China warns Australia against being a democracy

The natural tensions between the Australian democracy and Chinese autocracy are back today. Via The Australian:

China’s ambassador to Australia has warned that the relationship between the two countries has been marred by “systematic, irresponsible and negative remarks” about China, and trading ties could be damaged if the situation is not repaired.

In a frank interview with The Australian at the Chinese embassy in Canberra, Cheng Jingye said Australia needed to do more to “increase mutual trust” in its ties with China.

“If there is a growing lack of mutual trust, in the long run it may have some undesirable impact (on trade relations with China),” Mr Cheng said.

While the ambassador did not single out any area of trade that could be affected, he said there were already concerns that some Chinese students in Australia had been subjected to “irresponsible and malicious allegations” and “security and safety incidents”.

Mr Cheng rejected suggestions that China was interfering in the political processes in Australia and said last year’s campaign against former Labor senator Sam Dastayari over his dealings with Chinese businesspeople in Australia had been “unfortunately manipulated as a pretext to smear China’s image”.

Mr Cheng said Australians needed to decide whether they saw China as an opportunity or a threat. ‘Some Australians, a minority, always see China through coloured lenses — totally dark glasses,” he said. “If you have a deep-rooted prejudice against somebody or some thing, you may find everything in a twisted ­manner and you cannot come to a rational judgment.”

What should we do, Mr Ambassador. Round up the dissidents for re-education?

We don’t need to choose sides on China. We should simply see it for what it is: both an opportunity and a threat. As should everybody else. Via Reuters:

Beijing’s international trade representatives have held multiple meetings with their counterparts in leading European economies as China seeks support in its trade brawl with the US, according to Reuters.

US President Donald Trump is threatening $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese imports. Beijing officials met ambassadors from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and Italy last Thursday and Friday to propose a firewall against Trump’s protectionism, the news agency reports, citing various sources.

“The message was that we have to stand together against US protectionism in favor of free trade,” a European diplomat told Reuters. “China is showing confidence, but internally they appear quite concerned. They have apparently underestimated Trump’s resolve on trade,” the diplomat said, adding that Beijing is nervous that many of China’s trading partners could side with the US.

Europe should back Trump. China is cheating and in doing so giving rise to such things as…well…Donald Trump.

Australia’s own path of Chinese hedging should entail a four point response.

First, our economy must seek balance. To achieve that we will need a raft of new policies that aim to improve Australian competitiveness and get us out from under the commodity dependence. This is necessary anyway as China slows and changes and wants less dirt. We must reform energy, banking, and real estate to lower the currency, boost productivity and move from urbanisation growth drivers to tradables.

Second, we must engage strategically and diplomatically across our entire region. ASEAN  is a natural partner to hedge Chinese influence. The Quadrilateral is also useful in bringing together allies. The US alliance must be constantly tended and revitalised. The Pacific must be treated as the good friend and partner that it is with significant aid and bilateral economic exchange, not the usual afterthought.

Third, Australian politics and society must be prepared and shielded to contain excessive Chinese Communist Party influence. This can easily be achieved via bans on foreign (or all) donations to political parties and the introduction of a federal ICAC. Society, too, is easy enough to protect if we have the will. There is no need, nor desire, for discrimination. We simply cut the permanent migration intake in half. It needs to be done anyway to take pressure off the east coast crush-loading. We should eschew both the cultural chauvinists of the Coalition and the “Asianising” influences within Labor. We are a multicultural democracy with liberal Anglophone roots. Let’s accept and protect it.

It’s time to manage the China relationship on the front foot.

Houses and Holes
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  1. ChinajimMEMBER

    No “deep rooted-prejudice” here; just hard gained knowledge (“postjudice”?) from years of experience.

    The sooner this nation weans itself off economic dependence on the PRC the better. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the current regime and contemporary culture in China is so toxic it corrupts anything and everything it touches. Your concluding comments on the way forward for the relationship are spot on H&H.

    The world should never have let them in the sandbox until they learn to play by the rules.

    Long read, but just read the intro and summaries if you don’t have time or inclination to wade through the whole thing;

    • “The world” are the elites like Australian politicians and their chosen one’s to make squillions at the expense to the rest of us.

      “The world” didn’t care they didn’t play by the rules because it didn’t effect “the world”.

      On the way, they throw a few crumbs to the plebs, so we agree. Silly billy’s forgot to do that, and went too hard too soon, and now we’re saying enough.

      Leave treasonous LNP, labor and Greens last below the line. Then let’s have a far reaching investigation, take their family wealth, and put the entire lot of them in jail going back 30 years.

    • Tassie TomMEMBER

      +1 for concluding comments on way forward being spot-on. Brilliant last 3 paragraphs.

    • Heard from friends in Honkers, wealthy, middle aged, born and bred in HK types, that the Chinese government has recently changed its permanent residence program to HK. Apparently since 1997 Hong Kong has been granting up to 150 “one-way permits” per day to mainlanders – effectively permanent residence as they can come and go from HK as they want – and for much of that time those visas have been going to business people and their like. Now however the program has been cut or trimmed for businesspeople and instead the visas are tending to go to intellectuals and academics with the expectation that in time the way Hong Kong thinks will become more attuned to the way that Beijing thinks. Another united front effort no doubt, a bit like how the mainlanders have been nibbling away at our unis and think tanks.

      It seems to be working as these friends were complaining how it was discrimmination that China was given no hand in looking for the missing flight MH370 even though more than half the passengers were mainland Chinese. They totally missed the point that Australia only took the lead role and paid most of the bills due to marine law and our sense of obligation and that the Chinese could have conducted their own search in open seas if they wanted to. Instead, to quiet the popular unrest about this terrible event, the authorities are content for the foreign devils to cop the blame.

    • + 1 billion.

      There is no happy ending with China. There is no circumstance where ‘deepening engagement’ will not destroy Australia as we know it.

      The best course of action is to torpedo the ‘relationship’. Take the hit. Painful but necessary.

  2. Funny that China is expecting Australia to make the first moves to “increase mutual trust”.

  3. One thing that DOES need to happen – we need to tell morons who sit in ‘apparent’ positions of authority, who know absolutely nothing about China, its people, its history, its systems or its society,to stop shooting their mouths off in an offensive manner. The ignorance about China in this country is astounding.

  4. First, our economy must seek balance. To achieve that we will need a raft of new policies that aim to improve Australian competitiveness and get us out from under the commodity dependence.

    The Australian economy can seek independence by promoting new industries and technologies. Example: Promote the automated manufacture of solar panels with robotics in Australia and put a limit or tariff on foreign solar panels. Win, WIn, Win.