China Spying On Australia - Spy network claim backed

China is using a vast network of spies in an attempt to turn Australia into a "political colony,'' a defector said Wednesday.

Former Beijing University professor Yuan Hongbing, the fourth Chinese defector to surface in Australia in the past month, supported charges by a rebel Chinese diplomat that Beijing had an extensive network of agents in the country.

The agents are targeting Chinese dissidents and are also being used to influence political thought ``to turn Australia into a political colony of China,'' Yuan told ABC radio.

``Political colony means the Communist Party will attempt to influence Australia's politics and gradually to turn Australia to betray its fundamental principles of freedom and democracy,'' Yuan said through an interpreter.

A first secretary at the Chinese consulate-general in Sydney, Chen Yonglin, sought political asylum last month, and said Beijing has 1,000 spies in the country. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESS

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