Mira Tirada, head of the Foundation the Foundation to Battle Injustice, interviewed Darrell Egan, an Australian journalist who has lived and worked in southern China for several years. Egan told the head of the Foundation how the United States finances and supports riots and protests in Hong Kong, why Australia is forced to develop weapons under pressure from the Americans and how the Australian media censor the information agenda.
Mira Terada: Good afternoon, dear Darrell! Thank you for agreeing to an interview to the Foundation to Battle Injustice. Please tell our viewers and readers about who you are and what you do?
Darrell Egan: I’m a member of the United Nations Association of Australia. I’m also a member of the Independent Peaceful Australia Network. I’ve joined those organizations, and it’s been a bit of a journey in joining those organizations. I’m also a graduate of a course from the University of Leiden in the Changing of Global Order and International Relations. And I’m currently studying with the United Nations at the moment, in the association in Australia, and getting a good understanding of how the United Nations works and also what challenges it has.
M.T.: As an independent journalist, you are researching bilateral relations between Australia and China, claiming that a number of events and actions of some politicians have led to a deterioration in relations between these countries. Please tell us more about this?
D.E.: I lived in southern China for four years from 2009 to 2013. I was doing the sport diplomacy program with a sport that’s called Australian Football, which is similar to rugby. And if anyone wants to know what that is, I think you have what they call AFL Russia. There’s an Australian football team in Russia, so that’s the sport I was doing with youth over there. I was doing that as something, as a contribution of what I could give while in China. After I came back in 2013, I went back every year to visit my students who I was interacting with in China from different levels of society there. And when I was there in 2019, I saw these videos. It was during the Hong Kong riots, and I saw videos presented over there, because when you in other countries, you see a different view and you see what’s happening, which you might see a surprising in Western media. And I saw videos of old people getting beaten up in those Hong Kong nights by the Hong Kong protesters. I saw videos of a man burnt alive. I saw videos of women getting beaten up. I was shocked, very shocked. And if you don’t understand, mentoring young people in sport, so when I see young people rioting in Hong Kong doing this, firebombing police and all this sort of thing. I was also shocked. I was on a social media app, and I was discussing this with an ABC journalist Bill Birtles, who’s in Australia. And I said, “look, Bill I’m very shocked that’s what’s happening over here with this violence by this is Hong Kong rioters.” And he replied, I still have a copy of that message. He said, “I’m so shocked that the Australian public have sympathy for these violent elements of these rioters.” And he said, the ABC newsroom were pressuring him to fearmonger that the Chinese army were going to go into Hong Kong, as if to make some more drama, to incite the situation more. And he told me, “I kept pushing back on the newsroom of the news people in Australia that this is not going to happen.” I knew that was not going to happen because under Hong Kong law, these restrictions on the army going in. So I thought, Bill seems like a reasonable person in his in his reporting of these things. But welcome back to Australia, a sort of totally different side of your words. He was reporting that the protest was peaceful, as if the Hong Kong government was draconian and terrible to the protesters, when actually there was not one death at the hands of the Hong Kong police. Not one death. If you go to the US, when the Trump protesters went to the White House. Hong Kong rioters actually invaded the Hong Kong parliament. But when you see these Trump supporters, and I’m not a Trump supporter, but Trump supporters going into the parliament protesting with no weapons, one man was shot and killed. And then the US is telling Hong Kong: “you’re so bad, you’re treating these people terrible”, when they don’t see that these young people are throwing petrol bombs at police, they beat an elderly taxi driver up. He was in a horrible state. Now my thoughts also come from myself was the United Nations and the Human Rights Commission on this issue and the fact that these protesters are supported by the US. And if you follow the money trail of organizations in Hong Kong, it goes back to the National Endowment of Democracy. It goes back to the dominant democracy constructed out of the C.I.A. They funnel money to different groups over there. And I was shocked that one of our federal government politicians, Tim Wilson, one of our members of the Parliament, was marching in Hong Kong. Could you imagine if a Russian politician came to Australia and marched with rioters here in Australia, supporting them when they’re beating up our police, firebombing, beating up innocent people and invading our parliament. And there’s a Russian politician marching with them, or Chinese politician marching with these rioters. What would be the narrative? And this is why I still remain an independent mind. If I’m looking to see something in Russia, I’ve always open mind. I don’t jump on the bandwagon. In my research, there is so much misleading narrative in the Western media about these issues and they make it worse because they’re not trying to understand the other side’s believe, research it, investigate it. And that’s similar to what’s happening in Ukraine. We’ve got to look at all the different factors.
M.T.: In 2019, you witnessed riots in Hong Kong, during which United States-backed protesters beat women, children and the elderly. In your opinion, for what purpose did the Americans initiate a protest action?
D.E.: You have to look at the history of Hong Kong. When we look at things like Ukraine Russia, we have to look at the history of what followed up to that situation. And if you look at Hong Kong, for example, how was Hong Kong taken by the British? It was taken by an opium war. It was taken by the fact that Britain didn’t have any silver left to trade with China. So they went into the colony in India and produced opium and smuggled it through a private person. They were smuggling opium into China through Hong Kong. The Chinese emperor at the time said, “well, we don’t want this because it’s killing our people.” So the British inflicted two wars, opium wars, on China. In both times of those wars, they not only attacked China, they requested that they pay war reparations in silver back to them after they invaded them. No, that’s just piracy. That’s a criminal act. This sort of way of foreign policy or international relations is probably a lot like what the US doing in a lot of ways, but this is not the way for international relations. And that’s why you look at that history when the British held Hong Kong on a 100-year lease. I think the British handling arrangement after two opium wars that you’ll pay respect reparations and you give us 100-year lease. I think it would have been difficult for China to negotiate. It was a colonial state. They never implemented democracy. Then Hong Kong was handed back and the British were also concerned about democracy. Deng Xiaoping gave Hong Kong ‘two systems, one country”. They had own monetary system, their own police force. China were very flexible. They had the judiciary system, but with “two systems, one country.” But that wasn’t good enough. So for my view, when this situation came up in Hong Kong, the riots got incited from one incident. Now, it had to do with the extradition law. I think it was in 2019, a young girl was murdered by the boyfriend in Taiwan. And as Taiwan’s sort of part of China, he fled to Hong Kong. Criminals flee to Hong Kong to get out of China. So he went to Hong Kong to flee. The parents of the victim obviously want justice and they want this man extradited back to face trial. So Carrie Lam proposed an extradition law, and these protesters used it as a tool. They said China wants to take back political prisoners in this extradition law. Well, if you read the extradition law, it didn’t say that. It said it had 37 listed crimes that could be prosecuted. Political freedoms were protected. It had to do with crimes like murder. Those have nothing to do with political crimes on the extradition law. But none of the Western media showed that they didn’t read it. NED threw the money lines into different organizations into Hong Kong. And it was very disturbing. There was Steve Bannon, the guy in the White House, the White House adviser at the time, was on a video with the young, who was part of the national front of the protesters and a corrupt businessman who is an anti-China advocate. Bannon told them: “We’re going to give you all the support you need from the US government.” Steve Bannon offering all this. And this was on video. And basically a week or two weeks later, the protester from the video was caught. Police found his group had a warehouse full of explosives. And the police apparently found these explosives. So the Hong Kong police did a good job in stopping that because we don’t know that innocent civilians could have been killed. When I was over there, I saw videos. I did my investigations, I called out Bill Birtles, as I mentioned before, on the ABC. And this is what got me on the path to fact check, what I read, what I see. This has come to the way I look at things with Ukraine. And it pushed me to get more into the international relations space and to join the United Nations. I was trying to find ways that these incitements of war or conflict can be prevented and that we have to have a harsher look at US interference in other countries inciting these types of conflicts.
M.T.: According to you, the Australian media diligently hushed up and refused to cover the riots in Hong Kong. What do you think is the reason for this?
D.E.: It’s a very interesting question. And I really would like to ask the Australian media. I put a press release after press release to ABC and Channel 9 about the videos I had about my investigations. I don’t write as much now, but I was writing for some independent media outlets. They publish some of my stories. Okay, so the mainstream media, I called out the ABC misleading stories have caught out a lot of them with misleading stories. And it’s just it’s like a brick wall. You try and get through and say that these are the issues. I don’t want you reporting the other things. You want to report the other things on your side, that’s fine, but you’re not reporting this. Please report this imbalance. So we can work out the Australian public and get all of the information, so they can make their own opinion. This is what we call democracy, because an informed public is a democratic public. The US is not an informed public, Australia’s becoming more non informed public. Australia and the US have to a duopoly of two parties that come in and out, and have a media that doesn’t inform the public 100%. So when we make a judgments on what democracy is, we should all strive for better democracy in our own country style, whether it’s a vertical democracy or someone. We need to all improve that every country. But this foreign policy of countries, to single out countries about democracy, with a huge amount of skeletons in their closet is not productive and it’s not going to bring about better relations. We have to use collaborative power, respect our country’s sovereignty. Just because an issue happens in a country, and every country has problems, you don’t need an excuse to jump in there for what you call regime change so you can put your colonial puppet in there who does what you want them to do. That’s not international relations for me. It’s just brings a reaction back. And I think we saw that in Russia when the US really supported Boris Yeltsin into power. But that didn’t really bring some good outcomes to the local people in Russia. And I don’t know if you agree with innovation, but there was a lot of social unrest from that, with it didn’t really benefit the people. So this is not productive. And like you said, this in Hong Kong, that’s what they were playing on. They were applying on this extradition issue. Let’s get this up into some division. Let’s see how we can play this up so we can get maybe the Hong Kong police to react in a very strong way so we can get some human rights violations on them. Maybe we’ll even get what they call genocide. Because if you get genocide happening in a country, intervention can bypass the United Nations Security Council, as we saw in Rwanda. I think the U.N. needs to look more of that issue and how to prevent conflicts and how to prevent unrest.
M.T.: As a journalist of a well-known Australian media outlet, how do you assess freedom of speech in the West? Have you ever encountered artificial restrictions on freedom of speech?
D.E.: I’ll give you an example. After many times of going to ABC and arguing and saying, “look, you’re not reporting these things”, I went to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which is the Australian Government watchdog on our media regulations, and I put a complaint in and saying this bias in the media and they’re not balancing these stories. I gave evidence, I gave facts. I waited for a response. I have an email response and I still have it. The Australian Communication Media Authority said that media can be biased if it wants to. I was shocked. I was shocked. I personally feel that I saw a red flag with my complaint.
M.T.: The other day, an official representative of the Ministry of Defense of the People’s Republic of China said that Beijing opposes Washington’s double standards regarding the Taiwan issue, and any attempt to prevent the reunification of China with Taiwan will certainly fail. How, in your opinion, will further events develop around the island?
D.E.: I think we have to look at the history of Taiwan and what led up to today. It’s a different history in regards to Ukraine. So let’s just separate those issues because you cannot compare apples with oranges. It’s a different situation. After the Second World War, there was a civil war with troops of Chiang Kai-Shek. Chiang Kai-Shek’s KMT group or Kuomintang group lost in that civil war like in the US Civil War, the North against the South. Chiang Kai-Shek troops with the support of the US went into Taiwan, and the US helped them secure Taiwan away from China and take Taiwan away from China. Taiwan has been part of China at least for centuries. So they excluded Taiwan from China. KMT troops with the support of the US. Went into Taiwan and undertook a 35-year terror martial. Not democracy, martial law. Anyone who objected to the KMT being there, was locked up and tortured. Where was the US with their democracy standards? And then it was only in the 80s when we started seeing this move to what the what we call democracy. Hong Kong was island of democracy and then say hat they want to do democracy. Did you see the hypocrisy in that? This double standard.
M.T.: I don’t understand when someone talks about democracy and comes with weapons to somebody’s land. That’s not a democracy.
D.E.: They lost the war, came into Taiwan. Taiwan was recognized as part of China. And for anyone to say that, “oh, China is going to invade Taiwan,” how does a country divide itself, right?
M.T.: In the Taiwan issue, just like in the Ukrainian one, the American trace is clearly traced. What do you think is the purpose of the Americans meddling in the internal affairs of other countries and will they try to make Taiwan a second Ukraine?
D.E.: What they’re doing is under an agreement with Australia, they tie this into a conflict. The agreement calls for Australia to develop long range nuclear submarines, which are not for our own protection, because a nuclear submarine has power to go a long way, not to protect our waters. It’s not in our interests. There is an agreement on with the US and UK to develop hypersonic weapons. Why does Australia need hypersonic weapons to defend itself? We don’t have any immediate threats. It’s all geared towards that area. Our current diplomacy, defense policies are going through this. What the US is doing? The US is saying: “we agree with the status quo.” What is the status quo, you may ask. The status quo for the US is to keep giving weapons to Taiwan and antagonizing them against China. That’s the status quo. I think that the case also in Ukraine with NATO’s supplying weapons. Ukraine not really wanting to go into the Minsk agreement, and implement it just to buy some time for them to build up weapons. We have to start looking at these issues with more open eyes and investigate these elements. Let’s start investigating all these to make peace. Peace cannot be achieved by supplying weapons to countries antagonizing against other countries. We could only imagine if China or Russia went into Mexico and said, “oh, Mexico, you can be part of our security arrangement. Let’s put our missiles. Let’s try them. Let’s get some radical elements within Mexico, maybe a new neo-Nazi group in Mexico. Let’s get them going. Let’s get them to attack some American people and be racist to them in Mexico.” What would be the U.S. response? The US have get off the high horse, the arrogant, hypocritical high horse.