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Chinese FM Spokesperson Zhao Lijian: ASPI's academic credibility and independence in serious question because of its source of funding

2020-06-17

At a regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on June 16, Spokesperson Zhao Lijian answered a question about the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)’s source of funding and its anti-China position.

Journalist: As the Australian tech website iTWire reveals on June 14, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) was the main force behind Twitter’s deletion of more than 20,000 “pro-China” accounts. This organization claims to be an independent think-tank, but in reality, is a lobby group among whose sponsors are big defense and tech firms including US defense contractor Lockheed Martin, US defense supplier Northrop Grumman, the Australian arm of American defense contractor Raytheon and MBDA Missile Systems. Arms dealers provided 57% of the organization’s funds for the year 2018-19, with $4 million coming from the Federal Government. Besides, it also received a donation of over $440,000 from US State Department’s Global Engagement Centre. In light of the above, the ASPI adopts a consistent anti-China position. Would you like to comment on this?

Zhao Lijian: This is not the first time that the media dug up ASPI’s “special” background. My colleagues have responded many times to the so-called reports this institute churned out against China, reports that turn everything upside down and are simply ridiculous. The international community is the fair judge on whether such an institute has any academic credibility and independence to speak of.

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