Author and academic Clive Hamilton says that his exposé on the Chinese Communist party’s alleged activities in Australia will still see the light of day.
After receiving legal advice, Hamilton’s publisher, Allen & Unwin, wanted to delay the publication of Silent Invasion, which details purported efforts by the Chinese government to influence Australian society.
However, Louise Cornegé, head of publicity at Allen & Unwin, said in a statement to TIME that “Clive was unwilling to delay publication and requested the return of his rights, as he is entitled to do.”
Hamilton believes that Allen & Unwin is acting under real or perceived pressure from Beijing.
“This signals a watershed moment in the tide of Chinese influence in Australia,” he told TIME.
“A major publisher has decided to pull the plug on a book that exposes that influence in this country. If the threats from Beijing, or perceived threats from Beijing, succeed in stopping a book that exposes its activities in Australia, then that gets to the heart of Australian democracy.”
Hamilton added that the book would still be published in some way “as soon as possible.”
The specter of Chinese political presence in Australia has been generating headlines over the last year. In October, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop warned Chinese students with party affiliations studying in Australia to respect their host country’s “openness and freedom.”
Earlier this year, an investigation of donations showed that Chinese-linked companies and individuals had poured millions of dollars into Australia’s major political parties.
The Chinese ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jinygye, has rejected allegations of political interference as “groundless” and said they were provoking a “China panic.”