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Victorian Premier Seeks Chinese Tech Precinct For Melbourne

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 06 October 2020


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Daniel Andrews. CREDIT: SIMON SCHLUTER


Chinese Tech Precinct part of push for 'China's Gateway to Australia


Political // BLUF: The Premier of the Australian state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, reportedly asked the Chinese government last year to set up a technology research and development centre in Melbourne, known as a 'Torch Centre'


This request prompted warnings of intellectual property theft and potential national security implications.


Andrews signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Victoria to join China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2018. Australia's Home Affairs Minister described BRI as a “a propaganda initiative from China” that brings an “enormous amount of foreign interference”.


(See Point 3 Below for Further Information)


The Daily Quick-Look for 06 October 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.


1. MEXICO - Security: A dozen dead bodies found in abandoned vans in rural Mexico

FYSA: Mexican authorities said on Monday they found the bodies of 12 men and women left in two abandoned vans in a rural area in the central state of San Luis Potosi, an area brimming with drug cartel activity. The San Luis Potosi state attorney general’s office said a written message from an alleged criminal organization was found next to the bodies of the 10 men and two women. The attorney general’s office did not reveal the content of the message or give details about the cause of death of the victims, who have not been identified. Several organized crime gangs operate in the state, including the powerful Zetas and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel. Between January and August of this year 411 people were murdered in San Luis Potosi, according to official data, a 43% increase over the same period in 2019. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

2. AZERBAIJAN - Political, Security: Death toll rises as Azeris, Armenians say civilian areas are under fire

FYSA: Azerbaijan and Armenia accused each other on Monday of attacking civilian areas and said the death toll was rising from the deadliest fighting in the South Caucasus region for more than 25 years. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg added his voice to calls for an immediate end to the clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountain enclave that belongs to Azerbaijan under international law but is populated and governed by ethnic Armenians. But prospects for a ceasefire appeared remote after fighting intensified at the weekend, with hundreds killed in clashes involving artillery, tanks and fighter planes since Sept. 27. Azerbaijan said Azeri cities outside Nagorno-Karabakh had been struck, taking the fighting closer to territory from which pipelines carry Azeri gas and oil to Europe. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)


3. AUSTRALIA - Political, Security: Andrews seeks Chinese tech precinct for Melbourne as part of 'gateway' push

FYSA: Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews last year asked the Chinese government to set up a technology research and development centre in Melbourne, prompting warnings about intellectual property theft and the potential national security implications. Mr Andrews’ request for a so-called "torch centre" to be set up in Melbourne was part of his attempt last October to court Chinese investment and which saw him describe Victoria as "China's gateway to Australia". The offer was made in a letter sent last year to China’s Minister for Science and Technology, Wang Zhigang, and followed up in person in a meeting between the Premier and vice-minister Huang Wei in October last year. Torch centres in China bring together universities and high-tech start-ups with the aim of fostering innovation. They have been crucial to China’s rising fortunes since 1988 and the Chinese government credits them with contributing almost half of China's patents and 11 per cent of its gross domestic product. The University of NSW already hosts such a centre, but risk analysis group Foreign Brief says they have also been linked to China’s potential acquisition and development of "grey area" technology that could include military use. (SMH. See link in heading for further reading)

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