Beijing knows exactly what it’s doing Downunder

Yesterday the Chinese Embassy gave us a good old fashioned dummy spit:

“Some Australian politicians and government officials also made irresponsible remarks to the detriment of political mutual trust between China and Australia. We categorically reject those allegations,” the Spokesperson of Chinese Embassy in Australia said.

“Over the recent period, some Australian media have repeatedly fabricated news stories about the so-called Chinese influence and infiltration in Australia.”

“Those reports, which were made up out of thin air and filled with cold war mentality and ideological bias, reflected a typical anti-China hysteria and paranoid.”

“The relevant reports not only made unjustifiable accusations against the Chinese government, but also unscrupulously vilified the Chinese students as well as the Chinese community in Australia with racial prejudice, which in turn has tarnished Australia’s reputation as a multicultural society.”

“China has been committed to developing its friendly relations with other countries on the basis of mutual respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and noninterference in each other’s internal affairs, which is one of the main principles of Chinese foreign policy.”

“China has no intention to interfere in Australia’s internal affairs or exert influence on its political process through political donations.”

“We urge the Australian side to look at China and China-Australia relations in an objective, fair and rational manner.”

I once listened to a former Chinese Ambassador, Fu Ying, who described how she didn’t understand ANZUS until she went north and had something of an epiphany as she imagined Marines and Diggers fighting side-by-side against invading Japanese across the South Pacific. She knew then, she said, that the alliance was built on concrete foundations of shared history defending shared values.

That’s why Beijing does not usually pressure Australia openly but prefers to buy us quietly. To wit, Beijing Bob piled in:

Business leaders privately told The Australian fears were growing that if ­relations continued to deteriorate, there would be pushback against Australian companies and possible retaliation via trade channels. Trade between China and Australia in 2016-17 hit $175 billion, almost three times Australia’s $66bn trade with the US.

…Bob Carr, foreign minister in the Gillard government and now head of the Australia-China Relations Institute, accused Mr Turnbull and Ms Bishop of ­departing from four decades of pragmatism by pushing Australia towards an anti-China policy.

“There is no doubt that since January there has been a distinct tilt in Australian foreign policy to an anti-Chinese stance,” said Mr Carr, who this week admitted to lobbying Chinese banks not to fund Queensland’s proposed Adani mine.

“Everyone is talking about it, businesses are talking about it … there is genuine bewilderment about Australia’s China policy.

“We are beginning to look like a shag on the rock of all the American allies … we are the one that has struck out with an anti-China position … no one else is doing it.

“From Whitlam to Abbott, surprisingly, there has been a pragmatic, national interest based China policy.”

Let’s recall that all we have done is banned foreign bribery of officials and declared we’d like to keep some balance in our foreign relations. And this bizarre overreaction is the result. That tells us that when a real issue arises the wisdom of Fu Ying will give way to escalated pressure. To my mind that clearly justifies today’s minor push back.

Indeed, we should be doing much more in seeking external balance. From respected strategic analyst Alan Dupont:

It would be a mistake to dismiss senator Sam Dastyari’s fall from grace as merely the consequence of one politician’s lack of judgment or character. Dastyari’s ­behaviour illuminates the risk to our democracy of allowing China to exert undue influence over our institutions, society and policies. The problem is that we don’t have a strategy for managing this risk and, until we do, its absence only invites more Chinese interference.

“Engage and hedge” captures the sense of what we should do. But a headline is not a strategy. Malcolm Turnbull needs to develo­p a fleshed-out strategy with Bill Shorten’s support, otherwise China will exploit any partisan gaps that open up between the Coalition and Labor.

Engaging China would appear to be the easy part. The burgeoning trade relationship has been an overwhelming success story for both countries. Our commodities have literally fuelled China’s rise and brought Australia unpreced­ented prosperity. But as Beijing becomes more powerful, assertive­ engagement can no longer be open-ended or unqualified. “More China” is not a substitute for a judicious­ assessment of the risks, as well as the rewards, of our bilateral relationship.

…Sensibly implemented, the strategy would ensure the enforcem­ent of new laws banning foreign donations to Australian political parties; require greater financia­l disclosure and transparency from organisations with dubious political affiliations to foreign­ governments; and mandate­ closer alignment between the Foreign Investment Review­ Board and departments responsible for scrutinising content­ious soft-power activities by foreign entities.

The strategy should include additional funding to provide stretched security agencies with the necessary resources to adequat­ely monitor foreign interference, including in cyberspace.

Third, we need to push for greater reciprocity in our relations with China. This is easier said than done because our two systems mean Chinese are permitted freedoms here that are denied to Australians in China, including in business and commerce. For example­, foreign companies can only invest in Chinese cloud businesses with local partners while Chinese competitors are not subjec­t to the same restrictions.

Fourth, foreign, trade and defence­ policy must be recalibrated and fully joined up if the strategy is to be efficacious, which is one reason why the idea of a quadripartite dialogue with Japan, India and the US has renewed ­appeal. Contrary to its critics, this is not a mutual defence pact or an Asian NATO designed to contain China. China is not containable and none of the dialogue partners has any desire to sign on to such a futile endeavour.

Sensible enough but way too many motherhood statements. It’s too top down when China’s soft power push into Australia is also bottom up. For instance, if Australian property prices become dependent upon Chinese capital inflows then the risk is that personal wealth allegiances shift towards it no matter what a few spooks want. Likewise in universities and other services sectors that use cheap foreign student labour.

There is also the crazily high immigration intake which is importing a larger Chinese community and expanding its influence (which is nothing against them as individuals or ethnic Chinese).

But if we want to bulwark the nation’s democracy then these grass-roots influences must each also be addressed directly:

  • cut immigration to more manageable levels (at least half);
  • police foreign buying of property properly and implement global anti-money laundering rules pertaining to real estate;
  • promote new codes of practice for academic freedom;
  • revisit foreign student working hour provisions.

And on it goes.

None of these need, nor should, target China. All should be done to manage all foreign interests in Australia, as well as being sound economic policy.

Let’s not kid ourselves, Beijing knows exactly what it’s doing, via Laura Tingle:

The Australian reported on Tuesday that Bill Shorten was issued a veiled warning from Beijing that his party’s support in the Chinese community could be influenced if the­ party did not support an extradition treaty promoted by the communist government.

Why don’t we?

Comments

  1. We should have an extradition treaty with China.

    And a bounty reward paid by China for us to dob in or catch any Chinese laundering dirty & stolen money into property here, or involved in blackmarket, vice & criminal activities. Or visa fraud.

    Now that covers virtually all of them, esp the PRC.

    Bank account & Property seizure, forced sale & a 50/50 split between china & Australia of the proceeds and any onshore assets of the Chinese criminals.

    And as that’s most of them – be worth billions.

    The grubby bunks & floor mattresses, the plywood room partitions & rice cookers can all get removed.
    And a hundred thousand or so EX Australian dwellings bought with dirty looted Chinese money can be cleaned up & sold off – returned back to Australian Citizen only first home owner buyers.
    Win~Win.

  2. Did anyone watch The Drum on 4 Dec 2017?

    The Guardian journalist said “Andrew Robb sold out Aussie tradies” and Miranda Divine said “well I don’t agree with that”!
    (at 6m40s)
    http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/drum/NU1705H221S00#playing

    Mind boggling!

    The left wing media makes sense on everything except immigration. The right wing media only makes sense on violent crime. Occasionally it talks sense on immigration. But the words spoken by not-so-divine shows they want a wholesale replacement of Aussie workers – be the foreign workers here “temporarily” or permanently.

    • “The left wing media makes sense on everything except immigration”

      I mostly agree. I came from being a left voter to a Hanson voter. Today’s pro population growth left are killing us.

      • HadronCollision

        Still waiting for you to make my bet up Ric. I bet you $5 that Labor WILL govern in AU again at Fed level. You said they never, ever, will, ever again.

        I’m 39 and I bet we see them in power again with a decade

      • HadronCollision

        For the twentieth time, why would I take your even money bet when I can get $2.20 on LNP JUST FOR THIS TERM?

    • “The left wing media makes sense on everything except immigration”

      I don’t know about everything, but they make a lot of sense on things in isolation, but when you start to look at the larger picture, and how decisions interconnect, it all starts to fall apart.

      • “to look at the larger picture, and how decisions interconnect, it all starts to fall apart”

        Exactly. Every one of their policies is destroyed by their open borders, big Australia.

      • “trojan horses of the elite”

        Yep. Useful idiots.

        That’s why I say the best way to beat these clowns is label them “the elite left”. Never refer to the left without prefixing it with “the elite”

  3. Because an extradition treaty wrongly implemented gives away out sovereignty. It is apolice state. An audit and a change off foreign ownership laws could suffice.

    • And the CCP knows how to subvert democracy via infiltration and money.
      Chinese students in Sydney are encouraged to take over the Universities they attend by the CCP.

      ‘Panda Warriors’ won and had eight candidates elected to the Syndey UNI Student Representative Council at elections.
      Panda Warriors are demand:
      – Discounted fees for International students
      – Concession fares on public transport
      – Multi-lingual support for housing, academic, and tenancy.
      – University closes on Chinese New Year week

      • HadronCollision

        This is a f$cking joke and I don’t care where they’re from
        Don’t like our language and holidays
        Go to another other country to learn you leeches
        PS their fees and taxes should be double

  4. reusachtigeMEMBER

    To the Chinamen spooks reading this blog and preparing its destruction, please make me your number one spy at the relations parties as I fully support your property ambitions!

    • Since we’re making requests to our friends. I promise I’m an Egg, white on the outside but yellow inside. So please spare me. The real racists are those Bananas living here (yellow on the outside but white inside) the same Chinese who left China and oppose the PRC influence over here. Those are the true traitors! Go after them instead. 😁

    • Reusa, you’ll have to settle for #2 after #1 – Hi Rise Harry #1 friend of China:

      “The problem with Australians is they are very slow. They ask their lawyer, they ask their financial adviser, they ask their family, they ask everybody. The Chinese don’t ask anybody, they come off the plane, buy their unit and go.”

  5. GunnamattaMEMBER

    Before we can ‘know’ anything we probably need to have a parliament which can plausibly be able to acknowledge phenomena happening in wider society, preferably with a government in some semblance of policy control, explaining and relating to the punterariat where we are all heading, through the media channels of the day.

    Australia has none of that. It has a parliament welded to avoiding the key single issue in China – Australia relations. Australia’s economic strait jacket (its sole reliance on commodity exports to China), which leads to Australia’s desperation for a population ponzi (to juice aggregate stats) ……..Two issues central to the China – Australia nexus right there which our politicians simply refuse to look at, talk about, acknowledge etc.

    That leads straight onto the infrastructure overloading, the house prices, the trashed education sector, the coolies working in our service sector etc etc etc.

    Also worth noting are some of the Indian government comments in the wake of talk about cutting down on temporary visas. (though the Chinese have a far more extensive and sophisticated network of local and im ported talent orchestrating their message and influence here)

    Australia has made itself a patsy – both sides of politics are party to that. They are still making Australia a patsy. As long as foreign nations (particularly those whom we rely on for selling our commodity exports) see that we cant be honest with ourselves, and cannot face doing the economic hard yards then they fairly naturally will assume that we can be dishonest with ourselves their way, and that economic pain is the tool du jour to prompt appropriate behaviours.

    The only way out of this is for a government to state enough is enough, to state we are going to have some economic pain (yes house prices will fall – but the upside to that is that enough people are already in enough economic pain for that message to be a case of simply stating the obvious [although this is where it becomes class war because it is the leveraged and affluent who are telling themselves that things are fine as they are]) and start rebuilding the economy on some sort of competitive basis.

    We arent within a bulls roar of any of that. We still have both sides of mainstream politics bullshitting around acknowledging that (and further ridiculing themselves before the Australian public, and the Chinese in doing so).

    …….and of course all of that is before we get to our media. Australia has, without a doubt, the worst media in the English speaking workld, the worst media in the developed world, and a media which would be overtly identifiable for its flaws in Zimbabwe or Uzbekistan. The Chinese can see this (and recognise it against a backdrop of it confirming their ideological beliefs about capitalist media – because Australia’s media is a classic case study of being financially desperate, being quite keen to provide a ‘happy ending’ for anyone paying for advertising, and enthusiastic about bullshitting Australians on a daily basis, and it is concentrated into the hands of Uncle Rupert [about as corrupt and deformed as a media can be] and Fairfax [right onside with anything which sells more houses, and a lap dog for neo liberalism] before you get to government [for China views on take a peek at their State TV].

    Of course the Chinese know what they’re doing. This is straight from the playbook anyone going within a bulls roar of the top of Chinese society knows by heart

    • Yes, the media is financially desperate. So much so, that Fairfax has the China Daily insert once a month. How long before one of the TV channels has CCTV streamed for several hours a day?

      Don’t worry our MSM is following the really big issues like second guessing who is a dual citizen. Proper reporting like getting to the bottom of the sky high electricity prices or reporting exactly how much of our property is being sold to foreigners. Nah, that’s too hard.

  6. Shorten cannot be trusted. More allegations that Dastyari asked hundreds of questions he put directly to our security agencies which appear to have been scripted by communist China. Nastyari should be sacked. Throw in the debacle of Labor’s own dual nationals. Shortens leadership is somewhat as pathetic as Turnbulls. Dont vote Labor, Liberals, Nationals or the Greens! All ar traitors!

    • HadronCollision

      Poor old Penny Wong’s brain almost bifurcated this morning on Kuddles Kelly
      “I’ve asked literally thousands of qs in Estimates Fran”
      “on CHina”
      “….er well yes some would have been on China”

      Poor old Kuddles. She Kould have gone in For a Kuddly Kill with some questions. “Yes but were they made with the intention of supporting CHina’s position on a highly contentious issue when there is evidence you were acting in China’s interest”

      But no. Poor old Kuddles wasn;t up to it

      F$cking useless our interviewers that our taxes pay for

  7. Make no mistake about it, China always plays the long game!
    These stories are so yesterday so small time and so beneath China to acknowledge, each of these transgressions is the byproduct of global change rather than force behind change. As a result Aussies are focused on the local minutia while the global big picture gets a wholesale overhaul.
    I’m the first to call for heads to roll if the actions of our elite step over the line and sell out our sovereignty. But I’m also the realist that recognizes treason is always a byproduct of transition, this suggests that Treason is simply the short term temporal manifestation of larger inevitable change,
    Today we’re at the cross roads of a transition to a new world where China dominates all of East Asia. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that China will dominate both the Politics, and Economics of the region. As a result our sons and daughters will correctly label our rants/discussion as “quaint” and dutifully pay their homage to China.

    However what happens in the mean time? what happens to our dignity ? what happens to our Identity?
    The way we navigate this inevitable change does impact the outcome ….even if it’s only as viewed through our own eyes.

    • Close to my own view. I fully expect China to have significant influence in the region and I expect Australia to tread carefully. Much of what is currently masquerading as diplo-speak and pro-US allegiance barely conceals overt anti-China sentiment.

      It would be beneficial for those of us with a foot in each camp in regard to Australia’s relationship with both US and China to explain what this ‘soft power” is and why we should fear it. What is the strategic aim of soft power and how and why is it to be eschewed by Australia, a country which has ceded to soft power since inception!

  8. Sèems the worm has turned….
    Reading comments in the australian on this story it was overwhelmingly against this up to now soft invasion.
    Displacementn of locals. Housing. Congestion. Assets. Farms. Authoritarianism.

    Unlike immigration of our past we generally had people fleeing something. The latest and unbalanced wave of mainlanders are comming as victors with the huberis to match. (Big generalisation)

    • Not just fleeing something but wanting to contribute to something, to better themselves, their families and in turn the nation.

      New Australians like this are in the minority.

  9. Now fellas and sheilas (using gendered terms while it’s still legal) if we expedite this project, our property portfolios can jump to unimaginable levels – the Chinese know how to bid up property prices! Now, enough backward thinking and let’s embrace the free market with both arms, ready our smog masks and enjoy the wealth that’s coming our way!

  10. Ah…so the Chinese gummint is pissed off, and of course they toss in the “racism” bit as well, ignoring the racism that they display themselves.

    Stuff ’em.

  11. Good Lord!
    I never realised it was so bad. I was driving down the M1 north of Brisbane the other day, marvelling at how the 9 out of 10 road workers on the 100 year project were either leaning on a shovel , or doing a very effective imitation of a frozen mullet with a lollipop. We have to ask ourselves, what will happen to these poor lads if and when the Chinese take over? I mean, someone is going to order them to do some work. Shock & Outrage!
    Mind you, there are some good sides to the invasion. Instead of Big W & Kmart having to import all our manufactured goods, we’ll be able to source them from our very own country. The problem is, someone is going to actually have to do some, well, – work! Again! (stagger). I don’t think the unions are going to put up with it.

    • We have to ask ourselves, what will happen to these poor lads if and when the Chinese take over? I mean, someone is going to order them to do some work. Shock & Outrage!

      No they won’t. Chinese workers will be imported to do the work because they won’t get uppity about silly insignificant things like safety, working 24 hours a day or living onsite in shared tents.

      Would you prefer all those folks were just sitting at home on the dole ? Because that’s the alternative with the massive labour glut we have.

  12. Whatever, What’s China going to do about its failing pension funds as thousands of Chinese emigrate? When they do react to that situation IT WILL BE POINTLESS BLAMING IT ON US. We aren’t stupid.

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