Home Asian News Social media is blurring the lines of national sovereignty - The Diplomat

Social media is blurring the lines of national sovereignty – The Diplomat


In 2018, when I was in my freshman year in college, I moved to a student housing, which is mainly for Chinese students studying in Australia. Chinese students tend to stick together. Posters in student halls of residence are in Mandarin Chinese, while the shops and restaurants around the accommodation cater to homesick students looking for groceries directly from China.

On March 11 of that year, the Chinese government approved the removal of the two-term limit on the presidency and Xi Jinping effectively became the “lifelong president”.

On that day, I walked out of my student accommodation and found that, in a rare act of defiance, a student posted a poster of Xi with the words “NOT MY CHAIRMAN!” are written in bold letters on them. Posters are everywhere on campus. Within three hours, they were defeated.

The stifling censorship faced by Chinese students in Australia from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is well documented. Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published evidence that many Chinese students have been afraid to speak up about politically sensitive issues in Australia for fear of the repercussions of Beijing.

HRW researcher Sophie McNeil said research shows that Chinese students in Australia have “a great fear of being watched. The students expressed surprise that they came here to only feel that they were living in a system similar to what they were living under the CCP. “

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The Chinese student experience in Australia was a red flag. Technology has crept into our lives, but is also possible for governments and groups around the globe on further political agendas and consolidation of power, not just in our own countries. them but also in other countries.

Geographical boundaries of the states became increasingly blurred. Chinese censors may track a student arriving in Australia, or one Indonesia’s covert operations can try to influence the emotions of West Papuan through Australia’s social media accounts. Threats to Australia’s national security will be many.

During the Cold War, Soviet citizens were forbidden to travel outside of their homeland. Today, for economic reasons, authoritarian states have a greater incentive to tolerate, and sometimes even encourage, the movement of their populations. Online communication has become a platform from which anyone can talk. But likewise, integrated communication can provide new opportunities for governments to suppress voices abroad. Unless specified, disinformation technologies and surveillance technologies will only become more effective at manipulating or silencing public opinion.

Connecting faster around the world also increases the likelihood of the Australian community being drawn into conflicts overseas. Last month, four Sikh students were being attacked by a group of men in Harris Park, Sydney. The attacks are a response to farmers’ current protests in India, where many Sikhs have demonstrated against the Indian government’s new agricultural laws.

The Harris Park attacks show the relative ease that overseas conflicts can take place in Australia due to social networking. Tensions caused by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and his sectarian actions in India, increased divisions within the Indian Australian community, between Hindu nationalists and non-Hindu nationalists. Indian minority religious numbers.

Dr. Surjeet Dhanji from the University of Melbourne, in one Interview with the Guardian, saying that the Hindu nationalism “hates factories” on social media influenced the Australian community and created “a swirling effect that messages come true to affect them in Australia – away from their homeland. ” As social media spreads more and more. To integrate into society, the Australian government needs to prepare for domestic affairs of foreign countries to create a ripple effect in the country. This can be mitigated by the broader integration of social media into the nation’s security agenda.

First, universities and campuses need to expand support for foreign students and provide discussion facilities to avoid fear of consequences at home. Some Welcome your progress in this regard has already been done, but will need to continue action.

Second, citizens need to hold social media companies and other technology companies accountable if they compromise commitments with democratic values. Facebook, in particular, also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, has taken it Minimal effort to reduce the negative impact of creating rampant fake news on their platforms.

Third, more government funding is needed to study Australia’s messaging and social media habits. Staying ahead of the social media trends can provide better information for strategies against foreign influence and misinformation.

Above all, schools should be encouraged to begin teaching courses Increase media understanding among Australian students, or improve on existing ones, taking into account the impact of social media and other new technologies. This will include teaching students about the prevalence of “fake news” as well as how algorithms and other intrusive digital technologies work.

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In the future, technology will allow foreign interests to penetrate Australia’s borders on an unprecedented scale. Australia has been relatively successful in addressing this challenge so far, but we must always be vigilant. For all its positives, social media will continue to blur boundaries at the point where Australia’s borders end and other countries’ borders begin.

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