Chinese press goes gaga for Twiggy

CCP mouthpiece China Daily:

Ten million COVID-19 test kits secured by one of Australia’s richest men, mining magnate Andrew Forrest, have arrived in Melbourne despite the frosty relationship between Canberra and Beijing.

The kits were supplied by Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) through Forrest’s philanthropic Minderoo Foundation for A$320 million ($210 million), even though foreign buyers were offering to pay substantially more.

At a ceremony in Melbourne on April 29, Forrest said the purchase would not have been possible without the help of Wang Jian, co-founder and chairman of BGI.

He said BGI resisted several higher offers for the kits, seen as a vital tool in the global fight against COVID-19.

“The Minderoo Foundation and BGI received sophisticated coercion to interrupt the relationship,” Forrest said during the press briefing.

There were offers from other countries “much higher than I had agreed with chairman Wang in US dollars, and I’m talking much, much higher”.

He said Wang and BGI kept to their word, resisting the clear temptation for any businessman to make a much bigger profit, and “(maintaining) the integrity of my relationship, and I am very grateful for that”.

Australia’s health minister, Greg Hunt, said he welcomed the kits which will “greatly enhance” the government’s fight to stem COVID-19.

So far, 500,000 tests have been carried out in Australia, where 89 people had died from the virus as of April 29 and over 6,700 had tested positive. More than 5,600 of them had mild symptoms.

With the arrival of the kits, testing throughout the country will be increased 20-fold, according to Hunt.

“Because of today, we can now go even further and be one of the first countries to emerge from this,” he said.

“We can never make a false promise but we can prepare, which has allowed us to be where we are, and we can prepare for the future, which will allow us to return to the life which we so much love and value as Australians.

“Today is a hugely important step on that road,” Hunt said.

Forrest said every country in the world was searching for the kits needed to test for the novel coronavirus.

He said every single kit acquired by Minderoo Foundation was now in Australia, and it was up to the country’s states and territories to test as many people as they can.

“Elucidate the virus, show it up and free your populations, and let’s get back to work,” he said.

Forrest, the former CEO of Fortescue Metals Group, said China had placed a great deal of “importance” on international health cooperation since the pandemic first appeared.

China’s consul-general to Victoria and Tasmania, Zhou Long, said: “China very much appreciates the compassion, support and sympathy of the Australian people toward the Chinese people in our fight against the virus, and vice-versa. We are also doing everything possible to help Australia.

“And this project is another testimony of the friendship and the cooperation between our two countries and the two peoples.”

Zhou noted views have been expressed that the COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest crisis faced by mankind since World War II.”

“If that is the case, we have no choice but to work together to make the world safer, more harmonious, and a better world,” he said.

Forrest would not be drawn into commenting about the current relationship between Beijing and Canberra.

“The relationship I see between the Australian people and the Chinese people is really one of a common heart,” Forrest said.

Sure it is. But not their government, which Twiggy has just handed a propaganda coup. Or has it? Will the test kits even work?

Malaysia bought South Korean instead.

Not to mention that Australia is only short of PPE thanks to Chinese agents siphoning off supplies as it lied about the pandemic to keep borders open earlier in the year.

And at The Australian:

Scott Morrison has slapped down suggestions made by mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest implying coronavirus may not have originated in China, saying he only takes advice from “experts in their field.”

“When it comes to the origin of this virus…I don’t think anybody is in any fantasyland about where it started, it started in China.

“When it comes to foreign affairs, I’ll take my advice from foreign affairs officials…I’ll talk to experts in their field.”

At Domain:

Australia will support Taiwan’s return to the World Health Organisation as an observer four years after it was ousted by Beijing, risking another diplomatic spat.

The position, which follows an appeal from Taiwan’s Health Minister, is consistent with Australia’s long-held view that Taiwan should be able to participate in practical cooperation at the UN health agency.

Bravo. We’re far past the need for subtleties and kowtowing. CCP diplomats are behaving disgracefully, like well-dressed insurgents violating all protocols, and we need to push back hard.

That is unless you’re Bejing Bob and the Australian Labor Party:

Once again we look like diplomatic amateurs with only one international personality: not a roaring lion, but a puppy rolling over to have our tummy tickled by our great ally, after being sent yapping around the yard to return with the rubber bone.

There were two obvious alternatives. The first was suggested by Stephen FitzGerald, our first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China. He told The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald he had seen no evidence there had been any quiet reaching out to China in advance of our announcement to persuade it to undertake “a combined collaborative look” at how the virus had been managed. He might have added that this could have been done with Australia firmly insisting that China had to accept responsibility.

It’s extraordinary that the deterioration in the bilateral relationship that began under Malcolm Turnbull means no one in Canberra can, in FitzGerald’s words, pick up the phone to a senior figure in Beijing – again, he might have added – to state that a full and open inquiry is in China’s interests. And to assert that we are not letting go of the issue but will keep negotiations out of the media until the immediate crisis has passed.

Alternatively, we might have begun the process with some subtle, behind-the-scenes coalition building. This means consulting like-minded countries about options for the most effective inquiry into the origins and early management of the virus.

The last is a fair point. But Beijing Bob, as usual, glosses over the subtleties of what transpired in favour of cultural cringe. Just as he did when the CCP invaded Australian politics over the past few years while he relentlessly criticised Turnbull from a Chinese-funded think tank for undertaking the most basic of sovereign protections.

Australia’s push for an inquiry started when the US made it obvious that it would pursue Beijing over the virus. We acted urgently to mediate the conflict and keep it out of places like the UN Security Council which could blow the issue to all hell.

If we wear some mud for that then so be it. It was sensible risk management to help fashion whatever inquiry takes place. If it doesn’t then that does not take away from the counter-factual.

Looking for clean and clear outcomes in the rough and tumble of international relations is the only amateurism on display here.

And no doubt the CCP propaganda machine will be celebrating Beijing Bob tomorrow.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. Given everything that’s happened, would you put your life in the hands of a Chinese made test kit?

  2. Traitor F is about to buy >$300m worth of gear from China for his mines that should be made here. Seditionist S runs the only newspaper in WA and routinely spruikes China-centric propoganda, McG is caught in a pincer between Canberra Free Trade zealots and these traitors. Who will save us from these ghouls?

  3. I’m starting to think that the Wolf Warrior diplomacy we are seeing a ratcheting up of globally in the past couple of months is quite possibly a sign of a few things. One, I think that while there are some in China who have a good understanding of the outside world, there are many in all branches of gov and party that do not (I base this on my discussions with many students in China over the years who were professionals working for MNCs and SOEs). There is a huge space for conceptual misunderstanding of what drives cultures and societies outside of China given that cultural values and operational paradigms can be vastly different between China and the rest of the world, and Chinese people can sometimes have difficulty believing that other cultures can have very different values and how those different values might operate in the real world. The other thing that this heightened diplomatic aggression or lack of diplomacy in message recently shows to me is that China may actually be very fragile right now. Combined neither is very reassuring.

      • I haven’t read it but when I was living there towards the end it was clear that China had begun turning inwards again. At least that is what the gov wanted, I’m not so sure about the people. Interesting times and all that.

    • Agree, this blatant aggression & failure of CCP to observe norms, something they are normally very big on is, for me, a sure sign the leadership know things are either going to get pretty bad (maybe already if unemployment is really 20%) for the average Chinese or they are about to do something eg sink a Vietnamese coastguard ship etc that will spark a worldwide backslash. And/or Xi is feeling the pressure from some other CCP clique. It serves Xi very well to demonise western nations and increase nationalism as then nobody in China can go against him without being called unpatriotic.

      So not good signs.

      One good thing is our neighbors may look at Australia more favorable for standing up to CCP & even do a little push break as well?

      • Yes it is going to be very interesting to see how this all plays out. Atm I’m not leaning towards a happy ending for anyone. I had far more faith in previous leadership teams.

    • “China may actually be very fragile right now. ”

      I think this nails it. The end of this miraculous boom of theirs is likely on a knife-edge. Their banking system is basically rooted (drowning under a huge number of NPLs) and they’ve simply created too much local currency to be backed at the current official exchange rate to the USD.

  4. I think the bigger picture might be that Forrest wants Virgin and he will want a lot of red cents to do so.

    That plus his BAU business of course.

    • I very much doubt that Canberra will allow Forrest anywhere near Virgin after yesterday’s stunt. Can you imagine a Chinese press conference where an ambassador of a foreign country is given the podium without the signoff of their government?

      • Yep, I think Twu Eu Guo will be blackballed for some time. Hopefully they make him pay a mining tax (I can dream) fur getting rich selling the nations mningl resources

  5. How the funk is it that a sovereign country such as ours is reliant on the goodwill and contacts of a mining billionaire to secure critical medical equipment ?

    How does this not absolutely terrify everyone with half a brain and interest in the future of this country ?

    Forrest, Stokes and Rinehart should all be smacked down big time, and soon.

    • We have just realised that too much of our supply chains go through territories with governments that are not always friendly, and without a holding reserve of essential supplies to buy time and mitigate the leverage of those governments. Not smart and we have to change that pronto. Even our oil supply … we need to build lots of storage facilities. The outsourcing phase has to reverse … there was a news report of one bank processing new loans slowly because the administration is done offshore and the governments there have closed offices, applying different rules to here. Sovereign nations expect to exercise control when they need to, and corporations that have acted on the assumption that those controls won’t be adversely exercised are getting a rude shock.

  6. I lost a dear friend yesterday who died in a UK hospital alone. When I can travel again I will visit his grave. I will shed a tear and in will send your mining man a picture.
    My father says I should kill a Chinaman and tell them it’s from Colin. I think today I found out that my dad really liked Colin more than I knew.

    • I’m really sorry to hear that Daniel. Grief certainly gives all the emotions a workout. Please don’t blame the Carrier Pigeons though mate, they were just conveying a message that the thinking from the controlling elites of this current world just aren’t up to the task or responsibility. They’re blinded by some despicable human frailties & maybe some elements are worse than others, but now, it all needs help…. Are they up to it as a collective? Are they personally strong enough to get past themselves? Or will they continue to be ruled by their frailties?? Are any of us?

      Today, I’ve been sitting here for some time thinking of a close mate who took himself out a year to the day, & we’ll never have answers……. Some you expect it from one day, but this one was out of left field. Whatever the circumstances, grief’s a part of life’s journey we can’t escape unless we can’t feel.

    • blacktwin997MEMBER

      I’m sorry for your loss Daniel, hope you’re doing alright everything considered and can visit Colin’s grave soon.

      I like the way your Dad thinks.

  7. Fark me dead…talk about the CCP breaking Australia’s legs and then handing it a crutch and proclaiming they saved us from certain Wuflu doom and demanding our eternal gratefulness and praise! Can twiggy be any more of a transparent sell out? And here I thought once you’ve got a few billion stashed away u can speak your mind and be free from coercion. Instead I can actually see the Chinese dog collar they’ve strapped around his fat noggin! Here boy!

    • What a business model. Release the virus, sequence the virus, invent the virus test and then flog it to us “at a discount” to what you could have got from other countries crippled by your virus.

  8. Twiggy should be done for treason, all he is doing is sending iron ore to the CCP so they can build Ships and Tanks to come here and kill us.

    Fortescue Metals, building China’s war machine.