Saturday, August 28, 2021

Australia Sabotaged Its Own Interests in China Relations

Consortium News:

Australia Sabotaged Its Own Interests in China Relations

[December 8, 2020]

The destruction over the past five years of Australia’s mutually beneficial diplomatic and trade relationship with China was probably a successful “Five Eyes” information warfare operation, writes Tony Kevin.

Hong Kong protester throws egg at President Xi Jinping’s portrait on China’s National Day, Oct. 1, 2019. (Studio Incendo, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Tony Kevin

The address to Federal Parliament by Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov. 17, 2014, marked a highwater mark in bilateral relations. Xi was in Australia for the G-20 summit in Brisbane hosted by Prime Minister Tony Abbott. His theme was that China was committed to peace but ready to protect its interests.

Since then, the relationship has gone downhill — first slowly and haltingly, but over the past two years with sickening acceleration. Now the relationship seems irretrievable. For educated Chinese, Australia is now an object lesson in Western arrogance, hypocrisy and betrayal of friendship. The dinner party has ended in upended chairs, shouts and bitter accusations as both sides angrily walk away.

After the high symbolism of the Xi speech, all seemed well. In 2015 the Darwin Port was leased to a Chinese company for 99 years. Growing numbers of Chinese students and tourist visitors to Australia were becoming mainstays of Australia’s thriving higher education, tourism and property sectors. China as an Australian export market grew steadily in significance: last year it represented nearly 50 percent of Australian commodity export earnings. Victoria in 2018 signed a memorandum of understanding with China to work with China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

From the beginning, there were signs that powerful forces were determined to cripple Australian-Chinese engagement: and they have now seemingly won. The present breakdown is tragic for Australian economic and political interests. Many innocent Australians’ livelihoods are being harmed by our own government’s and political class’ stupidity. It is hard to see now how the damage done to Australia-China relations may be healed anytime soon.

Covert Interference

Diagram of the “Five Eyes” intelligence network including the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand. (@GDJ, Openclipart)

Controversially, I contend that Australia has over the past six years lived through a textbook experiment of covert foreign policy interference by powerful Anglo-American influences, subtly working through local sympathizers in public life here. Australian political elites — already culturally predisposed to trust Anglo-American friends, and naive as to their power and guile — have been persuaded to adopt increasingly adversarial positions against China across a broad front. This essay can only hint at the breadth and skill of this classic Five Eyes information warfare operation: it would take a book to expose it fully.

Clive Hamilton’s notorious attack on China, Silent Invasion, was published early in 2018. Hamilton had been China-bashing on the fringes of Australian academe for some years beforehand but was still being generally dismissed as an embarrassing outlier. Andrew Podger’s 21 March 2018 review in The Conversation was typical of the Australian mainstream rebuttal of Hamilton’s views, then considered extreme:

“Perhaps Hamilton’s book is a useful reminder that we must not be na├»ve about our relationship with China. But his prescription, premised on China being our enemy and determined to achieve world domination, is precisely the wrong direction for addressing the genuine issues he raises. We should engage more, not less.”

Meanwhile, negative views of China’s agenda, supported by well-funded Canberra think-tanks like Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Lowy Institute, were quietly gaining influence in strategic areas of Australian governance. Attorney-General Christian Porter, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, backbencher Andrew Hastie and Senator Eric Abetz emerged as vocal critics of China. On the Labor side, Penny Wong and Kimberley Kitching seemed ready to join the pile-on. Others were silent, anxious not to be tagged as “panda-huggers.”

In 2018, the influential and U.S.-sympathetic Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade supported Malcolm Turnbull’s Foreign Interference Legislation, pressed by Australian security agencies and aimed principally at China. The law was passed in 2019.

Chinese academics and journalists, even a senior NSW parliamentarian, have been harassed and vilified under its powers. Now, a further bill will strengthen Commonwealth control over state and university links to foreign governments: again, the prime target is China, and any Australian premiers who may dare to enmesh their states economically with her. Victoria’s and Western Australia’s Labor premiers are particular targets.

Hong Kong Critic

On the foreign policy front, Australia, misled by obviously foreign-encouraged street violence against the Hong Kong government, became a vocal critic of China on democracy issues there. Australia criticized alleged human rights abuses against the Uighur ethnic group in Xinjiang Province. But we do not criticize human rights abuses in India and Palestine.

Australia conducts repeated naval freedom of navigation exercises in the South China Sea, in protest against Chinese consolidation of its military control over islands there. Australia supported a bogus U.S.-influenced South China Sea case against China in the International Court of Arbitration, a case bitterly condemned and rejected from the outset by China.

Since 2018, Australia responding to American pressure has banned Huawei from telecom operations here, causing a major rift. The philosophy of economic engagement expounded by Abbott and Xi in 2014 is since 2018 under direct frontal attack. In August 2020, a non-strategic Chinese purchase of a large Australian dairy company was vetoed.

The message had now become, Australia wants to go on profitably exporting minerals and foodstuffs to China but to have as little to do with China as possible at the human level. Chinese students here have been accused of doing the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party, and concerns raised about Chinese influence in our universities. Chauvinism and Sinophobia in Australia have grown.

Covid-19 caused further major rifts in 2020. Prime Minister Scott Morrison clumsily mishandled a peremptory Australian demand to WHO – reportedly originating in a request to him from U.S. President Donald Trump – to mount an intrusive international investigation in Wuhan into the origins of the “Chinese virus.” China saw that act in particular as a gross act of treachery by a friend. Morrison never apologized.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2019, on the South Lawn of the White House. (White House, Shealah Craighead)

The tone of Australian mainstream media commentary on China has by now changed utterly to hostility. Establishment commentators and leader writers compete on who can season their journalism with the strongest anti-Chinese language. All pretence of objectivity or straight reporting of tensions is gone: this is now advocacy journalism. Dissenting opinions are discouraged. As media increasingly runs with the ball of Sinophobia, Morrison has begun to try to step back.

He and Turnbull having started the hares running, now call unconvincingly for moderation. Not just the Murdoch Press but the Australian Financial Review is full of anti-Chinese polemic. China is bitterly criticized as seeking to dictate terms to the world. The Western media outside Australia are picking up the cue. The campaign has taken on McCarthyist, even racist-tinged tones: how dare these Chinese presume to stand up to our Western “universal values?”

Every Chinese effort to rebut the growing abuse is taken as sign of further Chinese bullying. Their Canberra embassy’s circulated “fourteen grievances” – an effort to list the problem China has with Australian behavior towards them as a basis for public discussion – were mocked. China is falsely stereotyped as the provocateur and Australia the victim.

Chinese embassy in Canberra, Australia. (Nick-D, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons)

Around a few weeks ago, China would have finally decided that Australia could no longer be regarded as a trustworthy and decent partner in dialogue. They would have given up on Australia. The Brereton Report with its reported SAS murders in Afghanistan was an irresistible opportunity for what the West has offensively labelled “wolf warrior” Chinese diplomacy. The photoshopped image of an SAS baby murder, illustrating a tweet by a senior Chinese foreign ministry official criticizing Australian hypocrisy, was emphatically condemned by Morrison, who demanded a Chinese apology. China refused.

La commedia e finita. Australian politicians have swung in behind Morrison, while our traders and growers look on with helpless horror. How can what was a good relationship in 2015 have degenerated to this in just five years? Senior people in industry and trade – like Morrison’s own Covid recovery adviser Nev Power pleaded on Dec. 2 for a diplomatic solution to ease tensions between Beijing and Canberra.

But those who want to see Australia decoupled from China in as many ways as possible stay contentedly silent, looking back with satisfaction on their hidden work of destruction. Australia is safely back in the Five Eyes laager, and those who hoped economic rationality would triumph over global geopolitical exclusion games have been defeated.

Australia’s all-important Asia-Pacific region quietly draws a different lesson from this sad story: the lesson is, do not behave as Australia has done in dealing with China. Treat China with normal diplomatic respect and courtesy, as befits friendly neighbors. Even regional countries that have clashed militarily with China know not to provoke her needlessly, as Australia has done.

Morrison probably sees stoking up anti-Chinese prejudices as a useful distraction from his many governance failures at home: on Robodebt, on Covid-19 preparedness, on bushfires and climate change. Sock the Chinese as if there are no consequences for us.

But the consequences will be great. Australia will be needlessly poorer, more isolated from our region, and more dependent on the uncertain protection of faraway Five Eyes friends. Without a dialogue with China, our necessary engagement with our region will be handicapped. Lee Kuan Yew’s friendly warning — “be careful or you will be the poor white trash of Asia” — comes back now to haunt us.

Tony Kevin is a former Australian ambassador to Poland and Cambodia, an emeritus fellow at Australian National University, Canberra, and the author of Return to Moscow (2017).


  1. For educated ethnic Chinese who are not China fanboys, watching the way Australia has been taught an object lesson by China is a display of China arrogance and the danger of China hegemony and intolerance of any country that does not kowtow and toady to China's policies.

    1. Old moneyed mfer do u know how to teach an arrogant & recalcitrant WASP?

      A piece of his own arrogance as the on-course, following with a tooth smashing punch.

      Ooop… r u actually educated?

      Mmmm… maybe in an anmokausai manner of 'I can do what I want to do but u can't do the same to me'!

    2. Wakakaka you are so arrogant to claim representation to all educated ethnic Chinese.

      Isn't the US and the west been acting so perilously by imposing their hegemony and intolerance of any country that does not practice their ideologies, let alone their policies? They have been torpedoing countries with such hypocrisy into smithereens, creating havoc for the world with millions of refugees, creating religious monsters such as the Taliban, IS, ISIS and whatever a'ss.

      So to you the so educated, it is the rights and entitlement for the white to start wars with it but condemn China who hasn't even fire a bullet?

    3. Peter's English comprehension is atrocious...not surprising.
      I specifically wrote about educated ethnic Chinese who are not China fanboys, which is a definite population subset.

      It is Aussie Dumbo Leftie Tony Kevin who arrogantly claims all educated Chinese support the People's Republic of China policies.

    4. Oh you know very well, maybe you don't. my "you are so arrogant to claim representation to all educated ethnic Chinese" is

      "you are so arrogant to claim representation to all educated ethnic Chinese, whether China fanboys or not"

    5. Wakakaka you are so arrogant to claim representation to all educated ethnic Chinese who are not China fanboys.

      Isn't the US and the west been acting so perilously by imposing their hegemony and intolerance of any country that does not practice their ideologies, let alone their policies? They have been torpedoing countries with such hypocrisy into smithereens, creating havoc for the world with millions of refugees, creating religious monsters such as the Taliban, IS, ISIS and whatever a'ss.

      So to you the so educated, it is the rights and entitlement for the white to start wars with it but condemn China who hasn't even fire a bullet?

  2. Oz has too much democracy; they need Marxism and a Cult Leader like Modern Mao, modelled after the Original Mao and The Little Red Book, to inspire Happy-Go-Lucky-Oi-Oi-Oi-Ozzies to "MAGA greatness". But for a country with so many sheep it should be easy to brainwash the children, like they are doing to Bullyland children.



    25 August 2021

    Chinese schoolchildren will be taught 'Xi Jinping thought' as part of the national curriculum to help them 'establish Marxist beliefs' through brainwashing

    The Ministry of Education said in a statement it aimed to 'cultivate the builders and successors of socialism with an all-round moral, intellectual, physical and aesthetic grounding', the Global Times reported.

    Children will learn about President Xi's 'thoughts on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era', they said.

    The lessons are aimed at strengthening 'resolve to listen to and follow the Party' and new teaching materials must 'cultivate patriotic feelings', the guidelines said.

    These will include labour education to 'cultivate their hard-working spirit' and national security lessons.

    Primary schoolchildren will focus on cultivating love for China, the CCP and socialism, while in middle schools, pupils will learn about political judgements and opinions.

    At college level, theoretical thinking about China and its role will be taught to students.

    The ministry is also hoping to include themes including party leadership and national defence education in the curriculum.

    Since coming to power in 2012, the Chinese President has sought to strengthen the ruling Chinese Communist Party's role in all areas of society, including its businesses, schools and cultural institutions.

    It is the latest move to indoctrinate the youth into supporting the ruling Chinese Communist Party and Marxism

    'Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism With Chinese Characteristics for a New Era' was formally enshrined in the country's constitution in 2018.

    The ideology has 14 main principles emphasising Communist ideals, while also calling for reform, 'absolute authority of the party over the people's army' and 'reunification with the motherland'.

    Xi's personal power has also been strengthened by the abolition of presidential term limits.

    In a speech to mark the centenary of the Communist Party celebrated in July, Xi vowed to 'enhance' the Party's leadership, uphold his own 'core' leadership and strengthen the unity of the Chinese people.

    1. Obviously u haven't touch a page of the 'Xi Jinping thought'!


      Yaloh, liken to yr f*cked demoNcratic doctrines of the anmokausai kind.

  3. Modern Mao is now same status as Original Mao. Soon Bullyland will issue Modern Mao Badges, everybody must wear, except Modern Mao himself of course, he will wear the Original Mao one....ha ha modest.

    Chinese people ordered to think like Xi as Communist Party aims to tighten control
    By Nectar Gan, CNN

    July 16, 2021

    Hong Kong (CNN)Days after entering its second century, the Chinese Communist Party has set out its priority for the new era -- tightening ideological control over 1.4 billion Chinese people.

    This week, the party released a new guideline on ideological and political work, which targets not only its members but also "all of society."

    Under President Xi Jinping, the party has waged its toughest ideological crackdown in decades. It has repeatedly warned against the "infiltration" of Western ideas, stoked aggressive nationalism, and stifled academic and press freedoms.

    And now, despite having silenced nearly all forms of dissent, the party appears to worry that it still doesn't command enough ideological and political loyalty -- and is launching a vast effort to redouble education on both fronts.

    "Ideological and political work is the party's fine tradition, distinct characteristic and prominent political advantage -- it's the lifeline of all its work," the guideline said. "(It) has a significant bearing on the future fate of the party, the long-term stability of the country, and the cohesion and unity of the nation."

    A central part of the campaign is focused on the promotion of "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era," the political doctrine of Xi which was written into the party's constitution in 2017. Before Xi, only Chairman Mao Zedong ("Mao Zedong Thought") and paramount leader Deng Xiaoping ("Deng Xiaoping Theory") had their eponymous political philosophies enshrined in the party's theoretical pantheon.

    1. Wakakakakaka…

      Creating yr commodity slogan!

      R u into personal symbolisms trading?

      Bet u can't match those from Yiwu!

  4. The steady drumbeat building up to a coming war on China is now getting alarmingly, increasingly louder. The Big Bully Terrorist of the world is now at the tail end of its massive pervasive campaign for a manufactured consent to gear up to their next war after their humiliating debacle in Afghanistan, having gotten its ass whipped by the Taliban.

    This new war will be the Mother of All Wars and if you don't watch any video ever again, these 2 videos are the absolute Must Watch before you kick the bucket ( we will all fry when this Hegemon Devil succeeds in this upcoming greatest evil plan now a brewing) :

    Video 1 : KJ Noh's piece was taken down several times by YouTube. Try to watch this new upload before it is taken down again

    Video 2 : This is Daniel Dumbriel's masterpiece yet !

    1. The war scenario is very real!

      The chief reason is the USofA needs an excuse to eliminate the looming threat of the collapse of US$ & with it the economy!

      Uncle Sam would go all-out to initiate this if the Chinese refuse to help in solving his financial chasm as during the 2008 financial crisis.

      The 5T bonds created in the last two yrs of overprinting of US$, r pressing slowly as the inflationary vulture on the US economy!

    2. Spot on CK ! The twin pillar that allows the Hegemon Bully to go strutting around the whole world to Speak Loudly and Carry A Big Stick are none other than its USD World Reserve Currency and its Obscene Military Might ( both abused to the hilt ), with the latter pillar hugely dependent on the the 'health' of the first.

      Under the Biden Administration, notwithstanding the trips made to China by Janet Yellen and Dep Sec of State Wendy Sherman, China resolutely would not budge to come to the rescue this second time around, UNLESS this Terrorist Bully comply to certain terms of the Chinese, among which are : stop the deliberate demonization of China and fabricated reporting in the mass media, stop all provocation and the wars on China be it trade war, tech war, cyber war, military encircling of China, get out of the South China Sea to intimidate China, stop interference in the domestic affairs of China, namely in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the Xinjiang region; stop all the bullying of the Chinese studying overseas, stop the attacks on the Asians in their own countries.

      So far, the ball is in their court, with China sitting pretty and not budging even an inch.


    Back in November 2020, China Coast Guard tried to interefere with Malaysia Petronas contracted oil exploration ship from carrying out its activities, just 44 miles from the Sarawak coast, 1,100 miles from Hainan Island, but China considers this part of the sea its territory.

    Very soon, if Malaysia and other South East Asia countries do not peacefully resist the People's Republic of China, they will find themselves becoming vassal states of China.

    1. Wakakakakaka…

      The question IS would China want to cultivate any vassal states around liken to our uncle Sam?

      Ooop…. Looking back into the long history, China has NEVER had any vassal states in his pocket!

      Old moneyed mfer is up to his know-nothingness to lie for fear mongering!