Chinese Communist Party shared an outrageous conspiracy theory
A Victorian Labor staffer with links to the Chinese Communist Party shared an outrageous conspiracy theory accusing the U.S. of creating COVID-19 and using its army to spread the virus across the globe.
Nancy Yang, a Victorian electorate officer for Labor MPs since 2013, has previously worked as a visa officer for the Chinese consulate in Melbourne.
She is also on the committee of the Chinese Community Council of Australia along with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ senior adviser on China, Marty Mei.
Author and China expert Clive Hamilton has described the CCCA (Victoria) as a front organisation for the United Front Work Department, which is the Chinese Communist Party’s primary overseas influence network.
Ms. Yang suggested on her Facebook page that the U.S. was to blame for the coronavirus, which first emerged in Wuhan, China. ‘U.S. owe an explanation,’ she wrote under an article titled ‘Chinese official suggests U.S. Army to blame for outbreak’ in March, The Australian reported.
The conspiracy theory first emerged in mid-March when China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian suggested on his Twitter account the U.S. military could have planted the virus in Wuhan.
‘When did patient zero begin inUS? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make public your data! US owe us an explanation!’ Zhao wrote.
Chinese diplomats have gone on the offensive since the coronavirus outbreak after Beijing was accused of covering up the disease and leaving international flights open.
The approach, dubbed ‘wolf-warrior diplomacy’ after the Chinese action blockbuster movies, seeks to defend China’s national interests, often in confrontational ways.
The tactic was used against Australia along with trade threats after Canberra lobbied to have the World Health Organisation launch an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, angering China.
Ms. Yang then posted YouTube clips entertaining conspiracy theories about U.S. responsibility for COVID-19, including one titled: ‘The coronavirus CONSPIRACY – Did COVID-19 come from America?’
In the video, subtitled in Chinese and English, YouTuber Nathan Rich says the U.S. Military might have been doing experiments on animals in Maryland, Virginia, with coronaviruses and failed to follow protocols leading to an outbreak.
According to Mr. Rich’s theory, The U.S. Center for Disease Control may have covered up the outbreak as vaping illness and flu, and then an infected person might have gone to Wuhan to attend the 2019 Wuhan Military Games and spread the virus there.
Mr. Rich’s claims are entirely unsubstantiated.
Former Victorian Labor MLA Andre Haermeyer admonished Ms. Yang on the Facebook post, saying China had lied to the World Health Organisation about the virus.
‘Nancy, China is not to blame for the virus, but the dictatorship in Beijing is to blame for lying to the World Health Organisation and persecuting the doctors that blew the whistle on it,’ he wrote.
‘Had they spent that time immediately trying to contain it rather than cover it up, it would have been contained to the region of origin and we would not have thousands dying in China and around the world.’
She did not reply to the comment.
Ms. Yang’s advocacy for China has deep roots.
In 2006, she founded a United Front-linked group called the Melbourne Chinese Youth United Association, serving as its chair until 2016.
The association has a ‘propaganda department’ that seeks to ‘organise (members) to serve the motherland in various forms’.
While chair of the association and at the same time working at the Chinese consulate, Ms. Yang helped organise the infamous Olympic Torch relay protest in 2008.
More than 10,000 Chinese protesters descended on Canberra in a pro-Beijing rally that drowned out a tiny band of Tibetan protesters, heckling and harassing them.
Chinese demonstrators stood six-deep along the 10-mile route, and hundreds of cars drove around Canberra carrying Chinese flags.
China invaded Tibet in 1950 forcing its spiritual leader, the Dalai Llama, into exile and beginning an occupation that has been criticised for its oppression.
In another post, this time on a blog, Ms. Yang wrote about meeting United Front head Liu Yangdong in Beijing in 2007.
‘No matter how long the shadow of the tree is, the roots will always be entrenched in the land; no matter where we are, we will always care about the motherland,’ she later told reporters, the blog said.
China expert Clive Hamilton said Ms. Yang was one of several United Front activists operating in Victoria’s parliament with impunity, extending their influence.
She appears in photos with Daniel Andrews, former Labor leader Bill Shorten, and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
‘We see it most alarmingly in the influence over Daniel Andrews as reflected in the Belt and Road agreement,’ he told The Australian.
Victoria is the only Australian state to have signed up to the controversial Belt and Road initiative, despite warnings from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and national security agencies.
Having signed the initial agreement in 2018, the Andrews Government significantly deepened it with a new agreement in October last year.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has been widely criticised for signing the new deal.
Critics fear China is using the trillion-dollar Belt and Road, which provides loans and investment in infrastructure projects from the Chinese government, to buy undue influence through debt diplomacy across critical trade choke points around the world.
Another influential Chinese consultant, Jean Dong, 33, the chief executive of the Australia-China Belt and Road Initiative company, played a key part in Victoria’s signing up to the Chinese Belt and Road initiative.
Ms. Dong boasted about her political influence in a YouTube video called ‘Journey of influence’.
Ms. Dong’s company was paid $36,850 of taxpayer cash to consult Mr. Andrews before he signed the October 2019 deal without approval from the federal government.
Hong-Kong born member for Chisholm Gladys Liu, a Liberal party MLA, said on Sunday there was a ‘lack of transparency’.
‘What are Australians getting out of it?’ she said.
Chisholm is a marginal seat in Victoria, previously held by Labor’s Anna Burke.
In a December 2013 speech to Parliament, Ms. Burke thanked both Ms. Yang, Marty Mei and her team of Chinese volunteers for helping her in the previous election.
Marty Mei is now Premier Andrews’s senior adviser on China and is a fellow committee member of the Chinese Community Council of Australia (Victoria) alongside Nancy Yang.
Mr. Andrews is believed to have first become connected with Ms. Dong through his former adviser, Mike Yang. Mr. Yang and Ms. Dong both attended a youth delegation to China in 2014. There were only 30 delegates to the Beijing conference.
The well-connected Labor Party operative is believed to be the reason behind Mr. Andrews’ strong relationship with China’s communist government.
Mr. Yang worked in the Andrews camp from 2011 to 2013 when he accompanied Mr. Andrews on a trip to China.
He previously was vice-president of the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, an organisation criticised for spreading pro-Communist Party policies and messages in Australia.
It is not known if Mike Yang is any relation to Nancy Yang.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Ms. Yang for comment.
A spokesperson for the Andrews Government told The Australian that Ms. Yang was ‘making an outstanding contribution to her local community. We have no further comment.’