Via The Australian:
Australia’s ambassador to China has been called into the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a dressing down over the Turnbull government’s foreign interference laws amid accusations by Beijing that anti-China rhetoric is damaging the relationship.
In a sign of the increasing tensions between the two governments, Jan Adams was officially summoned by Chinese officials on Friday. The Australian has also learned that China’s ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, on Monday made formal representations to the acting secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Penny Williams.
As the row deepened, Malcolm Turnbull confirmed that the government had made reassurances to Beijing that it was not seeking to single out China with its proposed foreign interference legislation.
Yesterday China’s Global Times newspaper accused Australia of McCarthyism and warned that Chinese people with close ties to Westerners “would be treated like informants to Western spy agencies and be accused of treason, like Australian politician Sam Dastyari”.
This followed a strident statement issued by the Chinese embassy last week accusing Australian politicians of undermining “mutual trust”. China’s Foreign Ministry went further, directly attacking Mr Turnbull for “poisoning” the relationship.
I hope we’ve got a better line than “it’s not target at you”. Even in the diplomatic circles of professional lying that’s amusing.
Meanwhile, Domainfax is launching a panicked defense of Chinese kow towing:
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has arrived in China with 200 business people, a sign of thaw in frosty relations with its major trading partner.
As tensions rise between the Turnbull government and Beijing, South Korea’s experience is a cautionary tale.
Moon and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet on Thursday to discuss ways to “normalise” relations. Chinese tourism to South Korea plunged 70 per cent this year.
Beijing banned travel agencies selling group tours as retaliation for South Korea installing a US anti-missile system to protect it from North Korea.
…on Wednesday the Chinese newspaper Global Times editorialised that claims of Chinese infiltration in Australia had spread to New Zealand and Germany like an “infectious disease”.
It warned: “The esteem with which Chinese regard certain Western countries will be downsized, as it becomes necessary for Beijing to retaliate. China needs to figure out tactics that can silently make Western institutions and individuals truly feel the pain.”
The editorial said Beijing’s practice of refusing visas to pop stars could be applied to “provocative Western politicians as a form of deterrence”.
…To strike a thaw, Moon suspended further THAAD installations. But he hasn’t said it will be removed.
Back home in Bennelong:
An angry open letter urging Chinese Australians to “take down the far-right Liberal Party ruling party” by voting against John Alexander in the Bennelong byelection has been shared on social media by a man who allegedly met the Chinese Communist Party’s department tasked with overseas influence activities.
The 1700-word letter, attributed to “a group of Chinese who call Australia home”, urged people to support Labor’s candidate, Kristina Keneally.
“When we look at the Liberal Party we see it’s already totally different from before. It’s a far-right ruling party and they are privately against China, against Chinese, against ethnic-Chinese migrants and against Chinese international students,” it reads in part.
“For the interests of Chinese people, let us mobilise, share this message and use the ballots in the hands of we Chinese to take down this far-right Liberal Party ruling party”.
…”Let us say together: vote against the Liberal Party, protect the dignity of we Chinese!” it says.
While it is not known who authored the letter, it is being shared on the popular Chinese social media app Wechat by Yan Zehua, an Australian citizen who lives in Sydney. Mr Yan is vice president of the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, which was until recently run by controversial Chinese political donor Huang Xiangmo and has a parent group in China run by officials from the United Front Work Department, a Chinese Communist Party body responsible for building overseas influence.
The Huang Dynasty again! And Labor is just lapping it up playing the race card:
Ms Keneally accused Mr Turnbull of running a One Nation inspired “China-phobic” campaign, saying the large proportion of Chinese voters in the electorate are “alarmed.”
But local Chinese business owners and workers on Wednesday told AAP they weren’t fussed by the prime minister’s rhetoric.
Susan Ha, a travel agent in Eastwood, said most people she knew were concerned with the tax rate for small businesses rather than the political games between the major parties.
“People care a lot for tax … I think they still support the Liberals,” Ms Ha said.
Another worker, who did not want to be named, believed local issues will be at the forefront of Chinese voters’ minds at the ballot box on Saturday.
“What they can do for the community is what’s important here for the Chinese,” she said.
“The people here won’t worry about the international relationships.”
However, an online poll run by local Chinese newspaper Sydney Today showed Ms Keneally was the more popular of the two candidates.
What an astonishing mess. The Coalition did the right thing with its new laws then overcooked its rhetoric to win Bennelong. Labor has done the wrong thing but is now able to overcook its rhetoric to win Bennelong in response. It appears Beijing is backing Labor in Bennelong though can’t say for sure but it is clearly aiming to hurt the tourism and student trade implicitly via a negative media campaign in China that has no other purpose.
As usual it is China that is acting most in Australian’s interests as we need to cut immigration and lower student numbers anyway to take the bid out of realty and the supply flood out of the labour market. With any luck they’ll cut the flow formally.
Meanwhile, our pollies would sell their mothers for a seat in Parliament.