Chinese diplomat pressured Oz channel to cancel program

Hong Kong: An Australian television channel’s repeated moves to highlight China’s so-called expansionist designs in the Pacific region through what is now being popularly referred to as “debt trap diplomacy”, recently invited the ire of the Chinese embassy in Canberra.

According to Chinascope and the Taiwan Liberty Times, the head of the media department of the embassy, Cao Saixian, yelled at Kirsty Thomson, the producer of 60 Minutes on Australian Channel 9, during a phone call for what he claimed as the illegal filming of footage related to China’s expansion in the South Pacific Ocean.

Taiwan Liberty Times quoted Cao, as saying, “Take this down and take it to your leaders! . You will listen! There must be no more misconduct in the future!” Thomson countered that the footage was taken in the public region using a drone and stated that the program would still be aired on June 18 and 19 as planned.

According to the article, 60 Minutes has produced several programs covering China’s “debt trap diplomacy” in the Pacific region and how it was expanding its influence through offering assistance in the areas of infrastructure and agriculture in countries such as Fiji, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

The latest episode of the program focused mainly on China’s plans in Vanuatu, including attempts to build a military base in Vanuatu.

The program previously revealed that China’s satellite monitoring ship, disguised as a fishing boat, tried to approach the Australian Adelaide warship in the Port of Suva in Fiji.

The article reported that the way that Cai approached the mainstream English media was done in a very unusual way.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs must have given the direction in order to warn other media not to offend China.