Update: Today Latest News

Date: THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2022

Time: 4 pm (Sydney). 10:30 am (New Delhi). 7 am (Zurich). 10pm (San Francisco)

Platform: Zoom (with live streams on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)

Event Type: Virtual, public, on-the-record and open to the press

China has in recent times sought to aggressively influence, interfere and shape public discourse and political outcomes beyond its borders. Australia and increasingly the Southern Pacific has been a target of Chinese influence operations. What has been the experience down under? How does China’s potential ambitions in the region pose a threat to an open and inclusive international system, freedom and democracy?



Sophie McNeill

Researcher, Human Rights Watch

Dr. Feng Chongyi

Associate Professor in China Studies, University of Technology, Sydney

Blake Johnson

Analyst, Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)

Kyinzom Dhongdue

Former Tibetan MP


Sakina Batt


Tsewang Thupten










Sophie McNeill

Sophie McNeill is the Australia researcher for Human Rights Watch. Previously, she worked as a reporter for ABC’s Foreign Correspondent as well as an investigative reporter with ABC TV’s Four Corners program where she produced programs on the Hong Kong protest movement and the mass arbitrary detention of Xinjiang’s Muslims by the Chinese government. Sophie was also a foreign correspondent for the ABC and SBS in the Middle East, working across the region in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Egypt and Turkey, as well as Israel/Palestine. Sophie has twice been awarded Australian Young TV Journalist of the Year. She is the author of “We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know: Dispatches from an Age of Impunity.”


Blake Johnson

Blake is an analyst at the International Cyber Policy Centre of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), is a defence and strategic policy think tank based in Canberra. His research interests include influence and information operations, disinformation, and emerging technologies, particularly in the South Pacific. Prior to joining ASPI, Blake worked in government on national security issues, with a focus on regional security, stability and development, foreign influence, and climate change. He has a Bachelor of Science from Monash University and a Master of Security and Defence Management from University of New South Wales.


Dr Feng Chongyi 

Dr. Chongyi is an Associate Professor in China Studies, University of Technology, Sydney and adjunct Professor of History, Nankai University, Tianjin. He served as head of China Studies at UTS from 1995-2006. His current research focuses on intellectual and political development in modern and contemporary China, as well as the political economy of China’s provinces. His research explores the intellectual and political changes, the growth of rights consciousness and democratic forces in particular, leading to constitutional democracy in China. He has authored over ninety articles in academic journals and edited numerous articles in newspapers and on the Internet.


Kyinzom Dhongdue

Kyinzom Dhongdue is the Government Relations Lead at Amnesty International Australia. Kyinzom was the former CEO and Campaigns Manager of the Australia Tibet Council and a former Member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, representing the Tibetan community in Australasia. In May 2022, she contested the federal Australian parliamentary elections as part of a new political party, the Democratic Alliance, to defend Australian democracy by countering China’s influence operations in politics. She joins the panel today in her personal capacity as a Tibetan activist.


Tsewang Thupten 

Tsewang Thupten works as a consultant to the federal government in Canberra, Australia. He is a member of the Tibetan Community in Canberra, Australia.


Sakina Batt 

Sakina Batt is a producer at Meeting Point, a leading audio visual production house and buying agency in Nepal. She directs promotional videos, does voice overs, writes scripts and copywriting for the videos in Meeting Point. Sakina worked for Tibet TV at the Central Tibetan Administration in India for four years (2017-2021) where she served as a news presenter and an interview host. She also made short documentaries for the channel, wrote scripts, conducted research, edited videos and anchored the show In Conversation with Tibet TV. Sakina has a Masters in Mass Communication from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi and a bachelors from Delhi University.