Voices in support of Anne-Marie Brady

Many, perhaps most, readers will have seen the article by Matt Nippert on the front page of yesterday’s Herald, about Professor Anne-Marie Brady and indications that her car may have been sabotaged.  This, of course, comes in the wake of break-ins to Professor Brady’s home and office, that are still –  months afterwards –  being investigated by the Police.  The strong suspicion has been that agents of the People’s Republic of China were involved in the break-ins, including (inter alia) because of what was, and wasn’t, taken, and letters that Professor Brady had received.  Yesterday’s article included this comment from Brady about the very slow-moving investigation.

She was unwilling to comment on the lengthy and still unfinished Police investigation, but told the New York Times in September the lack of comment or public action from government to date was “starting to look like procrastination”.

Official Wellington might be thought to have a strong interest in the investigation not coming to a conclusion, and it has (sadly) become difficult to have much confidence in the independence and integrity of the Police when it involves issues that matter to governments.

Nippert also included this section

The ongoing investigation …. had raised the temperature of local debate on the issue of China.

Commentary in local Chinese-language media has been an especially heated, with a recent op-ed by Morgan Xiao – published simultaneously by SkyKiwi, the Mandarin Pages and the New Zealand Chinese Daily News – describing Brady and other New Zealand-Chinese democracy activists as “anti-Chinese sons of bitches” who should “get out of New Zealand”.

Freeman Yu, whose New Zealand Values Alliance has started a petition urging the government to follow Australia’s lead and curb China’s local influence, was also called out by Xiao.

Yu said the language used in local debate had recently hardened, with “extreme expressions used in the Cultural Revolution”.

“The language used in their articles expressed intense hatred for different voices and the freedom of speech,” he said.

Comments sections on (for example) Stuff often don’t reveal humanity at its finest, but this is a description of a published op-ed.   New Zealanders should get out of New Zealand?

I know Professor Brady only slightly.  We’ve talked a couple of times and exchanged emails from time to time over the last year.  I’ve found her contribution to the New Zealand debate –  which seems to involve stepping a bit beyond her personal comfort zone (academics are often most comfortable behind the scenes) –  on these issues invaluable.   Such debate as there now is wouldn’t be occurring without her.

But Geremie Barmé and John Minford know Professor Brady very well.     Barmé and Minford are both emeritus professors at the Australian National University where Barmé was formerly Director, Australian Centre on China in the World and Chair Professor of Chinese History at Australian National University College of Asia and the Pacific in Canberra.   They now live near Featherston –  which perhaps accounts for the number of China books I found in a Featherston secondhand bookshop recently –  and host The Wairarapa Academy for the New Sinology.  Their website has a fascinating collection of material, which I’ve linked to occasionally.

They have today put out a statement about Professor Brady, her work, her position and so on.   I’ve reproduced it here (with permission).

17 November 2018

Re: Professor Anne-Marie Brady

To Whom It May Concern,

Professor Anne-Marie Brady is a noted specialist in China’s domestic and foreign politics at the University of Canterbury. Her work on contemporary China, and its increasingly controversial global engagement, contributes directly to the national interest of New Zealand. It is also having a considerable impact internationally, not only in academic circles but also in political debates and policy formulation among the major allies and trading partners of this country.

As teachers and mentors of Professor Brady — John Minford was one of her undergraduate teachers at the University of Auckland; Geremie Barmé was a supervisor of her doctoral work at the Australian National University — we are proud of her achievements and we strongly support her ongoing academic research work and engagement with issues of public, national and international significance.

In February this year, we were profoundly disturbed to read media reports about break-ins at Professor Brady’s workplace and of her home office, resulting in the theft of electronic equipment and research materials. The details of the break-ins, still a subject of police investigation, suggested that Professor Brady was being subjected to intimidation for her internationally recognized work on official Chinese strategies to influence the politics and societies of foreign countries, in particular New Zealand. (See: https://www.pressreader.com/new-zealand/the-dominion-post/20180219/282355450217707) We were shocked by the latest media reports — on 16 November — that, during routine Warrant of Fitness maintenance, it was discovered that her vehicle may well have been purposely tampered with. There are indications that this was done to endanger the occupants of the vehicle: Professor Brady, her husband and their three teenage children. (See: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/108649435/professor-annemarie-brady-who-warned-about-china-interference-says-car-was-sabotaged )

The freedom from fear was long ago recognized as a basic human right; academics should be able to pursue their work, and their daily lives, without being subjected to intimidation. In any modern democracy worthy of the name, academic freedom and independent research are crucial “public goods”. They are also germane to university life.

As residents of New Zealand and as independent scholars — our main institutional affiliation is with The Australian National University as emeritus professors — we hereby express our deep concern about the on-going threats to Professor Anne-Marie Brady’s research and private life.

We hope that others whose research and teaching involves contemporary China will offer her and her important work collegial encouragement, as well as public support.

Furthermore, we also hope that the New Zealand authorities take the threats against Professor Brady seriously. We appeal to the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern, and her coalition partner the Foreign Minister, the Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, to address directly the issues raised by her work which she has further articulated in practicable, and succinct, formal advice to the government.

Since September 2017, Professor Anne-Marie Brady’s work has attracted overwhelmingly positive global attention. It has also been subjected to vilification by Chinese officialdom. Regardless, her work continues to influence the debate about China’s “sharp power” on the international stage, and it contributes to practical policy discussions in Europe, North America and in Australia. This work remains ever more pressingly relevant to the public life, and the future, of her homeland.


Geremie R. Barmé
Professor Emeritus of History
The Australian National University
Founding Director, Australian Centre on China in the World
Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities

John Minford
Professor Emeritus of Chinese
The Australian National University
Sin Wai Kin Distinguished Professor
Hang Seng University of Hong Kong

To me, the most important lines in the statement are those addressed to our political leaders

We appeal to the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern, and her coalition partner the Foreign Minister, the Rt. Hon. Winston Peters, to address directly the issues raised by her work

(To which I would add “and the leaders of the National Party, so recently in government”.)

They might also speak about, for example, things like that appalling op-ed from various Chinese-language local media.

Shameful as the government’s stance on, say, Xinjiang is –  the refusal to add our voice to the protest by our friends and allies –  we can’t change China.  But we  –  they –  have no such excuse when it comes to New Zealand itself, our political system, the environment facing freedom-loving ethnic Chinese New Zealanders, and the actions of the People’s Republic of China and its agents here.

And yet Matt Nippert’s article reminds us again of the supine, scared of their own shadow, attitude of the government.

Since May the Herald has been seeking to interview Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern about the governments’ China policy in light of Brady’s research and legislative action in Australia.

The Prime Ministers’ Office has regularly put off the request

Simply refusing to engage on such vital issues with a serious journalist from our largest newspaper is astonishing, and a telling commentary on how corrupted our political system appears to have become.  Perhaps as telling is the utter silence from the National Party on the government’s refusal to engage.

UPDATE: I would strongly recommend this new piece, by the commentator on China issues who goes under the label Jichang Lulu, to anyone at all interested in the PRC influence issues as they relate to New Zealand.


38 thoughts on “Voices in support of Anne-Marie Brady

  1. I imagine the government is giving priority to renegotiation of the China FTA and to scheduling a visit by Ardern to Beijing soon. They are simply hoping the whole business of Chinese influence will go away and they have turned a blind eye to the bountiful evidence of CCP interference in our domestic affairs for fear that their current diplomatic objectives may be disrupted. Even more reprehensible is the mercenary attitude of the National Party and their deliberate refusal to address the serious issues around Mr Yang. All of this paints a very unflattering picture of political leadership in New Zealand today. The pressures are however building and it is likely the government will eventually be forced to confront reality perhaps through a crisis in relations with our traditional friends who must be increasingly exasperated, or as a result of a serious domestic incident because it is clear tensions are running high, especially in the Chinese community. The government are making themselves hostage to fortune where they should be showing initiative and some sense of responsibility. Nature abhors a vacuum.

    Liked by 3 people

    • What is this obsession with the so-called ‘upgrade’ of the China FTA? Analysis (or perhaps more fairly anecdote) from within the government that I have been privy to indicates that the current China FTA net, net has been negative for New Zealand as it has meant a continued focus on low-value high volume commodities combined with increased market concentration risk.

      The United State’s current trade war with China and the effect that may have on forcing China to behave more like the market economy (https://www.ft.com/content/389a92c2-e738-11e8-8a85-04b8afea6ea3) it promised to become 20 or so years ago would have much greater benefit to New Zealand than any FTA upgrade I am sure, it would perhaps give NZ businesses a chance to operate in the Chinese market on a more even footing and would have the upside of us not kowtowing to the regime in the meantime.

      The cynical side of me thinks that perhaps there are individuals within MFAT that have staked their careers/reputations on an ‘ FTA upgrade’ and are hence acting in such a supine fashion out of their own self-interest rather than New Zealand’s best interests.

      Accordingly, it seems to me that if MFAT put half as much energy into the relationship with Australia as it does with China we may have progressed more meaningfully on the Single Economic Market project as well as other issues such as immigration and maintaining and enhancing the privileged status New Zealand citizens have in that country.

      Sadly though I suspect that MFAT officials in Canberra (and those that visit Canberra) are probably feted with the respect they deserve and it is much nicer on the ego to be China’s anglo pets when the red carpet rolled out in Beijing.

      Quite a clever strategy by China to capture New Zealand’s elite’s through there own misguided sense of importance and fragile ego and no surprise they have done it faster here than any other Anglo country.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I wish they’d call it what it is – a PTA – Preferential trade agreement. Our so-called FTAs are anything but.


  2. Funny, I was just saying this morning that China seems to be going through Cultural Revolution 2.0 and there’s comments here to that effect.

    Xi Jinping grabbed a tiger by the tail when he launched his Tigers and Flies campaign against rivals in the CCP and the fallout just gets bigger not only in China but externally. A lot of what we are discussing here is merely a reflection of the tensions inside China.

    When the financial system finally collapses – which it will – the fallout could be nasty.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bob Atkinson, I agree with Peter that President Xi is standing on eggshells.

      It is already clear that Operation Fox Hunt or Operation Skynet is a power centre purge rather than just about anti corruption.

      More than 850 fugitives returned to China last year to face corruption charges as the country’s public security ministry stepped up its campaign to track down wanted officials and executives hiding overseas.
      In a statement posted on its website, the public security ministry also announced the establishment of a new “overseas fugitive affairs” department to track down some of the country’s most wanted people. Of the 857 suspects apprehended last year, 366 surrendered as part of Operation Fox Hunt, the overseas counterpart to President Xi Jinping’s sweeping anti-corruption campaign.



  3. I’m less clear what a financial system “collapse” means in such a non-market system. That said, all the loan losses and consequences of years of excess (and highly inefficient) credit end up amounting to much the same thing, even if every financial institution is bailed out. The slowdown already getting underway could easily turn into something v nasty for China, and for the wider world – especially at a time when there are plenty of other risks (incl in Europe) which could easily turn v nasty.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The most significant risk would have to be the US Treasury bonds that they have soaked up in the trillions that allows them to manage their Yuan currency. Not too sure about any other financial system risks as they own all the major Chinese banks and they own all the land in China. This does give them the option of raising revenue from international corporations that have invested in factories, buildings and infrastructure in China. They do not actually have to raise tariffs, they do have the option of raising ground rents on US multinationals invested in China.


  4. My guess would be the break-ins and intimadation are more likely closer than one thinks. I personally doubt china or chinese in nz are responsible.

    That leaves….? Wonder why the investigation keeps stalling.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Motoring expect Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the Dog & Lemon Guide, said the sabotage “absolutely” posed a risk to human life.

    “It makes the car extremely unstable in its handling, and the brakes become a lot more unreliable,” he said.

    He said tyre-tampering was “not uncommon,” but typically was only seen in clashes between feuding neighbours or lovers.

    Matthew-Wilson said this specific case seemed to be connected with Brady’s work on China.

    “This is a deliberate attempt at harassment, almost certainly. I doubt very much that it’s a coincidence. It’s designed to make her feel insecure and reluctant to bring up this issue again,” he said.


    Michael King died of brake failure?


    • I think this is more a student prank that have taken offence rather than an elite spy unit sent in to deflate tires. Brake failure and flat tires are 2 very different levels of technical skills and deflated tyres are more easily seen by the driver and a cheap repair.

      Tyre slashing would be more costly as the tyres would have to be replaced and rather costly if all 4 tyres have to be replaced.


  6. How naive. You likely think that because either you are naive or have a motive not to beleive it. There is plenty of serious writing on China’s ambitions and the means they use to achieve those, often harnessing the local Chinese community.


  7. All good shane I didn’t actually clarify it well.

    I have zero faith in our political leaders anything is possible. I’m wondering why our government thinks having the majority of our migrants from PRC is a good thing. I believe we are being told to take PRC migrants or our products won’t get unloaded of wharfs in China wink wink.


      • I live in Otautahi Christchurch. I have visited Tibet and studied the history of this region. I follow Tibet news which we have no access to in mainstream media. Without these links there would be no awareness of China’s actions, motives and policy. The Western world ignored genocide. So this naive outlook that it was a domestic matter was wrong. China has a plan..for minerals and resources all the way to Antarctica. Small nation’s welcome their loans and now Auckland is getting loans. The debt trap. Nepal with its poverty and corrupt government has now sided with China as beneficiary to other countries such as Tibet. So..do we collude with the propaganda conveniently for trade and economic benefit. NZ needs to take the advice offered by Professor Anne Maries Brady. I am so grateful someone with her mana has spoken out. Thank you. Claire Friends of Tibet

        Liked by 2 people

      • 1994 GDP $5 billion Yuan
        2000 GDP $12 billion Yuan
        2006 GDP $29 billion Yuan
        2017 GDP $100 billion Yuan

        “I was amazed at the amount of money actually being spent in these villages,” said Melvyn Goldstein, codirector of the Center for Research on Tibet at Case Western Reserve University. Through extensive rural fieldwork in the TAR, Goldstein found that “health-insurance plans are getting better, bank loans are now more accessible, schooling is free for primary school and middle school, and access to electricity and water is improving.” At the improved schools, students learn Mandarin, which gives Tibetans access to work opportunities in government offices in Tibet and in companies throughout China.


        Seems like the Tibetans are really doing well?


      • Of course those of us with common sense know this is human nature. But that is what the whole argument is about. We have had a full flush of left-wing ideologues from the 60’s baby boomer generation. They are like a fungus and now the fruiting bodies are above the victim. Notice how when Newshub had a program on Molyneux and Southern, minder Paul Spoonley said “neither of those two have anything to complain about; they both have privilege” (presumably our Chinese are a minority with victim status). Adern has stated that she sees people as individuals not by group characteristic (which is how they see themselves).
        Commercial property is doing well; real wages in tourism and hospitality going down.


      • Ethnocentrism is not a White disorder and evidence is emerging that immigrant communities harbour invidious attitude towards Anglo Australians, disparaging their culture and the legitimacy of their central place in national identity.[xxiii]

        Young women of Latin and Turkish origin living in Melbourne find it hard to see any Australian culture. Some see a vacuum; others see a bland milieu populated with ‘average-looking’ people. In contrast, they feel that their own migrant cultures are strong. They ‘get through more’. If there is any Australian culture it is, in their opinion, losing ground to migrant cultures.



      • That really is self-evident. Milton Friedman said something along the same lines about it being impossible to combine immigration with a welfare state. It applies to Pacific Islanders as well as Asians.
        All immigrants choose to be here; some because they like NZ so much they are willing to sacrifice a better standard of living (eg French, Americans, Australians) and some would rather be back in their country of origin but stay because of the welfare (schools, hospitals, pension).
        The one thing no NZ politician and few New Zealand citizens is willing to say is that some residents might prefer to be in a different country. The subject is avoided despite our famed OE and our unusually large number of emigres.
        Two examples of the power of welfare over the love of country. A Nuiean builder friend tells me he is building thousands of houses in Nuie for the retired Nuieans leaving NZ to return home now they can receive NZ superannuation back home. The other example is a close family member who lived her first 15 years in a PI country, then 10 years in NZ gaining citizenship along with her siblings and parents. She returned to live in her country of origin; had a complication with a pregnancy that was a very near death experience (so close they started operating before the anaesthetic kicked in). When a couple of years laer she became pregnant again she sensibly returned to NZ and her first child was born here. So here she stays and has brought her husband with her. NZ gives them financial security, medicines and innoculations for their child and will provide quality free education in the future; the parents might feel more at home in their country of origin but they live in NZ for the sake of their child.

        I don’t want NZ to stop being a welfare state and I don’t want to stop immigration from China or anywhere else (although I believe numbers should be severely trimmed for economic and social reasons) but we do need less naivety and some honest clear thinking in the debate. I hear too many ill-informed assertions in public – from on the radio an ‘expert’ saying it is proven that immigrants are always good for a country [no some are and some aren’t] to every refugee is a muslim [no they are not] and only yesterday I heard every refugee brings in 10 family members [no they cannot]. In fact a debate would be useful.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I must admit based on my mothers own experience, the ACC health care here is first class. Nothing short of the very best in the world.

        Liked by 1 person

    • During my contact with the Labor Party, I learned that although the Labour Party’s supporters are mostly so-called “poor people”, most of the active party members in the Labour Party’s leading role are sociologists, which is why they can create Out of ACC , Kiwi saver and other good systems that are not available in other Western countries, the people of Fukuzawa nationality, their social vision and economic development concept are far more than “welfare lazy people”, but also far beyond those short-sighted, quick-minded businessmen. Their wisdom will be an example for me to learn in the future.

      “Recently the American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt described how the social sciences reproduce their intolerant political agenda. Like Antony Jay and the BBC, Haidt knows his subject from the inside. Indeed, he presented his criticisms at the annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, in January 2011.[36] Haidt argued that the discipline of social psychology is a “tribal-moral society” that shuts out research and researchers likely to produce results that conflict with liberal (i.e. socialist) beliefs.
      Haidt based this thesis on three observations. First, social psychologists have sacred values that are neither empirical nor methodological dogmas. These values take the form of taboos that constrain thinking. Secondly, they have created a homogeneous society. There is almost no moral or political diversity within the discipline. While conservatives outnumber liberals 2-to-1 in the general U.S. population, they are outnumbered 200 or 300-to-1 within social psychology. Haidt managed to locate only one declared conservative social psychology academic. Finally, social psychologists have created a hostile environment that suppresses and discourages non-liberals, such as libertarians and conservatives. He gave examples of how conservative students are intimidated into not pursuing social psychology for fear of the social environment in the discipline and the taboo-breaking results they might find. The situation described by Haidt is a microcosm of the soft totalitarianism that a radicalised intellectual elite has imposed on Western societies since the Second World War.”


  8. Political leaders in NZ need to take a step back and make a considered analysis of the position they are in and how that has come about.
    Some are clearly doing the bidding of a foreign power, others are enablers and others are complicit through their acts of omission.
    If a $100K buys 2 Chinese candidates then what has the millions of dollars already given in hidden donations bought?
    The deafening silence from both major parties will be considered as a bargain by the PRC and another proof of concept success.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I mean our 2 ethnic Chinese Mp’s I doubt have any real loyalty to nz. Did they decide one day they love nz and want to make a difference by becoming a lawmaker.

    I doubt they know who sir Richard Hadlee is or the story of the Orpheus or buffalo famous wrecks learned about at school. Or the history of our armed forces. Anything to do with our history they would not have a clue.

    equally applies to genter and bhakshi from the greens and Nats respectively. These foreigners are in parliament for there own purposes only. Hand picked lip service and it’s a total disgrace.

    while ordinary 6th generation kiwis work their tails off you have leaders who don’t listen and sell them down the river. immigration is too high and destroying our social capital.

    Liked by 3 people

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