Cheung Lay, Mike Smith, Mike discussed on Mornings with Virginia Trioli


I View new season. No questions off limits. Oh, my gosh, I don't think I should answer that question. Take a front row seat as misunderstood. Australians share their stories and answer questions You've always wanted to ask. I just wanted to be accepted. I want to be part of what everybody else was. I was alive at last The new season of You Can't ask that starts tonight on ABC TV and I've year You're in the chat room with Virginia Tree Ali on a minute chat room today where I hope there isn't a sudden loud banging on the door to the chat room. That's what not only Michael Smith, China across one of these Chinese financial review, but many, many others. Besides in the new China experience on and unfortunately regular basis, the security the intelligence and secret police agencies who come knocking on your door take you away and then perhaps you might disappear. Into one of China's notorious black jails. What was changing in China? When Michael Smith and our very own Gilbert, ALS and others were there at that time? What has changed and why Will China ever be the same again? Mike Smith has written a book on his experiences. The last correspondent dispatches from the front line of Jeez you China, and he joins me now, Mike, Welcome to the chair room. Why did you need to think for having me on? Tell me and take me back to that night after midnight when there was the pounding on the door? Look, it was I've had a pretty sheltered life up until then. So it was quite a terrifying moment side. It's respectable September last year, I've been warned by the Australian government that I should get out of China s o. I had indeed packed my bags. Dr. Ticket it out. The next day, I went off to bed and in the middle of the night there was a knocking at the door. Ran down stays in my boxer shorts still hard to sleep, No idea what was going on, and there were seven uniformed police at at my door, and some of those officers were representing the Ministry of State Security, which is pretty terrifying stuff in in in China. They came into my house and set me down. Fill me with a camera and said I was a person of interest in a national security investigation and I couldn't leave China, So it was pretty. It was a bit scary. The moment you saw those officials at the door when you flung open the door in your half asleep state did you realize immediately what was about to happen? What was going on? I did partly, I mean, you know that the fat in the ambassador that being telling bill of myself that we needed to get out of the country. We still didn't know exactly why or what was going on that that was the problem. It was very confusing. So when they sat me down, I I sort of seed. For about 10 minutes. I feed for the worst. Another Australian Chinese journalist Cheung Lay sheathing detained a few weeks earlier and dumb and I thought, my God, this is it. This is this is gonna happen to me. They going to disappear me? Of course, that didn't happen. They they ended up sort of leaving after about 15 minutes. But you know when you were in very serious trouble Bill had a similar visit Trump from the authorities at the same time. And although they didn't sort of lock us up that nice when something like this happens in China, it's it's pretty serious stuff, and there was in a very silent secret and swift exiting off you both from the country. That's right. It was like it was all very dramatic. And when I still can't believe it happened to me, But some we obviously went into the consulate that the next morning and the decision was made to put both of us under diplomatic protection. So this is you know, this hardly ever happens to a straight in citizens thing in China. It's a very friendly just gonna pose you there when whatever happened to some, you know. Red bag journalist who's been, you know, ticking everyone off with their coverage anyway, Suddenly you're on the diplomatic protection. Well, exactly. That was the argue the whole situation. I mean, Bill and I was sort of way always complained that I'll defect never tell us what's going on. They trying to sort of hide information. And he we are we journalists were part of the cover up still create, because some, you know it was essential. We have to get the lead on the our situation. It would have been Huge news back in the Strider and if the news got out when we were still in China and really would have complicated the negotiations to get us out of there. Have you ever got to the heart of the Why? We I think we have and we didn't know this time. But back in June last year, a zero raided the homes of four Chinese journalists sort of part of the wider foreign interference. Investigation. So of course, no one had told us that at the time when he was still in China, but it really looks like it was teacher tap retribution for for what happened to the Chinese journalists in Australia, Of course, they were actually allowed to leave. Fraley light wrong on Ben sort of I I write in the book. I mean, sources, you know, by both within the Chinese government in the Australian government have had confirmed to me, But, you know, this is actually what happened. This is what was going on here, um, on digital sort of bowls down to that, and we were really just pawns in a political game. Being played between the striker in China. In the end, it wasn't actually anything to do with anything particularly sensitive. I was writing or working on at the time. I think it's intriguing that the subtitle to abort his dispatches from the front line of Ge's New China Because that's essential in K change here. Gene is a really interesting figure, someone who is styling himself as a new Mao. That's right. And when she came into power in 2000 and 12, but I think we really started to see his true colors, probably around the end of 2000 and 17. Just a few months after I arrived, China, he changed the Constitution to effectively allowed him to rule is president for life. They abolished the term limits on On on the Chinese presidency enemies since since then we've sort of seen this sort of creeping authoritarianism on under his rule, a real departure of what we saw under previous latest such a thing, Xiaoping, who sort of really opened up the country on I think this will really sort of accelerated after their pandemic, and China actually emerged from Corona virus. Fairly quickly compared to the West, and I think we were saying that sort of much more confident and emboldened China that on the world stage now and that that's sort of resulting..

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