The toxic state of the Canberra-Beijing relationship has been exposed in a list of 14 complaints that Chinese officials have submitted to 9News.
At the top of the list are decisions to ban Huawei from deploying the 5G network, foreign interference laws, and the request for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19.
An official told 9News “Why should China care about Australia?”
“China is angry,” the official said.
“If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy.”
It’s the strongest assessment of the relationship ever made by a Chinese government official, and the list is a clearer indication of how deep the fracture in the relationship runs.
- Ban Huawei from 5G rollout over “unfounded” national security concerns
- Foreign interference laws, “considered directed at China and in the absence of evidence”
- Calls for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus: “side with the US anti-China campaign”
- Talking about the South China Sea
- Talk about human rights accusations in Xinjiang, accuse the government of “selling lies”
- “Thinly Veiled” Accusations Against China Over Cyber Attacks Beijing Says Lack of Evidence
- And new foreign relations laws that give the federal government the power to veto agreements of state or local governments with foreign governments.
It would be impossible for any Australian government to meet all the demands without giving up its sovereignty.
“For years, China has had a strategy in Australia: shut up and take the money,” Australian Strategic Policy Institute executive director Peter Jennings told 9News.
“They don’t want Australia to express opinions on what we think is important in regional security.
“No Australian can live with it, no democracy can live with it.
“More and more we will disagree. I fear Australians have to get used to this being the reality of how our relations with China will probably work for years to come.”
Last night, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian recited a similar but shorter list of accusations leveled against Australia, accusing the Morrison government of a “flagrant violation … of international relations”, speaking about what it considered risks to “democratic processes” in Hong Kong and allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
Zhao said Australia had “defamed and accused China of engaging in intervention and infiltration activities in Australia” and of “political manipulation” of the independent investigation into the coronavirus.
The Foreign Office spokesman also accused the Australian government of being to blame for the state of the relationship, saying that the responsibility for the deep problems “does not lie with China at all” and urged Australia to “do more to improve mutual trust “. .
Zhao “hopes that the Australian side will recognize the real reason for the setback in bilateral relations.”
The relationship has been told to 9News that the relationship is being run at “a very low level” from Beijing, due to a “bad environment”, and that China will not accept calls at the ministerial level, because it would be “pointless … the atmosphere is bad “, suggesting that talks at that level will only resume if Australia drops the policies from the list, as it” would lead to a better atmosphere.
There are also veiled warnings about the future of Confucius Institutes in universities if the government’s proposed foreign relations legislation is passed in parliament.
Beijing’s view is that Australia does not think independently, and follows the lead of the United States, that the allegations of cyberattacks and foreign interference are “unfounded” and they have repeatedly asked for evidence to be produced.
China has already imposed trade barriers on beef, wine, barley, lobster and timber.
After Australia ruled on the disqualification of Hong Kong opposition lawmakers, warning that it “seriously undermines Hong Kong’s democratic processes,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wengbin warned, “if they insist on go the wrong way, China will take a firm, legitimate path and necessary reactions. “
The Australian government has had no doubts about how the Chinese government feels.
“The Australian government makes good decisions in our national interest and in accordance with our values and open democratic processes,” said a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“We are a liberal democratic society with free media and a parliamentary democracy, where elected members and the media have the right to freely express their opinions.”