Open letter on harassment campaign against Anne-Marie Brady

In New Zealand, Anne-Marie Brady, an academic who investigated the CCP’s influence in local politics has become the target of a series of incidents which, taken together with attacks from Party-directed media, are consistent with an intimidation campaign.

Under Xi Jinping’s rule, the PRC Party-state has intensified domestic repression to levels not seen in decades, as illustrated by the fate of hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists rounded up in 2015, or most shockingly, the build-up of “re-education” detention centers in Xinjiang, holding hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities.

The wave of domestic repression has been accompanied by increasing efforts to limit freedom of expression even beyond the PRC’s borders, both in overseas Chinese communities, where independent media have been largely taken over by entities connected with the CCP United Front and Propaganda systems, and even among foreign entities, such as academic publishers or commercial firms.

Another form of this escalation are the unprecedented attacks on foreign scholars and researchers of contemporary China, be it in the form of Cultural Revolution-style in-class harassment for their views and opinions, denial of visas, threatened or actual libel suits or, in some cases, detentions during research visits in Mainland China.

In New Zealand, Anne-Marie Brady, an academic who investigated the CCP’s influence in local politics has become the target of a series of incidents which, taken together with attacks from Party-directed media, are consistent with an intimidation campaign. New Zealand authorities have been less than forthcoming in their support for a prominent scholar targeted by a foreign power, at times even adopting a dismissive posture – an attitude appreciated by PRC state media.

In response, we initiated an open letter in support of Brady and her research. The letter, with 169 initial signatories, was published on the Sinopsis website on Thursday 6 December and remained open for signatures for approximately one week. The 303 signatories include academics, think-tankers, journalists, human-rights activists, politicians and others, based in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France (including New Caledonia), Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, China (including Hong Kong), Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States.

Since the text was made public, the letter has been covered in the New Zealand Herald, Hlídací pes, The Guardian, Radio NZ, Ming Pao 明报, The New York Times, RFA, Mandarin Pages (华页) and NPR.

[Post updated on 12 December]

Sinopsis and Jichang Lulu

Open letter on harassment campaign against Anne-Marie Brady

We, the undersigned concerned scholars and others with an interest in China, have been alarmed and appalled by the recent wave of intimidation directed against our colleague, Professor Anne-Marie Brady, in apparent retaliation for her scholarly research on contemporary China.

Anne-Marie Brady, a scholar of Chinese politics affiliated with the University of Canterbury, has investigated the external propaganda and political influence mechanisms employed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in New Zealand and beyond. Her 2017 paper Magic Weapons, based on extensive Chinese and English-language sources and previous scholarship on the PRC political system, described the CCP’s use of United Front tactics to control extra-Party forces, intensified at home and abroad under current CCP secretary general Xi Jinping. Professor Brady has accompanied her research with specific policy recommendations on how the New Zealand government can deal with the CCP’s political influence operations. These policy recommendations have attracted wide interest far beyond New Zealand.

Since the publication of her work on global United Front work, Brady’s home and office have been subjected to burglaries, during which no valuable items other than electronic devices were stolen. Most recently, her car was found to have been tampered with in ways consistent with intentional sabotage. According to media reports, Interpol and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (SIS) are involved in the investigation. In China, academics were interrogated by Ministry of State Security agents after their institutions hosted Brady. Brady has also been personally attacked in media under the direction of the CCP, both in the PRC and in New Zealand. Taken together, these circumstances make it likely that this harassment campaign constitutes a response to her research on the CCP’s influence, and an attempt to intimidate her into silence.

Despite the evidence of CCP interference provided in Brady’s research, of which the harassment campaign appears to be a further example, the New Zealand government has been slow to take action and failed to acknowledge that a problem exists. Professor Brady’s repeated requests for additional SIS and police protection have been ignored for four months.

Far from unique to New Zealand, the CCP’s global United Front tactics and other political influence operations have been documented in other locations, in Europe, Oceania, Asia and the Americas. Small nations can be especially vulnerable to the PRC Party-state’s exploitation of asymmetries in economic power and relevant expertise to advance its political interests. Whether within or without the limits of the law of their target countries, these activities have considerable effects on their societies and merit evidence-based research and the attention of politicians and the media. The harassment campaign against Brady risks having a chilling effect on scholarly inquiry, allowing the CCP to interfere in the politics of our societies unfettered by informed scrutiny.

We urge the New Zealand authorities to grant Professor Brady the necessary protection to allow her to continue her research, sending a clear signal to fellow researchers that independent inquiry can be protected in democratic societies and conducted without fear of retribution.

We join other voices in support of Professor Brady, which have included statements by a New Zealand Chinese community organisation, some of her Canterbury University colleagues, New Zealand academics and two Australian Sinologists, as well as many others on social media.

We further hope decision makers and the public at large, in New Zealand and elsewhere, will engage with evidence-based research on the CCP’s United Front tactics, such as Brady’s Magic Weapons, and give due consideration to policy advice emanating from such research.


Signatories (303)

Martin Hála, Charles University and

Jichang Lulu, independent researcher

Filip Jirouš,

Kateřina Procházková,

Klára Schwarzová,

Anna Zádrapová,

Abduweli Ayup, Uyghur linguistic rights activist, writer

Hernán Alberro, CADAL

Bengt Albons, former China correspondent for Dagens Nyheter

Alexander B. Alexiev, Professor, Sofia University

Jamil Anderlini, journalist

Patrik Andersson, Aalborg University

Nathan Attrill, PhD Candidate, Australian National University

Hermann Aubié, Aston University

Ross Babbage, Chief Executive Officer, Strategic Forum

David L. Bandurski, Co-Director, China Media Project

Michael Barr, FAHA, Flinders University

Michael Beckley, professor, Tufts University

Wolfgang Behr, Asien-Orient-Institut Universität Zürich

Jean-Philippe Béja, Research Professor Emeritus, CNRS

Thorsten Benner, Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), Berlin

Bill Bishop

Jan Boháč, Asian Studies Graduate

Ellen Bork, Visiting Fellow, Project 2049 Institute

Joseph Bosco, former China Country Director, Office of the Secretary of Defense

Julia Bowie, Center for Advanced China Research

Hal Brands, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Sarah M Brooks, International Service for Human Rights

Dr. Douglas Brown, John Abbott College, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, Quebec

Ela Brzozowska, editor and translator, Warsaw

Stéphane Burette, gérant atelier de mécanique marine, Nouvelle-Calédonie

Charles Burton, Brock University

Dr Joe Burton, Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato

Reinhard Bütikofer MEP, Bündnis90/Die Grünen

Darren Byler, Department of Anthropology, University of Washington

Harald Bøckman, Visiting Senior Fellow, London School of Economics and Political Science / University of Oslo

Dag Inge Bøe, social anthropologist

Jean-Pierre Cabestan, Professor of Political Science, Hong Kong Baptist University

William A. Callahan, London School of Economics

Alan Cantos, physical oceanographer and Director of the Spanish Tibet Support Committee (CAT)

Yaxue Cao, China Change

Kevin Carrico, Macquarie University

Erin Baggott Carter, Assistant Professor, School of International Relations, University of Southern California

Danielle Cave, Deputy Head, International Cyber Policy Centre, The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) and PhD Scholar, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, ANU

Lenka Cavojská, sinologist

John Cenngar, Centre for China Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong

Anita Chan (Prof.), Co-editor, The China Journal, Australian National University

Zhigang Chan, New Zealand Values Alliance

Thomas Chase, Monash University

Vaea Chebret, École H. Ohlen, Nouméa

Chen Weijian, Editor, Beijing Spring

Chen Yonglin, Campaign Coordinator of the Sydney Network for Democracy in China (SN4DC)

Dr. Lifen Cheng, Department of Sociology and Communication. University of Salamanca

Alvin Y.H. Cheung, Affiliated Scholar, US-Asia Law Institute, NYU School of Law

Jocelyn Chey, University of Sydney

Tarun Chhabra, policy analyst

Andrew Chubb, postdoc fellow, Columbia-Harvard China and the World Program

Włodzimierz Cieciura, assistant professor, Department of Sinology, University of Warsaw

E. Ann Clark, Associate Professor (retired), University of Guelph

Donald Clarke, Professor of Law and David A. Weaver Research Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School

Professor Jerome A. Cohen, NYU Law School

J Michael Cole, China Policy Institute (U Nott), Research Associate CEFC

Marcus Coll, Master’s student, University of Canterbury

Gabriel Collins, Rice University

Anders Corr, Corr Analytics

Demetrius Cox, independent researcher

Peter Dahlin, Director of Safeguard Defenders

Toby Dalley, University of Canterbury

Gloria Davies, Professor of Chinese Studies, Monash University

Chandler Davis, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, University of Toronto

Béatrice Desgranges, retired philosophy teacher, France

Rush Doshi, Brookings-Yale Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

June Teufel Dreyer, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Miami

Mathieu Duchâtel, Deputy Director, Senior Fellow, Asia and China Programme, European Council on Foreign Relations

Ryan Dunch, Professor, History and Classics, Director, Program in Religious Studies, University of Alberta

Denisa Dundrová

Ian Easton, Research Fellow, Project 2049 Institute

Elizabeth C. Economy, Council on Foreign Relations

Charles Edel, United States Studies Centre, University of Sydney

Eric Edelman, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Kingsley Edney, University of Leeds

Eaglenton Edward

Joshua Eisenman, LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin

Johan Elverskog, Southern Methodist University

José Elías Esteve Moltó, Universitat de València

Lars Ellström, independent researcher

Carlos Fara, political consultant and vice president, CADAL

Katarína Feriančíková, Charles University

Steve Fore, School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong (retired)

Fredrik Fällman, Associate Professor of Sinology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Feng Chongyi, University of Technology Sydney

Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford

Raúl Ferro, journalist, head of the Advisory Council, CADAL

Magnus Fiskesjö, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

John Fitzgerald, Swinburne University of Technology

Martin Flaherty, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Thomas Foght, Investigative journalist, Radio24syv

Matthew Foley, Khon Kaen University, Thailand

Lindsey Ford, Director for Political-Security Affairs, Asia Society Policy Institute

Philippe Forêt, PhD, Co-director, Environmental Humanities Switzerland

Ivan Franceschini, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and Australian National University

Vanessa Frangville, Université libre de Bruxelles

Aaron Friedberg, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University

Edward Friedman, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Eli Friedman, Cornell University

Dr Andreas Fulda, School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham

Torbjørn Færøvik, writer and historian,

Kateřina Gajdošová, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Charles University

Bernabé García Hamilton, Secretary, CADAL

Julian Garrett, Networks Automation & Digitalisation Program Manager, Vodafone UK

Roger Garside, former British diplomat

Ursula Gauthier, grand reporter, L’Obs

Petr Gerneš, student, Department of South and Central Asia, Charles University

Luke Gilkison, “Chinese Studies graduate, Victoria University of Wellington

David Gitter, Center For Advanced China Research

Jeremy Goldkorn, editor-in-chief of SupChina

Green Party, Czech Republic

Louisa Greve, Uyghur Human Rights Project

Gerry Groot, University of Adelaide

A.Tom Grunfeld, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus

Joanna Grzybek, Jagiellonian University

César Guarde-Paz, PhD Chinese Philosophy, University of Barcelona

Guo Shan-yu, Charles University

Rosemary Haddon, (formerly) Massey University

Vladimir Hajko, Ph.D., Mendel University in Brno

Ian Hall, Professor of International Relations, Griffith University

Terry Halliday, Research Professor, American Bar Foundation; Honorary Professor, Australian National University

Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics, Charles Sturt University, Canberra

Mette Halskov Hansen, University of Oslo

Mark Harrison, University of Tasmania

Jonathan Hassid, Iowa State University

Jerker Hellström, Head of Asia and the Middle East Programme, Swedish Defence Research Agency

Laurens Hemminga, City University of Hong Kong / Leiden University

Anne Henochowicz, independent scholar

Daniel Herman, former minister of culture, KDU-ČSL

Samantha Hoffman, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Marie Holzman, Solidarité Chine, Paris

Leta Hong Fincher, independent sociologist

Charles Horner, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Chris Horton, journalist

Dr. Robert Horvath, Department of Politics and Philosophy, La Trobe University

Ann Hou, Australian nurse

Fraser Howie, author and independent China analyst

Jakub Hrubý, Oriental Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences

Rob Huebert, University of Calgary

Peter Humphrey, Research Affiliate at King’s Collge London, and Research Affiliate at Harvard University Fairbank Center

Carlos Iglesias, human rights lawyer

Saša Istenič Kotar, Assist. Professor, University of Ljubljana

Joel Petersson Ivre, Graduate student, Yonsei University

J. Bruce Jacobs, Emeritus Professor of Asian Languages and Studies, School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash University

Dr. Van Jackson, Senior Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington

Jakub Janda, Executive Director, Head of Kremlin Watch Program, European Values Think-tank

Johnson Jiang, New Zealand Values Alliance

Rodney Jones, Wigram Capital Advisors (HK)

Coraline Jortay, Université libre de Bruxelles

Patrick Jory, University of Queensland

Alex Joske, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Shanthi Kalathil, International Forum for Democratic Studies, National Endowment for Democracy

Elsa B. Kania, Harvard University

Karina Kapounová, sinologist, Charles University, Prague

Séagh Kehoe, Teaching Fellow in Modern Chinese History, School of History, Politics and IR, University of Leicester

Thierry Kellner, Université libre de Bruxelles

Peter G. Kevan, FRSC, FRES, FRSB, FLS, University Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph

Jeffrey C. Kinkley, Portland State University

Earl H. Kinmonth, Professor Emeritus, Taisho University

Katrin Kinzelbach, Global Public Policy Institute, Berlin

Jakub Klepal, Executive Director, Forum 2000 Foundation

Ondřej Klimeš, Czech Academy of Sciences

Mike Koen, civil engineer and technical writer

František Kopřiva, MP, Czech Pirate Party

Zuzana Košková, University of Freiburg

Adam Kozieł, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights

Dr Mei-fen Kuo, The University of Queensland

Alan J. Kuperman, University of Texas at Austin

Petr Kutílek, lecturer in transitional politics, Prague

Václav Laifr, PhD candidate, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Charles University

Michael Laha, Program Officer at Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations

André Laliberté, Professor, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa

Françoise Lauwaert, Université libre de Bruxelles

Le Cheng, New Zealand Values Alliance

Professor John Lee, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

James Leibold, La Trobe University

Steve Levine, Department of History, University of Montana, USA

Filip Lexa, Sinologist and Indonesia expert, Charles University, Prague

Jake Lin, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

Jon R. Lindsay, Assistant Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Perry Link, Princeton University

Jianping Liu, New Zealand

Torbjörn Lodén, Emeritus Professor, Stockholm University

Olga Lomová, Charles University

Nicholas Loubere, Lund University

Julia Lovell, Birkbeck College, University of London

Adrián Lucardi, head of the Academic Council, CADAL

Nauja Lynge, author and blogger on Jyllandsposten

Maree Ma, Vision Times Media Corporation (Australia)

Jaime Malamud Goti, constitutional lawyer, Academic Advisor, CADA

T M McClellan, PhD, Independent scholar, formerly Senior Lecturer (Chinese) in The University of Edinburgh

Barrett L. McCormick, Professor, Marquette University

Kevin McCready, former AusAID official, translator

Paul Macgregor, historian and heritage consultant, Victoria, Australia

Richard McGregor, Lowy Institute

Anne McLaren, Professor, Chinese Studies, FAHA, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne

Thomas G. Mahnken, Johns Hopkins SAIS

Victor H. Mair, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, University of Pennsylvania

Maurizio Marinelli, University of Sussex

William D. Markle, Illinois Institute of Technology and Zhejiang University of Science and Technology

Peter Mattis, Research Fellow, China Studies, Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

Alexander Maxwell, Victoria University of Wellington

Michael Mazza, Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

Rory Medcalf, Australian National University

Jonathan Mirsky, historian of China, former journalist in China and Tibet

Benny Mok ARICS

Michelle S. Mood, Assistant Professor, Political Science & Asian Studies, Kenyon College

Stephen L. Morgan, Professor of Chinese Economic History, University of Nottingham

Zbyněk Mucha, indologist and tibetologist, Charles University

Luisetta Mudie, translator

Ian Mukherjee, independent analyst

Eske Møllgaard, Department of Philosophy, University of Rhode Island

Andrew J. Nathan, Columbia University

Adam Ni, Visiting Fellow, Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University

Cassy O’Connor MP, Tasmanian Greens Leader

Shaun O’Dwyer, New Confucianism scholar, Kyushu University

Mareike Ohlberg

Max Oidtmann, Georgetown University

Jojje Olsson, journalist and author

Charlie Parton, Associate Fellow, RUSI

Minxin Pei, Professor of Government Claremont McKenna College

Shiany Perez-Cheng, PhD candidate. University of Salamanca

Gaia Perini, University of Bologna

Sam Pheloung, Master’s student, University of Canterbury

Eva Pils, King’s College London

Garrie van Pinxteren, China correspondent and sinologist

Philip Regal, Emeritus Professor, University of Minnesota

Sybil Rhodes, President, CADAL

James A. Rice, (formerly) Department of Philosophy, Lingnan University

Sophie Richardson, PhD, China Director, Human Rights Watch

Stein Ringen, Professor of Political Economy, King’s College London

Liliana De Riz, political scientist, Academic Advisor, CADAL

Sean Roberts, The George Washington University

Kaz Ross, School of Humanities, University of Tasmania

Warren Henry Rothman, author and independent China analyst

Dr Ji Ruan, Senior lecturer at Auckland University of Technology

Stuart Russell, Macquarie University School of Law, Sydney Australia (retired)

Terence Russell, Asian Studies Centre, University of Manitoba

Fergus Ryan, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

Lukáš Rychetský, journalist, A2

Gabriel Salvia, Director General, CADAL

Katarzyna Sarek, Jagiellonian University

Łukasz Sarek, Asia Research Center, War Studies University, Poland

Elaine C. Sartorelli, University of São Paulo

David Schak, Adjunct Associate Professor, Griffith Asia Institute

Sigrid Schmalzer, Professor, History Department, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Matt Schrader, editor, Jamestown Foundation China Brief

Lesley Seebeck, Australian National University

Mark Selden, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, State University of New York at Binghamton

James D. Seymour, Columbia University

Hanna Shen, Polish journalist

Victor Shih, associate professor, UC San Diego

Susan L. Shirk, Research Professor, UC San Diego

Jan Sládek, Charles University Faculty of Arts, Department of Sociology, vice-dean for information resources

Prof. Martin Slobodník, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia

Joanne Smith Finley, Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies, Newcastle University

Angela Stanzel, Senior Policy Fellow, Institut Montaigne

Janice Gross Stein, University of Toronto

Mark Stokes, Project 2049 Institute

Jorge Streb, economist, Academic Advisor, CADAL

Piotr Strzałkowski, PhD Candidate, Edinburgh

Yutong Su, Journalist, Germany

Petr Suchý, Department of International Relations and European Studies, Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University

Jia-rui Sun, independent writer, New Zealand

Marina Svensson, Lund University

Henryk Szadziewski, Uyghur Human Rights Project and University of Hawaii

Josef Šlerka, Head of New Media Studies Department at Charles University

Hiroki Takeuchi, Southern Methodist University

Teng Biao, US-Asia Law Institute, New York University

Bradley A. Thayer, University of Texas San Antonio

Martin Thorley, University of Nottingham

Rian Thum, University of Nottingham

Alan Tidwell, Director, Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Rory Truex, Princeton University

Glenn Tiffert, historian

Aki Tonami, University of Tsukuba

Steve Tsang, Professor of Chinese Studies, SOAS University of London

Professor Jonathan Unger, Political & Social Change Department, Australian National University

Geoff Wade, independent researcher, Canberra

Professor Arthur Waldron, University of Pennsylvania

Christopher Walker, National Endowment for Democracy

Corey Wallace, Graduate School of East Asian Studies, Freie Universität Berlin

Gerrit van der Wees, George Mason University

Janette Wilcox, EAL teacher, Kangan Institute, Australia

Corey Willis, MA, Beijing Normal University

Scott Wingo, University of Pennsylvania

Casper Wits, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP, Tasmanian Greens

Andréa Worden, independent researcher

David Curtis Wright, University of Calgary

Teresa Wright, Department of Political Science, California State University

Weiguo Xi, New Zealand Values Alliance

Michael Yahuda, Emeritus Professor, LSE, Visiting Scholar, Sigur Center for Asia Studies, The Elliott School, George Washington University

Wai Ling Yeung, Western Australia Department of Education

Freeman Yu, human rights activist, New Zealand

Lukáš Zádrapa, Institute of Far Eastern Studies, Charles University Prague

Joshua Zhai, New Zealand Values Alliance