søndag 3. januar 2021

Australia-China row: 'I'm Australian - why do I need to prove my loyalty?'

Earlier this year, a junior adviser for the Australian government, Andrew Chen*, visited the nation's Department of Defence for a meeting. As he and a colleague stepped into the building in Canberra, they pulled out their government IDs. Mr Chen was stopped by a guard, who took him aside. "They asked to take a photo of me - like a portrait - there in the lobby," he said. "And it was just me. The Caucasian colleague who was with me - he wasn't asked to do that," added Mr Chen, who is Chinese-Australian.

Mr Chen felt "awkward" as they took the snap, but he didn't want to cause a scene. Later, he asked colleagues if they had ever had the same experience - no-one had. "So it was just me, literally. It was clearly some sort of security procedure the guards were enforcing. They didn't offer any explanation."

The department told the BBC its security protocols were "agnostic of background or ethnicity". Mr Chen suspects that was not true in his case. He is among many Chinese-Australians who feel they are facing increasing scrutiny and suspicion - solely based on their heritage - as Australia hardens its views towards China.