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Katrina Vockler battling lymphoma for five years reveals the symptoms everyone should know about

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katrina vockler battling lymphoma for five years reveals the symptoms everyone should know about

It was late May 2016 when doctors told Katrina Vockler she wouldn’t live to see Christmas.

Aged 21, the Queensland childcare assistant who looked the very picture of health had just been diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin lymphoma – the most advanced form of blood cancer.

The news came as a shock to family and friends in her hometown on the Sunshine Coast, but none were more surprised than Ms Vockler who had never heard of lymphoma, let alone the devastating toll it would take on her body.

You’d never know to look at her, but the super-fit nature lover who follows a plant-based diet and never uses chemical products on her skin is still battling the insidious disease, four and a half years after her diagnosis. 

Now 25, Ms Vockler was on Thursday ecstatic to learn that ’90 percent’ of her cancer has gone, with just a trace remaining in a gland in her stomach – and tells Daily Mail Australia she is ‘so very proud’ of the woman she has become during her brave fight.

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In May 2016, doctors told Katrina Vockler (pictured) she wouldn't live to see Christmas. Aged 21, she had just been diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin lymphoma - the most advanced form of blood cancer

In May 2016, doctors told Katrina Vockler (pictured) she wouldn't live to see Christmas. Aged 21, she had just been diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin lymphoma - the most advanced form of blood cancer

In May 2016, doctors told Katrina Vockler (pictured) she wouldn’t live to see Christmas. Aged 21, she had just been diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin lymphoma – the most advanced form of blood cancer

You'd never know to look at her, but the super-fit nature lover is still battling the disease, four and a half years after her shock diagnosis

You'd never know to look at her, but the super-fit nature lover is still battling the disease, four and a half years after her shock diagnosis

You’d never know to look at her, but the super-fit nature lover is still battling the disease, four and a half years after her shock diagnosis

It was more than a year before her diagnosis when Ms Vockler developed an ‘excruciating’ pain in her lower back, so intense that she walked slouched forward and took painkillers to help her sleep at night.

But after a series of scans showed nothing untoward, she went on holiday to Central America – where she quickly broke out in an inflamed rash all over her body.

‘I was severely itchy from head to toe, 24/7, it was so distressing,’ Ms Vockler recalled. 

Despite allergy tests returning one negative result after the next, she started to experience exhaustion and dizziness, with dark circles appearing beneath her eyes. 

But the word ‘lymphoma’ was not yet in her vocabulary.

‘I still honestly would never have guessed it was cancer,’ she said.

It wasn’t until months of physiotherapy failed to alleviate her back pain that Ms Vockler was referred for more detailed scans, which finally revealed the true cause of her symptoms.

In rare cases advanced stages of lymphoma can cause lower back pain, which is believed to result from expanding lymph nodes pressing on nerves.

Ms Vockler's warning signs were an 'excruciating' pain in her lower back, an itchy rash that bothered her '24/7', unexplained exhaustion, dizziness and dark circles under her eyes

Ms Vockler's warning signs were an 'excruciating' pain in her lower back, an itchy rash that bothered her '24/7', unexplained exhaustion, dizziness and dark circles under her eyes

Ms Vockler’s warning signs were an ‘excruciating’ pain in her lower back, an itchy rash that bothered her ’24/7′, unexplained exhaustion, dizziness and dark circles under her eyes

Symptoms of Hodgkin lymphoma

* Painless swelling in the neck, armpit or groin

* Excessive sweating, especially at night

* Unexplained fatigue

* Itching

* Shortness of breath

* Unexplained cough

 *Fever

* Unexplained weight loss

Advanced stages can cause lower back pain, which is believed to be caused by expanding lymph nodes pressing on nerves. 

As lymphoma progresses and cancerous lymphocytes spread beyond the lymphatic system, the body loses its ability to fight infection.

Source: Cancer Council Australia

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Doctors broke the devastating news on Friday, April 29, 2016, a day Ms Vockler remembers ‘like it was yesterday’ which still triggers a torrent of overwhelming emotion.

‘It’s something a cancer patient never forgets,’ she said.

Surrounded by her mother and sister, she was told that tumours had spread from her lymph nodes to her neck, chest and spine.

As her mum clutched her head in her hands and her sister ran from the room in tears, Ms Vockler felt her whole body go numb. She was just 21 years old.

‘To hear that news at such a young age is indescribable, everything just comes crashing down on you,’ she said.

In hindsight, Ms Vockler said she wishes someone had pushed for further testing earlier on.

The childcare assistant from Queensland's Sunshine Coast certainly doesn't fit the mould of the typical cancer patient

The childcare assistant from Queensland's Sunshine Coast certainly doesn't fit the mould of the typical cancer patient

The childcare assistant from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast certainly doesn’t fit the mould of the typical cancer patient 

Doctors prescribed a course of AVBD chemotherapy, the first line of treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma, but Ms Vockler had just four rounds before calling it quits in favour of natural alternatives.

These included vitamin infusions, colonics, herbal supplements, juicing, meditation and sessions with a chiropractor, which she credits for ‘helping more than any other treatment’ she has tried.

‘I wanted to try and fuel my body as naturally as I could and let me tell you, [doctors] were not impressed,’ she said. 

‘They told me I wouldn’t live to see Christmas. I didn’t listen.’

Despite defying that prognosis, her cancer aggressively progressed.

Ms Vockler says the number of young adults she knows of who are fighting advanced lymphoma is 'absolutely heartbreaking', and wishes doctors would push for testing earlier on

Ms Vockler says the number of young adults she knows of who are fighting advanced lymphoma is 'absolutely heartbreaking', and wishes doctors would push for testing earlier on

Ms Vockler says the number of young adults she knows of who are fighting advanced lymphoma is ‘absolutely heartbreaking’, and wishes doctors would push for testing earlier on

By 2018 she had no choice but to start ICE chemotherapy, an potent cocktail of drugs used to treat patients who have not responded to other combinations.

Treatment left Ms Vockler constantly nauseas with a sickness you ‘can’t prepare for’ and stripped her of her long brunette hair, a loss she struggled to accept.

‘It was definitely one of the hardest things to cope with, not being able to recognise myself in the mirror,’ she said.

‘The sickness is not the same feeling as having the flu. It made me feel like I was on my death bed.’

When she went into remission four months later, it appeared that gruelling chemo had been worth the ordeal – but Ms Vockler knew the news was too good to be true when she felt lumps on her neck just three weeks afterwards.

She has been on a course of immunotherapy ever since as doctors battle to control the cancer and stop it from ravaging any more of her body. 

Her hair has grown back since she went from ICE chemotherapy to immunotherapy in 2018, but cancer is still growing in Ms Vockler's lymphatic system

Her hair has grown back since she went from ICE chemotherapy to immunotherapy in 2018, but cancer is still growing in Ms Vockler's lymphatic system

Her hair has grown back since she went from ICE chemotherapy to immunotherapy in 2018, but cancer is still growing in Ms Vockler’s lymphatic system

Hodgkin lymphoma explained

Hodgkin lymphoma is a rare form of cancer that starts in a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes.

The disease begins in a lymph node, usually in the neck, then spreads through the lymphatic system from one group of lymph nodes to another.

Hodgkin lymphoma represents just 0.5 percent of all cancers diagnosed in Australia. About 11 percent of all lymphomas are types of Hodgkin lymphoma, while the remainder are non-Hodgkin.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma may arise in lymph nodes anywhere in the body, whereas Hodgkin lymphoma typically begins in the upper body, such as the neck, chest or armpits.

Hodgkin lymphoma is often diagnosed at an early stage and is therefore considered one of the most treatable cancers.

Approximately 600 people in Australia are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma every year, most commonly younger people aged 15 – 29 and older people over the age of 65. It is more common in men than women. 

The causes of Hodgkin lymphoma remain largely unclear, but risk factors include family history – with those who have a parent or sibling who has had Hodgkin’s slightly likelier to develop the disease – certain viruses, including glandular fever and HIV, and a generally weakened immune system which can occur because of autoimmune conditions or lengthy periods taking immunosuppressant drugs. 

Source: Lymphoma Australia

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Katrina Vockler is one of roughly 600 Australians diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma every year.

It is a rare disease that accounts for just 0.5 percent of all cancers diagnosed in Australia, and one most likely to occur in people aged between 15 and 25 or those over 65 years old.

Hodgkin’s is notoriously difficult to diagnose because symptoms are vague and easily confused with those of less sinister illnesses like bacterial or viral infections like pneumonia and glandular fever.

Unlike cervical, breast and colon cancer, there are no screening programmes for Hodgkin’s and it cannot be diagnosed with a generic blood test, leading health organisations to label it a ‘silent killer’.

Ms Vockler feels the Australian government is failing to promote sufficient awareness about youth cancers, particularly lymphoma.

‘Everyone thinks you won’t get cancer unless you’re ”older” but the amount of young adults I’ve seen being diagnosed is absolutely heartbreaking,’ she said. 

‘I think something more needs to be done about it.’ 

Katrina feels the Australian government is failing to promote sufficient awareness about youth cancers, particularly lymphoma, which health organisations have dubbed a 'silent killer'

Katrina feels the Australian government is failing to promote sufficient awareness about youth cancers, particularly lymphoma, which health organisations have dubbed a 'silent killer'

Katrina feels the Australian government is failing to promote sufficient awareness about youth cancers, particularly lymphoma, which health organisations have dubbed a ‘silent killer’

Warning signs of Hodgkin’s include night sweats, itchiness and fatigue – all of which Ms Vockler experienced – as well as inflamed rashes, unexplained weight loss and painless lumps in the armpits, groin or neck.

Ms Vockler had no lumps on her neck, armpit or groin, a telltale symptom of Hodgkin’s, and only developed swelling on the side of her neck after she was diagnosed.

In its initial stages, most forms are highly treatable and associated with long-term survival, which means early intervention can be the difference between life and death.

It’s even curable at stage four when tumours have spread to organs outside the lymphatic system, as Ms Vockler’s had.

But as her story proves, fighting this disease in its later stages can rob years from your life.

Eager to help others avoid the ordeal that has consumed almost half of her 20s, Ms Vockler urged people to take ownership of their health and seek second opinions if doctors offer inconclusive answers.

‘You know your body more than anyone and it will literally give off warning signs if something’s not right,’ she said.

‘As soon as you feel that, it’s important to check it out. It may be nothing, but it’s so worth it.’ 

For more information on Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other types of blood cancer, please visit  Lymphoma Australia or the Australian Cancer Council. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

Australia

Qatar: 18 Australian women were ‘invasively strip-searched’ in Doha Airport

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qatar 18 australian women were invasively strip searched in doha airport

Up to 18 Australian women may have been subjected to invasive searches in Qatar after a premature baby was found abandoned in an airport bathroom.

The baby was found alive in a bin at the Hamad International Airport before flights – including one to Sydney – were delayed as officials tried to find the mother.

Passengers say women on board were forced to remove their underwear and have an invasive medical examination in an ambulance on the tarmac.

The mother was not found and the women were allowed to depart before serving hotel quarantine in Sydney. 

Previous reports said 13 Aussie women were searched but Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials said on Wednesday 18 Australians could have been involved. 

The Australian government has formally registered serious concerns with Qatari authorities. Pictured: Police at Doha Airport in March

The Australian government has formally registered serious concerns with Qatari authorities. Pictured: Police at Doha Airport in March

The Australian government has formally registered serious concerns with Qatari authorities. Pictured: Police at Doha Airport in March

Foreign Minister Marise Payne told Senate estimates the incident had triggered high-level diplomatic meetings.

‘The issues which have been discussed in relation to this matter are very concerning and very distressing,’ she told the committee in Canberra.

Labor’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong questioned why the minister had not yet spoken directly with her Qatari counterpart.

‘Surely we know enough to raise our deep concern and express at the most senior levels of government the importance of the report being finalised promptly,’ she said.

But Senator Payne said she was waiting for Qatar’s report into the incident before speaking with the country’s foreign minister.

‘I asked to see the report to get a very clear understanding of events as they had occurred and from the Qatari perspective,’ she said.

Senator Payne said discussions with the Qatari ambassador left her hopeful the report would be available in coming days.

DFAT secretary Frances Adamson confirmed a staff member was on one of the planes but not searched because she was not of child-bearing age.

Ms Adamson recalled her shock when learning about the searches.

‘It sounded incredible. As in how can this have happened?’ she told the hearing.

‘I was incredulous that it could have happened.’

Meanwhile, the Transport Workers’ Union NSW branch will meet on Thursday to vote on a potential boycott of the government-owned Qatar Airways.

‘This is just downright sexual assault sanctioned by a government and we can’t have that,’ union boss Richard Olsen told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

Women were allegedly searched without their consent after the newborn baby was found

Women were allegedly searched without their consent after the newborn baby was found

Women were allegedly searched without their consent after the newborn baby was found

Wolfgang Babeck, who was on the flight to Sydney, said that many of the women were distressed when they returned to the plane.

‘When the women came back, many of them or probably all of them were upset – one of them was in tears, a younger woman,’ he told the ABC

‘People couldn’t believe what had happened.’ 

A source in Doha briefed on the incident said: ‘(Officials) were forcing women to undergo invasive body searches – basically forced Pap smears.’

Senator Payne has expressed ‘serious concerns’ to Qatari officials and is awaiting a report to find out exactly what happened. 

She said the events were ‘grossly disturbing, offensive and deeply concerning’.  

Hamad International Airport management said the baby was safe and being cared for by medical and social workers. 

Hamad International Airport management said the baby was safe and being cared for by medical and social workers (file image)

Hamad International Airport management said the baby was safe and being cared for by medical and social workers (file image)

Hamad International Airport management said the baby was safe and being cared for by medical and social workers (file image)

‘The state of Qatar regrets any distress or infringement’: Statement from Qatar government 

On 2 October a newborn was found in a trashcan concealed in a plastic bag and buried under garbage at the Hamad International Airport and the baby was rescued from an appalling attempt to kill her and the infant is now safe under medical care in Dohar. 

This was the first instance of an abandoned infant being found in such condition at the airport and is egregious and life-threatening violation of the law triggered an immediate search for the parents, including on flights within the vicinity of where the newborn was found.

While the aim of the urgently decided search was to prevent the perpetrators of the horrible crime from escaping, the state of Qatar regrets any distress or infringement on the personal freedoms of any traveller caused by this action.

His Excellency of Qatar, the Prime Minister and Minister of interior of the state of Qatar has directed that a comprehensive transparent investigation into the incident be conducted. 

The results of the investigation will be shared with our international partners. The state of Qatar remains committed to ensuring the safety and security and comfort of all travellers transiting through the country. 

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Queensland LNP candidate Peter Zhuang’s newspaper ads asking Chinese people to ‘vote for our own’

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queensland lnp candidate peter zhuangs newspaper ads asking chinese people to vote for our own

A pro-Beijing Liberal candidate has taken out ads in a Chinese-language newspaper urging voters with the same ethnic background to elect ‘one of their own people’.

Peter Zhuang, a property developer and company director, is representing the Liberal National Party at this Saturday’s Queensland state election in the southern Brisbane seat of Stretton, which has a high concentration of voters with a Chinese background.

Ahead of the Halloween election on October 31, Mr Zhuang placed an advertisement in last week’s Queensland Chinese Times. 

Translated from Mandarin, his pitch said: ‘Vote for Peter Zhuang, vote for our own people.’

His full-page advertisement also promised to ‘establish a Chinese hub’.

‘A home of Chinese people, build a not-for-profit organisation for Chinese in terms of making friends, exercising, doing other entertainment events,’ the ad said.

Daily Mail Australia can also reveal Mr Zhuang has previously called on Communist China to exert it its influence from the South China Sea to northern Asia and Australia.

An LNP candidate took out an ad in a Mandarin-language newspaper urging ethnic voters to back him because he's Chinese. Peter Zhuang, a property developer, took out an ad in the Queensland Chinese Times (pictured) which said in Mandarin: 'Vote for our own people'

An LNP candidate took out an ad in a Mandarin-language newspaper urging ethnic voters to back him because he's Chinese. Peter Zhuang, a property developer, took out an ad in the Queensland Chinese Times (pictured) which said in Mandarin: 'Vote for our own people'

An LNP candidate took out an ad in a Mandarin-language newspaper urging ethnic voters to back him because he’s Chinese. Peter Zhuang, a property developer, took out an ad in the Queensland Chinese Times (pictured) which said in Mandarin: ‘Vote for our own people’

Australia is highly sensitive to potential Chinese influence in its politics as concerns grow the Communist superpower has been covertly pushing its global agenda. 

When asked about the front page spread Mr Zhuang told Daily Mail Australia Queensland’s Parliament needed more people of Chinese heritage.

‘The Chinese people, roughly, have five percentage of the whole Australia population so at this rate, we have 93 state MPs, so we should have at least four MPs with Chinese background,’ he said.

‘Being a member of Parliament means you are part of Australia.’ 

Mr Zhuang said the Chinese community deserved to have its own hub like any other ethnic group.

The theme continued in another advertisement placed in the Asian Community News, World News Weekly and the Queensland Asian Business Weekly promising to 'establish a Chinese-Australian centre'. 'Compatriots with the same root, the same clan, and the same source make it easier to communicate,' this ad translated into English said. 'The Chinese community should unite and elect our own representatives'

The theme continued in another advertisement placed in the Asian Community News, World News Weekly and the Queensland Asian Business Weekly promising to 'establish a Chinese-Australian centre'. 'Compatriots with the same root, the same clan, and the same source make it easier to communicate,' this ad translated into English said. 'The Chinese community should unite and elect our own representatives'

The theme continued in another advertisement placed in the Asian Community News, World News Weekly and the Queensland Asian Business Weekly promising to ‘establish a Chinese-Australian centre’. ‘Compatriots with the same root, the same clan, and the same source make it easier to communicate,’ this ad translated into English said. ‘The Chinese community should unite and elect our own representatives’

‘The Chinese community dreams of having a place to gather, to know each other,’ Mr Zhuang said.

‘I know some other ethnic communities have their own places.’ 

Another advertisement placed in the Asian Community News, World News Weekly and the Queensland Asian Business Weekly promised to ‘establish a Chinese-Australian centre’.

‘Compatriots with the same root, the same clan, and the same source make it easier to communicate,’ this ad translated into English said.

‘The Chinese community should unite and elect our own representatives.’

Peter Zhuang has an image of himself on Facebook with China's Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye (right), who in April threatened Chinese trade sanctions against Australia after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan. They were photographed together in Brisbane in August 2017

Peter Zhuang has an image of himself on Facebook with China's Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye (right), who in April threatened Chinese trade sanctions against Australia after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan. They were photographed together in Brisbane in August 2017

Peter Zhuang has an image of himself on Facebook with China’s Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye (right), who in April threatened Chinese trade sanctions against Australia after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan. They were photographed together in Brisbane in August 2017

Despite making a play for the Chinese vote, Mr Zhuang recommended LNP voters give their second preference to One Nation candidate Alexey Chekhunov, a property manager and migration agent, ahead of Labor and the Greens. One Nation’s founder Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech to federal Parliament infamously declared Australia was ‘in danger of being swamped by Asians’.

Mr Zhuang is the founder and managing director of the Bristar group, a property management company which also lists migration services on its website.

‘Bristar Migration & Education Co., Ltd., gathers industry elites and provides high-quality, efficient, and attentive services for overseas high-net-worth people,’ the website said.

‘Over the years, relying on the advantages of the group, it has provided a one-stop service for new migrants to settle in Australia.’

Peter Zhuang, a property developer, is representing the Liberal National Party at this month's Queensland state election in the southern Brisbane seat of Stretton, which has a high concentration of Chinese voters. He is pictured with the former LNP member for Stretton Freya Ostapovitch, who in 2014 told Parliament abortion was linked with breast cancer

Peter Zhuang, a property developer, is representing the Liberal National Party at this month's Queensland state election in the southern Brisbane seat of Stretton, which has a high concentration of Chinese voters. He is pictured with the former LNP member for Stretton Freya Ostapovitch, who in 2014 told Parliament abortion was linked with breast cancer

Peter Zhuang, a property developer, is representing the Liberal National Party at this month’s Queensland state election in the southern Brisbane seat of Stretton, which has a high concentration of Chinese voters. He is pictured with the former LNP member for Stretton Freya Ostapovitch, who in 2014 told Parliament abortion was linked with breast cancer

In 2017, he established a ‘Chinese Heritage Branch’ for the LNP, which controversially is only open to Chinese people.

The Queensland Opposition party has two branches, one in Brisbane and another on the Gold Coast. 

The Stretton electorate he is running in includes Sunnybank Hills where 14 per cent of the population was born in mainland China, a significantly higher proportion than the Queensland average of one per cent in the 2016 Census. 

Mr Zhuang’s personal Facebook page in March 2013 also had a message in Mandarin which urged Communist China to more aggressively spread its influence from the South China Sea to northern Asia and Australia.

In 2013, Mr Zhuang wrote a message on Facebook in Mandarin which said: 'I urge the Chinese government to follow the law and promote the "strike hard" and "suppression" overseas, starting with neighbouring countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan, and gradually spreading to the Americas, Europe and Australia, so that people of all ethnic groups will feel China's presence.' Pictured is a Chinese Navel shop in Sydney in June 2019

In 2013, Mr Zhuang wrote a message on Facebook in Mandarin which said: 'I urge the Chinese government to follow the law and promote the "strike hard" and "suppression" overseas, starting with neighbouring countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan, and gradually spreading to the Americas, Europe and Australia, so that people of all ethnic groups will feel China's presence.' Pictured is a Chinese Navel shop in Sydney in June 2019

In 2013, Mr Zhuang wrote a message on Facebook in Mandarin which said: ‘I urge the Chinese government to follow the law and promote the “strike hard” and “suppression” overseas, starting with neighbouring countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan, and gradually spreading to the Americas, Europe and Australia, so that people of all ethnic groups will feel China’s presence.’ Pictured is a Chinese Navel shop in Sydney in June 2019

Mr Zhuang's personal Facebook page in March 2013 also had a message in Mandarin which urged Communist China to more aggressively spread its influence - from the South China Sea to northern Asia and Australia

Mr Zhuang's personal Facebook page in March 2013 also had a message in Mandarin which urged Communist China to more aggressively spread its influence - from the South China Sea to northern Asia and Australia

Mr Zhuang’s personal Facebook page in March 2013 also had a message in Mandarin which urged Communist China to more aggressively spread its influence – from the South China Sea to northern Asia and Australia

Asked about that seven-year-old Facebook post, Mr Zhuang said he did not recall publishing the social media post, which was still published as of Tuesday

Asked about that seven-year-old Facebook post, Mr Zhuang said he did not recall publishing the social media post, which was still published as of Tuesday

Asked about that seven-year-old Facebook post, Mr Zhuang said he did not recall publishing the social media post, which was still published as of Tuesday

The LNP's Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner introduced him at a campaign event

The LNP's Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner introduced him at a campaign event

The LNP’s Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner introduced him at a campaign event

‘I urge the Chinese government to follow the law and promote the “strike hard” and “suppression” overseas, starting with neighbouring countries such as Vietnam, the Philippines, and Japan, and gradually spreading to the Americas, Europe and Australia, so that people of all ethnic groups will feel China’s presence,’ he wrote. 

Asked about that seven-year-old Facebook post, Mr Zhuang said he did not recall publishing the social media post, which was still online as of Tuesday. 

‘I had forgotten it,’ he said by phone. 

‘I don’t think that’s what I said. I can’t remember. I don’t think it’s my post.’ 

Mr Zhuang also has an image of himself on Facebook with China’s Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye, who in April threatened Chinese trade sanctions against Australia after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 in Wuhan.

They were photographed together in August 2017 during Mr Cheng’s visit to Brisbane and the image featured on the social media page of Mr Zhuang’s Bristar property company.

In 2017, he established a 'Chinese Heritage Branch' for the LNP. The Opposition has two branches, one in Brisbane and another on the Gold Coast. Pictured is an LNP fundraiser from 2017 featuring former Brisbane lord mayor Graham Quirk, federal Liberal MP Ross Vasta and state LNP frontbencher Steve Minnikin

In 2017, he established a 'Chinese Heritage Branch' for the LNP. The Opposition has two branches, one in Brisbane and another on the Gold Coast. Pictured is an LNP fundraiser from 2017 featuring former Brisbane lord mayor Graham Quirk, federal Liberal MP Ross Vasta and state LNP frontbencher Steve Minnikin

In 2017, he established a ‘Chinese Heritage Branch’ for the LNP. The Opposition has two branches, one in Brisbane and another on the Gold Coast. Pictured is an LNP fundraiser from 2017 featuring former Brisbane lord mayor Graham Quirk, federal Liberal MP Ross Vasta and state LNP frontbencher Steve Minnikin

The LNP's Chinese Heritage Branch is controversially only open to people who are Chinese

The LNP's Chinese Heritage Branch is controversially only open to people who are Chinese

The LNP’s Chinese Heritage Branch is controversially only open to people who are Chinese

While Mr Zhuang said he supported freedom of religion, he declined to condemn China’s treatment of its Muslim Uighur minority, who are put into re-education camps in the far western Xinjiang province, or comment on Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Chinese influence in Australian politics has increasingly become a sensitive issue as concerns grow the Communist superpower has been covertly pushing its global agenda

Chinese influence in Australian politics has increasingly become a sensitive issue as concerns grow the Communist superpower has been covertly pushing its global agenda

Chinese influence in Australian politics has increasingly become a sensitive issue as concerns grow the Communist superpower has been covertly pushing its global agenda

 Last year, backbench federal Liberal MP Gladys Liu confirmed she was affiliated with Chinese Communist Party United Front groups, as honorary president of the United Chinese Commerce Association of Australia and the Australian Jiangmen General Commercial Association.

The member for Chisholm in Melbourne’s south-east, who was born in Hong Kong, also had an honorary role with the Guangdong Overseas Exchange Association in 2011.

The Chinese Communist Party’s diaspora network, the United Work Front Department, runs community groups and promotes the idea Taiwan and Hong Kong should be directly controlled by mainland China.  

Liberal and Labor MPs have been connected to the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, which is linked to United Front. 

Sam Dastyari’s career as a New South Wales Labor senator ended in January 2018 after he contradicted the ALP’s South China Sea position at a media conference for Chinese-language publications.

Banned Chinese property billionaire Huang Xiangmo had promised the ALP a $400,000 donation if it changed its policy on the disputed South China Sea and Mr Dastyari was bugged visiting him at his Sydney north shore home.

His LNP Facebook page includes a graphic of him with Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington and Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison

His LNP Facebook page includes a graphic of him with Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington and Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison

His LNP Facebook page includes a graphic of him with Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington and Liberal Prime Minister Scott Morrison

NSW upper house MP Shaoquette Moselmane was suspended from the Labor Party in June after the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation raided his Sydney home over alleged links to China.

Mr Zhuang’s LNP Facebook page includes a graphic of him with Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington and Mr Morrison.

While he isn’t pictured with them on his Facebook, the LNP’s Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner introduced him at a campaign event.  

Despite his Chinese connections and Mandarin-language advertisements, Mr Zhuang said new migrants needed to ‘be part of Australia, to integrate in Australia’.

‘In Australia, we should speak English. Mandarin is a second language,’ he said.

The LNP has only won Stretton once, between 2012 and 2015, since the electorate was created in 2001 and is now a safe Labor seat held by Duncan Pegg. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Schools are evacuated during HSC biology exam after threatening emails

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schools are evacuated during hsc biology exam after threatening emails

More than 10 schools in regional New South Wales have been evacuated during Wednesday’s HSC biology exam, just a day after threatening emails were circulated.

More to come. 

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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