Red Flags

Red Flags

2019, Society  -   11 Comments
Ratings: 7.06/10 from 32 users.

For several years, Australia's security agencies have warned the country's universities about the potential for foreign interference. Behind closed doors, they even name their chief culprit: Beijing. Why would the Chinese have an interest in infiltrating Australian universities, and what could these acts of espionage mean for the integrity of the educational system and national security in general? ABC News' Four Corners series investigates in Red Flags.

It began nearly two decades ago with a scheme that was only recently uncovered. It was found that hackers had been preying upon students and staff by taking advantage of security loopholes in the academic networks. The operation was clearly well organized and funded. But this was no simple breach involving credit card accounts or identity theft. Australian National University has graduated thousands of students who have gone on to work in the national security sector. What if these hackers collected compromising information on some of these students, and plan to use the materials for blackmail purposes? It is suspected that the Chinese Communist Party could very well be behind these cyber attacks.

The story doesn't end there. Australian universities receive significant sums of money from China both through tuition fees and collaborative research projects. Groups like the Chinese Students and Scholars Association have made it their mission to enlist the services of students to expand their communist influence across campuses. Student protests have erupted at multiple universities, and are often reduced to volatile clashes between pro and anti-Beijing demonstrators.

These elements create the impression of conflicts of interest. How far can their sphere of influence expand before the universities relinquish their autonomy?

The film features interviews with a variety of security experts, university representatives, and members of the student body. Some of these students feel unfairly targeted by the media, who they believe are quick to accuse students of carrying out spy work on behalf of the Chinese communist regime.

Red Flags expertly outlines a complicated system of high espionage. The film also serves a stark warning to university administrators and government regulators who have been lax in their response to these potential threats.

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11 Comments / User Reviews

  1. David Dieni

    The Chinese lads who have posted here....have got it right

    Indoctrinated and infantile
    We swallow every insane lie
    As denial, blind hope and optimism
    Hold up walls that are our prison

    Data stats, who needs all that?
    They're just a bunch of useless facts
    That only make me feel uneasy
    A little sick, a little queasy

    Its the migrants, no, it's the Jews
    So many scapegoats, now which to choose?
    And don't forget the Neo-Marxists
    Hiding at home in your bread baskets

    Now I haven't studied history
    Or any political economy,
    Don't know shit about psychology
    Or the development of society
    I haven't studied anything at all
    No diplomas hang upon the wall
    But I know all that there is to know
    Because Jordan Peterson told me so
    Now I'm registered with Jobster
    Looking for work as a lobster

    Hold on tight, we're going down
    Slavish fools to knaves and clowns
    No ,money left for the sick and poor
    Its all been spent on endless war
    And edumacation who needs that
    When its all downloadable on an app?

    Faster than the world's revolving
    Humanity is fast devolving
    While good old Donald is no ones hero
    Why, he's a fiddler just like Nero
    Can't believe it's come to this
    My god we're bloody idiots

  2. Wrenchmonkey

    I never see Chinese university allowing their students to complain or protest if those Chinese students love their country so much why are they continually finding educational opportunities elsewhere.

    1. Joe Wong

      No protest means the Universities in China have done a good job to resolve students' concerns effectively. While so many complains and protests in the US, Australia and other universities in the West prove that the universities in the US, Australia, and other universities in the West are incompetent, corrupted and detached from the reality, their students have to complain and protest to make their concerns known.

      Chinese students seeking education overseas is to broaden their views so they can make better contributions to the welfare of humanity. Perhaps the bellicose and full of hatred mentality of the West is due to their lack of world view caused by their stay home culture and mindset.

  3. classified

    In ~58 years we will declassify the moment everyone was almost vaporized, by a mistake, that almost started a thermonuclear exchange. A thermonuclear exchange would render the entire planet a desert forever. That time we were very, very lucky, as lucky as you can get. We will not get that lucky again if that same scenario were to occur.

    Our governments had considerably more responsible and informed figures back then than the fools we have now, plus ratified treaties since discarded. Currently we are ramping up production, rebuilding stockpiles, and producing smaller, more deadly systems that are faster to fire and impossible to intercept. It was partly the longer time to launch that saved us last time, but mostly dumb luck.

  4. r.walker

    instill the seed of fear and watch it grow.

    1. John Chan

      Mindful of what the West has done to the world, the westerner fear the chicken will come home to roost when the rest of the world catch up with them in science and technology. The West is anxious, paranoid, and restless to see China catching up with them in science, technology and wealth. They feel helpless, and the only thing they can do is resort to looking devils under the bed, McCarthyism, call for crusade again the yellow peril, dreaming back to the old days of colonialism, and stay in the comfort zone of "we lie, we cheat, we steal, we hate and we spread venom."

  5. CC

    Wow. I had no idea. This was very enlightening. I take everything with a grain of salt, but even with the salt, food for thought. Certainly not a waste of time to watch it.

  6. peter ogden

    too bad american college students don't defend their country as vehemently; the communist chinese no doubt are one of the subversive anti-american groups that has infiltrated american universities and brainwashed millions of american university students to hate america.

  7. jez hewitt

    university is the best place for an ill-meaning heinous organisation to expand their
    staff base. the skull n bones is the easiest example...

  8. GunnarInLA

    " agencies..."
    "...the Chinese communist regime..."
    "...stark warning..."
    ...!!!...the above write-up is the most stunningly tendentious I have ever read here...Australia, 18 million people – owned by the United States of America...and clearly the most honorable, decent, good-hearted and well-meaning "nation" on the planet – a paragon of ethical and moral rectitude in the world, evidenced by years or decades of slavish adherence to the whims of Anglo-Zionist thugs and political criminals...
    Not to mention the warm, caring and passionate treatment of its own citizens, especially Julian Assange, now slowly being murdered by Australia's "friends and allies"...

    1. Fudge Royale


      ..I would not be surprised if it's discovered to be a covert operation devised by Aboriginal elders in collusion with the Chinese to destabilize the Antipodean arm of the British Empire so as to ultimately bring down the Royal Family.. a truly cunning stunt