Pavlou renews fight with Chinese diplomat

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Even if Drew Pavlou wins what he believes is a landmark case against a Chinese diplomat, the activist says it won’t stop the bomb threats.

However, the rights activist is hopeful that a protective order against Xu Jie will be successful, saying China’s former consul general in Brisbane has launched a brutal and systematic campaign of harassment against him.

“The Chinese Communist Party has been behind a long campaign to brutally go against me and my family,” Pavlou told AAP.

“My younger brother was the target of bomb threats, my family continued to be the target of death threats, I was repeatedly attacked on the streets of Australia.

“Unfortunately, I can’t even post (on social media) where I will be ahead for fear of being the target of bomb threats.”

Mr Pavlou launched an appeal in the Brisbane District Court on Friday after his Peace and Good Conduct Act claim against Dr Xu was dismissed in August 2020.

The complaint two years ago followed a July 2019 protest at the University of Queensland in which Mr Pavlou was assaulted twice.

Dr. Xu issued a press release after the confrontation, which Mr. Pavlou said incited violence against him.

Mr Pavlou failed in court two years ago after a Brisbane magistrate ruled Dr Xu had diplomatic immunity.

However, he made the appeal after seeking legal advice from international experts, even though Dr Xu is no longer Consul General in Brisbane or Australia.

Dr. Xu did not show up on Friday.

“That’s the principle. I think the court should issue an order against him to make it clear that such conduct is unacceptable… even though Xu Jie has left the country,” Pavlou said.

“His statement… which really served as a kickstart to the protracted and at times brutal campaign of harassment that my family and I have endured in Australia.”

Mr Pavlou praised his lawyers Andrew Stumer and Mark Tarrant but did not expect to win, saying it did not look like Judge Bernard Porter saw Xu Jie as a permanent threat to him.

“It draws a distinction between Xu Jie the individual and the Chinese Communist Party,” he said.

“I personally believe that Xu Jie was acting as an arm of the Chinese Communist Party.

“The continued threats I face from the Chinese Communist Party are quite significant and I think his statement was really the…dog whistle.”

After Friday’s hearing, Judge Porter reserved his decision for a later date.

“It is a legally difficult question, but the judge treats it in a very professional way, so I am very grateful to him,” Mr Pavlou said.

“If he concludes that Xu Jie as an individual poses no threat to me, I will respect the decision.”

Even if he does not succeed, Mr. Pavlou considered that his case remained a “significant affair”.

“The fact that the judge will write a detailed judgment and will most likely comment on Xu Jie and the statement…is significant,” he said.

No matter the outcome, Mr. Pavlou says the harassment will not stop.

He said his family had suffered dozens of bomb and death threats and efforts to defame them in the past year alone.

“Whatever the decision, I unfortunately believe that…the protracted campaign of harassment against my family will continue.”

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