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Considering its relatively tiny population of just 25 million, Australia punches well above its weight on the global stage. And as Washington maneuvers to check the growth of Chinese military power around the world, Canberra is becoming an increasingly important battleground in the war of influence.
Despite Australia's economic synergies with China, the relationship between the countries has deteriorated as disturbing evidence of political and economic interference carried out by Beijing in Australia has come to light.
China - Efforts - Australia - System - Intelligence
China's efforts to infiltrate Australia's political system and its intelligence community is a huge problem, not just for Australia, but for the US and many of its closest allies.
That's because Australia is part of a shadowy and extremely powerful group called the Five Eyes intelligence alliance. Though it's not widely known to the public, Five Eyes, which includes the US, Canada, New Zealand and the UK, is critically important. The alliance is already on edge over the possibility that Moscow may have turned a high-ranking Canadian intelligence official, who may have clued the Kremlin in to Five Eyes operations.
Reuters - Reports - Australia - Spy - Agency
Now, Reuters reports, Australia's domestic spy agency is investigating whether Beijing tried to get a sleeper agent elected to Australia's federal parliament in what Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described as a "deeply disturbing" plot.
The case was brought to the public's attention last night, when the Australian version of "60 Minutes" ran a report about the plot that was put together with several newspaper partners, including the Sydney Morning Herald. According to the story, Melbourne luxury car dealer Bo "Nick" Zhao was offered a "seven figure sum" by a Chinese espionage ring to run for a seat in parliament.
Security - Intelligence - Organization - ASIO - Investigation
The Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO) said it had launched an investigation into the alleged scheme long before the '60 Minutes' report. The agency said it's taking these claims...
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