By George Holt
'Even in Australia, a country that China regularly exploits, opposition to Chinese Communist Party dominance is not an entirely unifying cause.'
There is a growing sense of inevitability surrounding CCP influence in the world, like an unstoppable force that is gaining speed and is going to smash through anything that stands in its way. Unfortunately, some of the things standing in its way are common decency, human rights, democracy, and our values. These could all be as good as gone, like a watermelon to a sledgehammer if we do not unite and resist this seemingly unstoppable force.
You may have seen recently that a Chinese official decided to tweet an image of an Australian Soldier putting a knife to the throat of an Afghan child - truly horrific. Though there is one small problem, this image was doctored and was designed to mislead & insult. Tell me, when a member of your family puts their life on the line to fight for their country, is this something you would stand for? To let them be disrespected like this?
Like all good countries, Australia holds its servicemen and women in extremely high regard and did not take this insult lightly. The Australian PM called it “truly repugnant” and demanded an apology. Interestingly, Australia’s opposition took a different approach, they initially backed the PM for requesting an apology, then days later, u-turned and blamed Scott Morrison for increasingly poor relations with China (It’s interesting to see this tactic used by other left-wing politicians across the world, such as Keir Starmer here in the UK). This shows, that even in Australia, a country that China regularly exploits, opposition to Chinese Communist Party dominance is not an entirely unifying cause.
The Chinese government accused the Australians of causing an escalation and simply claimed that they “misread” the tweet and that they wanted to draw attention to Australian war crimes - a very muddled, rude, and childish way to go about it. If China wishes to comment on the treatment of people and human rights, I would strongly suggest they start at home, their genocide of the Uyghur community, contempt for the freedoms of Hong Kongers and more are truly revolting.
'You see, the key difference is that Australia will punish human rights abuses, but China will reward them'.
It is also worth noting that a few days before this, China rose tariffs on Australian wine by up to 212%, they’ve been sharply raising tariffs on many goods such as coal, sugar, barley and lobster whilst the Australian government continues to defy the CCP. This is simply what the CCP do, it is their game, they assert their dominance by buying, or when they cannot be bought, bully other nations. They will bully nations with actions, such as tariffs or with diplomacy, where they goad nations into a response then attempt to embarrass them, it allows them to point at democracy and call it weak.
'This is being called “Wolf Warrior Diplomacy”, where they make misleading claims, attack nations (economically or diplomatically), do not back down and then play the victim'.
The international response has left something to be desired, only smaller neighbour New Zealand has fully supported Australia. But as we saw earlier, not even the Australian Labor party would fully support the government on this. The American Senator Marco Rubio used this as a good opportunity to attack twitter for its anti-right-wing bias, and he’s raised a good point about why Twitter did not take action against this tweet, which is still up now?!? Both the UK and US Governments have shared messages of support for the Australians, and a representative from the US Government called it a “new low” for China. These words are good, but some action would be better.
China often likes to attack western democracies; they believe them to be the enemy. So as democracy continues to get its knickers in a twist, it allows China to legitimise itself as a non-democratic country. The one-party rule and the reign of Xi Jinping particularly have led to increasing hostility and assertations of dominance from the CCP. They do it because they believe they can get away with it, like Germany’s occupation of the Sudetenland in 1938.
Unlike Germany, we cannot afford to appease China - they thrive off international trade and their strong economy, it is the involvement of western companies and financial services that enriches them. Of course, one western nation taking on China by itself really would not stand a chance. But with Donald Trump waking up a lot of people to CCP aggression, and soon to be replaced with the internationalist Joe Biden, this may be a great opportunity for some international collaboration to tackle the dominance and inhumanity of the CCP.
Disclaimer: All views expressed in this piece belong solely to the author and do not reflect the views of Demographica as a company.