China expert links break-ins to work
ANew Zealand academic who made international waves researching China's international influence campaigns has suffered two recent break-ins which she believes were connected to her work.
University of Canterbury professor Anne-Marie Brady, speaking yesterday from Christchurch to the Australian Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee in Canberra, outlined three recent events which caused her concern.
“I had a break-in in my office last December. I received a warning letter, this week, that I was about to attacked. And yesterday I had a breakin at my house,” she said.
She said this week’s burglary at her Upper Riccarton home was particularly suspicious.
“I had three laptops — including one used for work — stolen. And phones. [Other] valuables weren't taken. Police are now investigating that.”
Brady also said her employer at Canterbury University had been pressured following earlier work on China's Antarctic policy and — following a recent visit to China — sources she had talked to were subjected to visits from authorities.
“People I've associated with in China, just last year, were questioned by the Chinese Ministry of State Security about their association with me.”
The disclosures came after NSW MP Julian Leeser asked Brady whether her recent profile on the subject had resulted in any blowback.
“Has that been difficult for you personally, and have you felt any difficulties as a result of being outspoken about Chinese political influence?”
Her outspokenness became extremely public after she published in September a “Magic Weapons” paper using New Zealand as a case study in explaining China's extra-state exertion of influence.
The paper highlighted a river of campaign donations to governing parties, and how a cluster of former senior politicians — including former prime ministers and mayors — and family members of current government ministers had been appointed to boards of state-owned Chinese banks, companies and think tanks.
The research prompted Winston Peters, then on the campaign trail as leader of New Zealand First, to call for an inquiry.
Brady was speaking to a parliamentary committee considering that legislation.
The NZ police, citing complaint privacy, declined to answer questions about Brady's break-ins.
Security Intelligence Service director Rebecca Kitteridge said she could not comment on individual cases.