counterpart. As we know, it's one of the foundations of democracy in countries like Australia. Although there are different interpretations of what is encapsulated in it, there are some common understandings, such as that government operates under the law, that there are effective procedures to ensure it does, that courts are independent and impartial, and that natural justice and equality before the law are maintained. Central democracy is the idea that power corrupts. As James Madison wrote in 'Federalist Paper No. 51':

... the great security against a gradual concentration of the several powers in the same department, consists in giving to those who administer each department, the necessary constitutional means, and personal motives, to resist encroachments of the others.

This concept, which is common in the West, and, as I say, underpins our democracy, is completely rejected by Xi, who uses the concept of law to concentrate power in the hands of the CCP. In various speeches set out in the book, he applies his principle to every person and institution involved with the law, from police and regulatory authorities to lawyers, judges and courts. Understanding Xi's communist ideology is therefore critical in the West. It explains his regime's abuse of human rights, his willingness to ignore international arrangements and his disregard for formal agreements. It's why China, for example, blatantly disregards its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation and in free trade agreements.

Not only does President Xi Jinping insist that the law should be subject to the party; he says that international law should also be subject to the same dictates. Those who believe that China's on a path to greater political freedom should take notice of a remark he made at a conference on the rule of law in November, in which he said that he wants this Marxist model about the rule of law applied universally—not just in China but throughout the world. As early as 2014, he spoke of constructing international playgrounds and creating the rules for the games played in them. Unfortunately, he wasn't referring to some sporting contest; his goal, despite the fancy references to scientific socialism with Chinese characteristics, is that his ideology would be applied right around the world. One application of this we see right now in Hong Kong, where the rule of law, according to Carrie Lam, is subject to the dictates of the Communist Party, and we know what's happening, tragically, in that country.


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