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Power and Influence: The hard edge of China's soft power - Four Corners

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It’s a tale of secrets, power and intimidation.

“They want to influence Australia. They want a stronger presence in Australia.”

China is our most important trading partner, making a strong relationship vital to Australia’s national interest.   But there are growing concerns about covert Chinese actions taking place on Australian soil.

“Every government has an interest in promoting itself abroad to extending its soft power, I guess what’s different about China is the way in which its run through these clandestine operations.”

Five months in the making, this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation uncovers how China’s Communist Party is secretly infiltrating Australia.

The investigation tracks the activities of Beijing-backed organisations and the efforts made to intimidate opponents of the Chinese Communist party.

“The way the Chinese Government operates is effectively to control and silence dissent.”

And investigates the influence of individuals who have access to political and business leaders.

“Even if they're not receiving any kind of direction, they would feel some sense of obligation, or indeed make the right impression on the powers that be in China, to demonstrate that they're being good members of the party, that they're pursuing the party's interests.”  

The findings will be released in a series of stories through Fairfax Media and ABC platforms, reported by Fairfax’s Nick McKenzie and the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann, culminating in the Four Corners broadcast on Monday night, detailing the full revelations.

Power and Influence, reported by Nick McKenzie and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 5th June at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 6th June at 10.00am and Wednesday 7th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

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