Sydney Morning Herald: Power and Paranoia: Why the Chinese government aggressively pushes beyond its borders

But when they sat down at a table at the Chocolate Buddha, the couple found they couldn’t enjoy their lunch. Four people approached, separately, and hovered nearby, uncomfortably close. Men and women. They were conspicuous; it was not a very busy time at the Chocolate Buddha. They said nothing, but would stare at John and Tara until the couple turned to look at them, and then quickly look away. One even sat at the same table, but without ordering, until the waiter asked him to move. He then sat at the nearest corner of the next table. It was unnerving; a deliberate act of intimidation.

“How are you?” John asked one woman in Mandarin. She said nothing and abruptly left. But, oddly, she returned 10 minutes later wearing a different-coloured shirt. The group persisted even after John and Tara got up to leave, until Tara started to film them with her phone camera. One man was walking directly towards her until she produced the phone, at which point he immediately started walking sideways, crab-style, to avoid having his face recorded.

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