The World

Apr 4, 2018

Clive Hamilton and his (mildly justified) conspiracy theory

Clive Hamilton's book on Chinese influence works best when it dissects the activities of Australia's clutch of China apologists. But he struggles to show how any Beijing influence has ever been effectively used.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Clive Hamilton. Credit: Takver

Clive Hamilton

Clive Hamilton, it's fair to say, has an issue with China. In February 2014, he published an article in The Guardian claiming that "cash pouring in from China" was driving Sydney housing prices up. "A good deal of secrecy surrounds the trend, yet observers know something worrying is happening," he insisted. Alas, Clive and The Guardian came a cropper; The Guardian ended up editing his article and appending a note to it:

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6 thoughts on “Clive Hamilton and his (mildly justified) conspiracy theory

  1. [email protected]

    What do you rely on as evidence for your assertion that China is ‘the world’s most brutal dictatorship’? With so many to choose from, I’m a bit mystified as to how you arrived at your conclusion. Were there specific criteria or measures that you used comparatively to come to this conclusion? A serious reply would be appreciated.

  2. [email protected]

    Mr Keane might check his own facts before accusing Clive Hamilton of being sloppy with them. On my way to work on that day in April 2008 – having spent a decade working in and on China for DFAT, 1994-2004, for which I learned Mandarin to a fair conversational and reading level, I saw close-up the action organised by the Chinese Embassy against those demonstrating for various causes. It was not confined to Reconciliation Place, stretching from Vernon Circle across Commonwealth Bridge and later to ANZAC Parade. I saw demonstrators harassed, abused and threatened, and in one case intervened. It was a frightening experience. Mr Keane’s snide tone (‘screed’) about a serious contribution to a crucial debate does him small credit, and reminds me why I cancelled my subscription to Crikey some years ago. This time I’ll persevere.

  3. granorlewis

    This man is a fool – beats me why anyone would read his stuff, let alone react/respond.

  4. [email protected]

    Which one is the racist? Hamilton or Keane? Both

  5. Lorraine Paul

    Bernard, I think you should stick to homing Greyhounds and leave serious analysis to others who might have a clue. ‘…Beijing appeasers…’, ‘…murderous thugs who run China…’. Really?? Talk about damn with faint praise.
    I merely glanced through your piece of hyperbole because my digestive system is not of the best and becomes upset very easily.

    I am of an age to remember when there was an embargo surrounding China, not even penicillin was allowed through for sick children. Who were the ‘murderous thugs’ then?? Why our own government, of course, along with every other pro-US government.

    I also remember the screams of the right-wing and racists in Australia when Gough opened talks with China. Such a setback for them when Nixon did the same.

    Speaking of the right-wing and racists, as recently as 1996 our most prominent racist, Pauline, was warning us about the perils of the ‘yellow hordes’ about to descend on us any moment. Obviously, a new moment for the ‘Perils of Pauline’.

    Australia has never been backward in lauding ‘murderous thugs’. Marcos, Ceaucescu (a good mate of Lang Hancock), the Kosovo Liberation Army (drug-runners), Bush, et al. Unfortunately, those Chinese ‘thugs’ have never reached the heights, or depths, of that line-up.

    The first president of the Australia-China Friendship Society, back in the 1950’s was Alan (I Can Jump Puddles) Marshall. I would often attend their functions with my mother. I have been to mainland China and Hong Kong. I saw little difference between Beijing and Hong Kong. The same multi-national corporations can be found there. I want to keep visiting China until I can’t. A culture that goes back to before the birth of that imaginary figure’s birthday. I love the place and the people.

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