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Europe considering Australia's foreign interference laws to combat China's propaganda arm

ANI | Updated: Nov 11, 2021 20:46 IST

Canberra [Australia], November 11 (ANI): Looking to combat the activities of China's overseas propaganda arm, Europe is considering following Australia's example in creating new laws to counter "covert" forms of foreign influence, reported The Sydney Morning Herald.
Delivering a keynote address virtually to the European Parliament, Liberal Party senator James Paterson, chair of the Australian Parliament's intelligence and security committee, called for like-minded democratic nations such as Australia to work together to counter foreign interference, Anthony Galloway wrote in an article in The Sydney Morning Herald.
"Foreign interference comes from many different sources and it is so critically important that as democracies we recognise the threats and that we do everything we can to combat these threats," the newspaper quoted the Senator as saying.
"They will only continue to evolve and grow in complexity as technology advances and so does the capability of those who seek to do us harm," he further added.
Raising concerns in a draft report about the activities of foreign authoritarian states including China's United Front, the European Parliament pointed out the "experiences of Australia and New Zealand in dealing with the United Front", reported The Sydney Morning Herald.

The United Front Work Department is the Chinese Communist Party's effort to turn the opinion and policy in Beijing's favour using the diaspora of citizens.
Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme (FITS) came into force in 2018 and since then has been called world-leading. However, the scheme has also been criticised by national security experts for forcing former prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull to register for speaking at public forums, according to the newspaper.
The scheme is currently being reviewed by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS). It will further consider whether to better the target the laws to capture more harmful activity by China and Russia.
Highlighting the purpose of the scheme in his address, Senator Paterson said that the purpose was to provide the public with "visibility of the nature, level, and extent of foreign influence on Australia's government and politics," reported The Sydney Morning Herald.
"Individuals or entities are required to register certain activities under the scheme if they are taken on behalf of a foreign principal," he said. "The type of activities captured under the scheme include political lobbying, communications activities, and general financial disbursement activity," the newspaper quoted Paterson as saying. (ANI)