Tony Shu-jen Chang is in the news again. For those who do not recognise his name, you may have seen him featured in the original Four Corners ‘Chinese Influence’ series. This time around, he has been active in the recent University of Queensland Hong Kong protests.
After reading this, you might start to think he could be another botched attempt at gathering evidence by ‘journalist’ Nick McKenzie. Nick McKenzie already had to settle with his source Lupin Lu last year for his narrative building method of ‘investigative journalism’.
Mr Chang has become a bit of a controversial figure in the Australian Chinese community once again, as he was spotted provoking Chinese students in the recent University of Queensland Hong Kong protests. These protests were a clash between pro-Hong Kong and Pro-Beijing students.
This was the protest that has been portrayed by Western media as an one sided affair with much of Western media blaming the pro-China international students, including progressive outlets like the Guardian.
The above Guardian headline would make you think that Chinese students were the main instigator of the fight.
This is in fact not true as Chang was seen provoking Chinese students with the word ‘Zhina’. This is a slur that was used by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second World War and is equivalent to the ‘N’ word in the Chinese context. It brings up memories of the Rape of Nanking, Unit 731 and other atrocities that the Japanese army committed for many people, including myself who had family members perish during the conflict.
You can hear Mr Chang shouting the words Zhina in the original video tweet that went viral.
What perhaps makes this vial derogatory verbal assault more interesting is that Tony Shu-Jen Chang is actually from China himself, despite the Wade Giles romanisation he uses for his name, a romanisation system commonly used in Taiwan.
The pro Taiwanese independence publication, Liberty Times, hosts a copy of his passport online, where it lists his birthplace as Shenyang, a city in Liaoning province that was greatly involved in the Second World War, famous for the Mukden incident.
Many online users have explained to me that it’s likely he was radicalised by Taiwanese Falungong practitioners such as Lin Shan Ju. It would not surprise me, given the allure of Taiwanese culture for Chinese youth and Australian Chinese youth for myself but this is merely a hypothesis with no hard evidence.
The other time that Tony Chang made a ruckus in the Chinese community was when he openly disclosed his views on immigration online.
Tony Chang expressed multiple times on different social media platforms that Australia should “stop all immigration unless it is for humanitarian refugees”.
What does this all prove?
It proves that, just because someone is anti-China and anti-CCP, it does not mean they are necessarily progressive or someone you should support. It also proves that self hate is still a huge issue within Chinese communities all over the world, including back in Mainland China.