China admits to monitoring DOZENS of Australian social media accounts
China has admitted monitoring dozens of Australian social media accounts of ‘anti-Chinese forces’.
The Chinese government activity was revealed at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, near Shanghai.
Anti-terrorism chief Mei Jianming said China was tracking Twitter accounts belonging to ‘East Turkestan Islamic’ terrorists around the world
A world map showed 34 accounts in Australia, and a separate chart featured three Uyghur community groups in Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The study highlighted ‘anti-Chinese forces’ working with terrorist supporters, Mei said.
Those activities included the use of ‘twisted facts’ and ‘polluted language’ to advocate for independence in the Xinjiang autonomous region of China, he said.
The same accounts were guilty of disparaging China’s vaunted One Belt One Road Initiative – to which
Xinjiang is vital – and China’s ‘national strategy’ in the region.
Xinjiang expert James Leibold of La Trobe University said the news did not come as a surprise, and had left a number of Uyghurs in Australia afraid to contact relatives.
‘[They] fear that it might invite unwelcome interferences from security officials,’ he said.
China is battling groups such as the Turkistan Islamic Party, a jihadist organisation seeking to set up an independent state of East Turkestan in Xinjiang.
Uyghurs were under heavy surveillance, and all residents in Xinjiang were required to install a smartphone app that monitors users for terrorist materials, Mr Leibold said
Those who do not install the app are punished with ten days in detention, he said.
Cao Shiquan, president of the People’s Public Security University of China, said China needed to use advanced technology and big data to monitor terrorists.
The news comes amid increasing concern about Chinese interference in Australian politics.
The Turnbull Government announced a series of proposed law changes, including a ban political parties from accepting foreign donations.