CM – Beijing’s large billboards are putting a deterrent effect on freedom of expression in Australia

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Australian Senate candidate Drew Pavlou alleges that Australian advertising firms refused to display his advertising campaign for fear of retaliation from the Chinese government and that Beijing-funded billboard advertising has increased instead.

Pavlou’s ad should be against the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics protest in a country with serious human rights problems, showing works by Chinese dissident artist Badiucao. Bishopp Outdoor Advertising had agreed to place the ad for $ 3,000.

But yesterday a representative from Pavlou called to tell him that the deal had failed for fear of offending China.

Pavlou released a recording of the phone call as evidence. In the phone call, the representative says that not only has his own company rejected the ads, but that no one in the industry will dare to report them.

« So what happened is that all the managing directors got together … for the $ 3,000 you are going to spend … the risk of our industry supplying billboards from China and steel where it all is « Says the rep.

The rep also cited industry concerns about cybersecurity and said they feared being hacked by Chinese employees.

1/2 – BREAKING: Please listen to yourself Made that shocking phone call confirming ALL billboard companies in Australia blacklisted my Senate campaign for fear of Chinese economic retaliation and cyberattacks. No poster company in Australia will show @badiucaos art that criticizes the CCP pic.twitter.com/1isfcaBUye

Gideon Rozner of the Institute of Public Affairs said that if this story is true it is « the greatest story in Australia right now » .

« If the Chinese Communist Party controls what we can put on billboards, how far and deep does that go? » Mr. Rozner told Sky News host James Morrow.

Yesterday, December 14th, Pavlou went on social media and posted a picture of a billboard advertisement for the China Construction Bank.

« On the same day, under pressure from the Chinese government, all billboard companies in Brisbane are popping up blacklisted my campaign.

This is not the first time that the Chinese government has used the power of money in advertising to influence politics in other countries. In 2019, former Chinese activist Wang Liqian described to Australian media how the CCP bought a large amount of advertising to influence political reporting ahead of the Taiwan elections.

A passionate supporter of the Uyghurs of Xinjiang (East Turkestan) and the In the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, Pavlou was first known as a student activist protesting the growing influence of the Chinese Communist Party on Australian university campuses.

Pavlou, a University of Queensland Senator, was suspended from the University of Queensland in May 2020 on 11 cases of suspected wrongdoing. The two-year suspension was reduced to six months after an appeal hearing found that all but two cases were trivial.

Pavlou returned to his studies in early 2021 but is no longer eligible to sit in the UQ Senate. Only 22-year-old Pavlou, however, turned his gaze to a larger arena and founded a new political party – the Democratic Alliance – with the aim of running for the Australian Senate in 2022.

« The big parties have their brands over many Build up over the years. I’ve been recognized by the media and we have to take advantage of that because we don’t have a huge budget to work with, « Pavlou Neos Kosmos said in an interview on August 18th.

Pavlou’s campaign for the Australian Senate was just beginning November 30, the national television show 60 Minutes reported current affairs, which fueled his quest for party membership and campaign coverage.

« Ultimately, I don’t care if I fall and burn, I’ll just go to my father’s fruit store and work « he said on Facebook.

 » That’s why I never bothered about UQ trying to lock me out, and that’s why I don’t care if I was blacklisted for life by the Outdoor Media Association. I just want to do the right thing. « 

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