No longer safe: Researcher harassed by China in her own country

The Sydney Morning Herald
Date: 29 January 2019
By: Peter Hartcher

After a quarter-century of researching China, Anne-Marie Brady is a veteran of Chinese

China expert Anne-Marie Brady has been subject to ongoing harassment.
CREDIT:JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF

 

 

government spying and harassment.  “I was prepared for pressure in China,” says the 52-year-old New Zealander, a well-regarded professor of political science at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. “But I always felt safe in New Zealand. So that changed.” Last week she wrote to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern seeking police protection. It was her first direct appeal to Ardern, but her third in a series of pleas to escalating levels of officialdom.

First came the pressure on her university. Chinese officials demanded that her immediate superior stop her research. It might have worked – the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the mayor of Christchurch backed them up in an effort to appease Beijing.  They failed when the university vice-chancellor intervened on behalf of academic freedom. But it was just the beginning.

Next, her office was broken into in December 2017. As far as she could tell, nothing was taken. “I think it was meant to scare me, to show me people could come into my office.” If so, it worked: “I felt this great dread,” after the intrusion. “I reported it to security and there was no follow-up.”

If she had any doubt that she’d been targeted, she got a detailed warning letter from a concerned friend in the Chinese community to let her know that an official campaign of intimidation against her – and others – was under way.

Brady’s home was next. While she was on the phone to the NZ Secret Intelligence Service negotiating to give them the letter, her husband called to say that someone had broken in. “Cash, pearls, jewellery, other electronics were ignored,” Brady tells me. The only things missing were laptops, phones and an encrypted memory stick from her last trip to China. Other memory sticks were left behind. “It was very telling.”  She immediately reported the break-in to the intelligence service and the police. Brady went to her office the next morning to discover that it had been broken into. Again. It was February 15 last year. Brady was scheduled to give testimony to Australia’s Parliament that afternoon.    [FULL  STORY]

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