According to the Pew Research Center, despite deteriorating relations between Australia and China, most Australians hold negative views of the Chinese regime rather than its people.
The investigation report published September 26 asked Australians to describe – in their own words – the first thing that comes to mind when they think of China. The researchers analyzed the 1,127 responses received, focusing on the most frequently mentioned topics.
Among the most mentioned topics, the “Chinese political system” is the first that comes to mind for 29% of Australian adults, with some respondents directly criticizing the Chinese regime, describing it as a “threat to the rest of the world” or a “threat to the rest of the world”. One-party totalitarian state.
An Australian described China as “a country that ignores the rules and gets away with it, a country that wants to dominate the world, [and] a bully who used Australia as an example to other countries that if you cross them they will punish you.
While the Chinese regime received largely negative assessments from respondents, only 1% expressed negative views of the Chinese people, compared to 4% who portrayed them in a positive light, the report said.
Relations between Australia and China began to deteriorate in 2018 due to growing concerns about Chinese influence in Australian politics, media, academia and various critical sectors. Relations between the two nations deteriorated in 2020 when Australia called for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, to which China responded by imposing new tariffs.
Amid an ongoing trade dispute with China since 2020, survey results indicate that most Australians are reasonably directing their negative assessments at the Beijing regime instead of Chinese citizens.
Different public perceptions of wealthy Chinese
Although Australian public opinion has shown greater acceptance towards the Chinese people in general, recent calls to abandon the country’s Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program have painted a different public perception. towards wealthy Chinese immigrants, who made their way into the country using money.
The Australian government has said it is almost certain to abandon the Significant Investor Visa (SIV) scheme, a fast-track, cash-based route to Australian permanent residency where 84.9% of visas issued have been granted to Wealthy Chinese between 2012 and 2020.
SIV applications do not require any English test, age limit or business skills assessment. The primary criteria is to invest A$5 million in certain Australian investments, such as balanced funds, and to maintain investment activity in the country.
The scheme was established in November 2012 by former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, providing a pathway for large immigrant investments in Australia under the Business Innovation and Investment Visa scheme.
SIV applications are usually approved within one year. Also, family members such as spouses and children under the age of 18 can be included in primary applications.
According to Interior Departmentfrom July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, 84.8% of visas were granted to applicants from mainland China, which was also the lowest percentage since 2012.
From November 2012 to June 2015, 90.1% of visas were granted to mainland Chinese nationals.
The controversial program has caused much concern and discussion over the past few years.
A controversial program
Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo lost his visa in December 2018 after being granted permanent residency. According The Australiana local newspaper, he was one of the few whose visa was canceled on moral grounds, citing the “reliability of answers” he provided.
Australian security agencies are said to have had serious concerns about his ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and his alleged donations to some Australian politicians.
The decision to cancel Huang’s visa has been called “Canberra’s most aggressive move yet to push back against China’s influence campaign in Australia”, according to The Australian Financial Review (AFR).
Huang had donated large sums of money to both sides of the political aisle in Australia for five years and was seen attending receptions with Labor and Liberal Party figures.
However, Huang had denied allegations of influencing Australia’s political process, according to the AFR report.
“I think most Australians would be quite offended by the idea that we have a visa category here where you can actually buy your entry into the country,” Home Secretary Clare O’Neil told Sky News. September 11th.
O’Neil also mentioned that the SIV program may be scrapped after the review of the immigration system scheduled for February 2023, as most SIV recipients arrive to settle and retire, which “usually ends up weigh on Australia’s budget”.
“At the moment, I don’t see a lot of reason to keep him on our program,” she added.
Debate on the future of the visa program
Although O’Neil said the SIV had become a problem for the immigration system, Feng Chongyi, associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney, argued that the revision of the SIV application conditions was a best way.
“It’s hard for businessmen to keep their hands clean in the controlled business environment monitored by the CCP, but not all of them are ruthless by nature. It would be a shame if the Australian government decided to ban the SIV. Revising the SIV application requirements is a better solution,” Feng told The Epoch Times.
“Private enterprises in China have contributed to people’s livelihoods at the national level, such as employment. Although these businessmen don’t look good in the public eye for being closely tied to the CCP, we should give them a way out of China if they choose to cut ties with the CCP.
Feng argued, “There should be a way out even for CCP officials if they seek change.”
On the other hand, Abul Rizvi, former under-secretary of the Department of Immigration, wants to see the SIV abolished, reported The Australian.
“In a regime like China, rich and well-connected people probably don’t have criminal records, even though they may have done various nefarious things,” Rizvi said.
The report adds that 2,370 “super wealthy” Chinese nationals obtained primary visas and brought more than 5,000 family members to Australia.