Howzit, you may know or might have heard of Hazza Harding, come across his Twitter account @GDTVhazza, or perhaps stumbled across his website. Better still, never listened to any one of his HazzaChinaVlogs on YouTube. No?! Well, I don’t blame you; until a few days ago, neither had I. I guess that’s because he is not from our neck of the woods, but rather, China….well, sort of.
Originally from Down Under Australia, Harry Harding, or as he is affectionately known by his fans, Hazza Harding or his stage name, Hazza, is, among other things, an Australian radio and television host/journalist in sunny Guangzhou, China. Fluent in Chinese, he contributes to state media networks Xinhua and CGTN.
Hazza’s music videos have received well over 100 million hits on YouTube and Chinese music sharing platforms. So, while many in the so-called Western or Free World might not know Hazza, tens of millions of Chinese do or have heard of him. It is they who nicknamed him “Hazza.”
Barely out of his teens when he first landed in China, Hazza began his life in that country as a vlogger, uploading his cover performances of Chinese pop songs. At just 31 years of age, Hazza proudly represents “Down Under” Australia and presents to China in various capacities.
Apart from being one of the few accredited Australian media and Chinese state-media personnel still active in Western media-sensitive China, Hazza, the musician, still uploads his mandopop and pop music performances on YouTube, Apple Music, and Spotify. On 23 November 2020, Hazza via @GDTVhazza announced that his single “I Was Wrong” had climbed to number 5 on the Chinese national music chart broadcast on more than 25 radio stations.
However in addition to his music exploits, Hazza Harding has also been recognized for his journalistic work in a literal demonstration of the East embracing the West. In 2016, he received First Prize at the China News Awards. This was followed by the Young Australia-China Alumni of the Year in 2017. In 2019, he hosted the Marriot International South China Black Tie Gala Dinner that raised 2.4 Yuan for the Yao fund.
Harding strongly believes in China’s importance to Australia’s future. He would like the two countries to understand better and be cordial to each other. Unfortunately, this has been misunderstood and landed Hazza in hot water with the Australian government in particular and westerners generally. Like, for example, when in response to the release of the Brereton Inquiry Report on allegations of war crimes by Australian soldiers, Hazza tweeted from @GDTVhazz, “Today was the first time I’ve even contemplated giving up my Australian citizenship.”
The tweet almost started a Twitter war. Consequently, some believe Hazza is unpatriotic and paradoxically a “neutral” propagandist for the Chinese government. He will not accept accusations of human rights abuses leveled against a tightly controlled system they deem to be China.
Contrary to others’ perceptions, Hazza is apolitical and simply accepts as accurate that there are positives and negatives in any country. Be it in the West or East. So, as far as he is concerned, one should keep an open mind about all the possibilities and not necessarily take sides. Consequently, he tries as much as possible to stay out of the political game as much as possible.
It is partly for this reason and that he would like to help build better relations between the West and China. He currently holds the Australia China Young People’s Initiative (ACYPI) presidency for the Guangzhou Chapter. Given that China is Australia’s largest trading partner, the ACYPI is an organization that was set up to enhance Australia-China relations.