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  1. #51
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    If China does pull the plug on Australian imports there may be grim economic effects and an outbreak of horrible racism directed at people of Asian appearance.
    It was bad enough to worry about my wife in shops during the initial Covid outbreak (never was an issue thank goodness).

  2. #52
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    IMO, it is being ignorant and cowardly by taking cheap political potshots, while cowering behind Auntie Sams petticoat. And of course any incendiary political comments are amplified by the (mostly) Murdoch press. Neither put food on your pampered plate, Australia.

    One thing rarely being taken into account is the effect it is having on other Asian people too, such as the young Vietnamese lady assaulted by thugs in Sydney, because Covid. Australia risks losing it's reputation as a friendly, safe destination for Asian students, holidaymakers and prospective residents & investors. It has already damaged it's vital trade links with China- and frankly, if it gets worse, you ain't seen nothing yet. Not real smart.

  3. #53
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    and frankly, if it gets worse, you ain't seen nothing yet.
    ...if it gets worse, it will be due to China's imperial fantasies, not Australia's efforts to defend itself against overt and persistent economic bullying, threats and insidious hacking...

  4. #54
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    And if it gets worse it will also be due to ignorant hillbilly Australians that have no idea.

  5. #55
    Thailand Expat Latindancer's Avatar
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    ^ Exactly.

    But I think that we have seen it about as bad as it will get. There will always be ignorant bogans and there will never be a complete absence of their atrocious behaviour towards foreigners, but there are so many Asians and other foreigners here in Oz that there will be a limit to it.

    The authorities are quick to act and many people take videos of it with their phones, to name and shame later.

  6. #56
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    IMO, it is being ignorant and cowardly by taking cheap political potshots, while cowering behind Auntie Sams petticoat. And of course any incendiary political comments are amplified by the (mostly) Murdoch press. Neither put food on your pampered plate, Australia.
    The press in Oz doesn't have anything on China's political propaganda, which comes directly from the communist regime, and far too many Australians quite aware of any bias there ay be whereas 1.3 billion Chinese worship (are forced to worship) their regime

    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    ...if it gets worse, it will be due to China's imperial fantasies, not Australia's efforts to defend itself against overt and persistent economic bullying, threats and insidious hacking...
    I agree - Australia is hardly the aggressor but it seems there are quite a few here who would willingly accept any treatment by China

    Quote Originally Posted by docmartin View Post
    And if it gets worse it will also be due to ignorant hillbilly Australians that have no idea.
    True, but:
    Quote Originally Posted by Latindancer View Post
    But I think that we have seen it about as bad as it will get.
    I agree. Sydney, when I arrived in the very late 70s was already well on its way to being multicultural (let's not include the Aborigines in this or well never stop) and the mass migration of Asians due to policy changes led to quite a bit of anxiety later on. By now the sheer number of Asian-Australians and their inclusion in fairly well every part of Australian society makes overt racism a relatively rare occurrence.

    Lets not fool ourselves, however, that the aggressor is China, not Australia . . . otherwise you can include virtually every nation China has a beef with as being the aggressors . . . including NZ

  7. #57
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panama hat View Post
    I agree - Australia is hardly the aggressor but it seems there are quite a few here who would willingly accept any treatment by China
    Usually because they are making money out of it.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    IMO, it is being ignorant and cowardly by taking cheap political potshots, while cowering behind Auntie Sams petticoat. And of course any incendiary political comments are amplified by the (mostly) Murdoch press. Neither put food on your pampered plate, Australia.

    One thing rarely being taken into account is the effect it is having on other Asian people too, such as the young Vietnamese lady assaulted by thugs in Sydney, because Covid. Australia risks losing it's reputation as a friendly, safe destination for Asian students, holidaymakers and prospective residents & investors. It has already damaged it's vital trade links with China- and frankly, if it gets worse, you ain't seen nothing yet. Not real smart.
    Australia has been one of the most welcoming countries in the world towards Asians. There are over 1 million Asians in Australia and you pick out one that was assaulted. Well done.

  9. #59
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    Australia has been one of the most welcoming countries in the world towards Asians. There are over 1 million Asians in Australia and you pick out one that was assaulted. Well done.
    Crying racism is the easiest thing to do . . . and when one tries to prove a point it's even easier.

  10. #60
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    My wife's Thai friends are treated very well in Australia as far as I'm aware but the chat on farcebook includes anxiety about potential abuse triggered by anecdotal reports of apparently real incidents.
    That said, the vast majority of Australians are very friendly and welcoming to them.
    Last edited by docmartin; 17-09-2020 at 07:19 PM.

  11. #61
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    My business partner in Malaysia is Malaysian Chinese. His daughter goes to school in the UK and will study medicine there next year. When covid-19 broke out in the UK he was there with his daughter and as things got worse he became more worried about being Chinese because . . . chatter . . . and that an Asian had been beaten up in the UK somewhere. No facts, just chatter.

    I'm not saying it doesn't happen as it most certainly does but to brand a country like Australia as being racist or full of racists is simply bullshit

  12. #62
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    Australia isn't racist, and as you well know is one of the most multicultural countries in the world today- only Switzerland exceeds it for the percentage of citizens born elsewhere. But that isn't to say there aren't any racists, or idiots. Heck, some aussies even like Trump. There has indeed been an upsurge in Hate incidents since Covid, in Australia as well as numerous other countries, such as the US & UK. Sad, but predictable.

  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    ...if it gets worse, it will be due to China's imperial fantasies, not Australia's efforts to defend itself against overt and persistent economic bullying, threats and insidious hacking...
    China and Australia have been making win win deals for 30 years. Hardly economic bullying

    But recently , Australia has fell inline behind Mike Pompeo , a fat dopey corn farmer from Nebraska , with is China bogeyman cold war 2.0 nonsense.

    Nobody else in the neighborhood is doing this. Even India has kept it above the Mike Pompeo demagogery

  14. #64
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    I think Mikey Pompeousass was shat onto the worlds surface to make John Bolton look likable. Talk about an Ugly American.

  15. #65
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    'We have a right to keep your daughter in an undisclosed location': ABC bureau chief tells of Chinese interrogation

    It was late on a Friday evening and I was about to head home from the ABC's Beijing office when the telephone rang.

    On the other end of the line was a man from the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission.

    He refused to give his name but insisted one of the ABC's Chinese staff write down the statement he was about to dictate.

    The man told us our reporting had "violated China's laws and regulations, spread rumours and illegal, harmful information which endangered state security and damaged national pride".

    It was August 31, 2018, and I had been the ABC's China bureau chief since January 2016, working alongside reporter Bill Birtles.

    Australia V China-12678086-3x2-xlarge-jpg




    Three weeks earlier the ABC's website had been suddenly banned in China and ever since I had been pushing for an official reason why. The telephone call came, and there it was.

    But the call also marked the beginning of something else: more than three months of intimidation until my family and I were effectively forced to leave China.
    They wanted me to know they were watching

    I am telling this story for the first time. After my departure from China I was reluctant to report what had happened because I did not want to harm the ABC's operations in China, put staff at risk or threaten the chances of my successor as bureau chief, Sarah Ferguson, being granted a journalist's visa to China.

    But all that changed when Birtles and the Australian Financial Review's Mike Smith fled the country this month.
    The moment the ABC's reporter no longer felt safe in China
    Bill Birtles in a face mask.

    After seven Chinese State Security police officers arrived at my door at midnight, I realised the concerns about my safety were real, writes Bill Birtles.
    Read more

    My story — which occurred two years earlier — suggests there is more to their actions against foreign journalists than tit-for-tat reprisals as the Chinese portray it.

    The fact is that every foreign journalist in China is under surveillance. But tracking of my activities picked up significantly after that Friday night phone call.

    There is the kind of surveillance the Chinese government wants you to know about. When I was reporting on the mass detentions of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, for example, the ABC team was surrounded by about 20 security officials, followed by midnight knocks on our hotel room doors and questioning about our daily activities.

    But there is also the hidden cyber surveillance and occasionally I saw it in action.

    One night in the early hours of the morning I woke to see someone remotely controlling my phone and accessing my email account. They searched and found an email from activists in New York that I was CC'd into requesting to have the famous ABC "tank man" footage from the Tiananmen Square massacre given a UNESCO heritage listing.
    A man stands in front of a row of tanks
    The photo of a man in front of a convoy of tanks became the defining image of the Tiananmen crackdown.(Reuters)

    The email was left open so I could see it, which I believe was a deliberate attempt to let me know they were watching.

    I continued to work as normal. I feel strongly that the moment you adjust your reporting to placate the Chinese authorities, it is the moment you should leave.
    Our future was in the hands of Chinese authorities

    One way the Chinese authorities try to force foreign journalists to self-censor their work is by threatening not to renew the 12-month residency visas.

    I anticipated trouble, so submitted my renewal application six weeks before it was due to expire. If things were okay, you could expect approval in about 10 days. I didn't get a response.
    Australia-China tensions on the rise
    A composite of the Chinese and Australian flags on cracked ground.

    Tensions between Australia and China are again under the spotlight after the arrest of Australian journalist Cheng Lei, marking the latest in a string of incidents between the nations.
    Read more

    Instead, I was ordered to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for "a cup of tea", a phrase that every foreign journalist knows is a euphemism for a dressing down.

    When I entered the room, my government-appointed minder Mr Ouyang was standing with Ms Sun, an unassuming, bespectacled Chinese bureaucrat. She poured me a cup of tea.

    Ms Sun had a pile of my story transcripts sitting in her lap. She drew them out one-by-one, referring to each in turn: "Re-education camps in Xinjiang! Political executions! Imprisoning of labour activists! Experts labelling Xi Jinping a dictator!!!" With each story her anger grew until she was enraged.

    The session continued for two hours and it was quite a performance.

    Ms Sun claimed I had abused all the people and leadership of China. I countered that I didn't know how that could be possible considering the ABC website had been banned in China.

    This infuriated her further and she went on to lay out a more serious charge: I had personally broken Chinese laws and was now under investigation.

    As I left the meeting that day, I felt vulnerable. I knew my future, and that of my family, was now in the hands of the Chinese authorities.
    I was berated for any 'negative' China coverage

    Over the next two weeks I was called in twice more for "cups of tea". The meetings were always angry and always lead by Ms Sun. But the focus had widened.

    I was berated for any "negative" China coverage the ABC did on any platform and any program, particularly the Four Corners stories investigating Chinese interference in Australia's democracy.

    As the ABC bureau chief, the boss, they believed I should take responsibility for these stories. In their view I was an appointment of the Australian Government and as such could be pressured as a means of passing a message to Canberra.
    A man in a suit and red scarf is filmed by a camera
    Ideological differences between China and foreign journalists often causes over tension over the role of journalism.

    In a country like China where media is tightly controlled, understanding the concept of independence — the fundamental difference between a state broadcaster and a public broadcaster like the ABC — is not straightforward.

    In my last meeting, Ms Sun still would not tell me if my visa renewal was going ahead.

    But she did reveal one important detail: the matter was now out of her hands.

    A "higher authority was in charge of the investigation", she said, and was outraged by Australia's new interference laws (some of the toughest in the world at that point).
    Something was wrong

    It was now a week before my visa was due to expire and with it the supporting visas for my wife and three children.

    We booked flights back to Sydney for the following Friday night. The plan was to shield the kids from the drama and if worst came to worst, pick them up from school and leave straight for the airport.
    Australian anchor detained in Beijing

    A high-profile Australian television anchor for the Chinese Government's English news channel, CGTN, has been detained in Beijing in a highly sensitive case posing a fresh challenge to Australia-China relations.
    Read more

    We continued life as normally as possible. My wife, Catherine, was incredible under this pressure making calm, rational judgements all the way through the saga.

    Early on Monday morning it appeared we had a breakthrough. I was told the visa had been approved and when I arrived at the office Mr Ouyang was waiting.

    The atmosphere was tense.

    He dropped my passport on the ground in front me, for me to pick up, a deliberate insult in Chinese culture.

    He told me, with a cold anger, I had an extension of only two months (I'd asked for a year) and then added pointedly: "Don't expect to return to the People's Republic of China" and "don't think this mess ends with you".

    Relieved the uncertainty and stress appeared to be over, Catherine and I went to the immigration police to have visa extensions stamped into our passports.

    The official at the desk began entering our details into the system, but suddenly the mood changed. Something was wrong. We were told to immediately report to Public Security.

    It was clear this ordeal was far from over. In fact, there had just been a major escalation.
    Then the penny dropped

    Once in the hands of Public Security we entered into territory where interrogations and detentions are the norm. As I mulled the possibilities, fear sank into my gut. If this is where our investigation had ended up, then we were in serious trouble.

    We were instructed to report to a facility in north Beijing and told to bring my daughter Yasmine, who was 14 at the time, as she was now part of the investigation.
    A man in a hat and a girl stand on the Great Wall in China with a green hill behind them
    Matthew in China with his daughter Yasmine, who at 14 was an adult under the law.(Supplied)

    This felt like a line in the sand for me. I could not accept that they would involve my children.

    At the same time I was frightened. It felt like part of the Chinese playbook: to go after family members as a way to exact punishment and revenge.

    We turned up the next morning at 7:30am and walked into a large security complex. By this stage the Australian Embassy, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and my ABC bosses were aware of what was happening and were monitoring my movements.

    The complex was newly built but mostly empty, except for the staff sitting dutifully at their workstations. It was so clean you could smell antiseptic. At end of a corridor an official told us to wait.

    A short time later I was called into an office where three people were waiting at a desk. A woman, flanked by two older men, was clearly in charge. They did not give their titles or names. The woman told me in a tone that came across as arrogant that the investigation was about a visa violation.

    Then the penny dropped — this is how I would be expelled from China: a visa violation would avoid a possible escalation with the Australian Government if I was charged with a more serious offence.

    I had spent the past three years reporting on dissidents and Communist Party purges where the targets were often convicted of lesser crimes like arson or immoral behaviour.
    'You will be put into detention'

    The most pressing question was to yet to be answered: Why my daughter?

    Then the lead interrogator, the woman, replied in slow, strident English: "Your daughter is 14 years old. She is an adult under Chinese law and as the People's Republic of China is a law-abiding country she will be charged with the visa crime".
    'Arrest by algorithm'
    A graphic showing documents in the background in Chinese with an illustration of men in prison uniforms sitting in foreground.

    The China Cables leak of highly classified documents reveals the scale of Beijing's repressive control over Xinjiang, where more than a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups are detained.
    Read more

    I replied that as her father I would take responsibility for her "visa crimes". After all, I had put her in this position.

    After a pause the woman answered: "Do you know that as a law-abiding country we have the right to detain your daughter?"

    She knew she had total power over me and she let the words sink in. After some time she added: "I do have to inform you, Mr Carney, that we have a right to keep your daughter in an undisclosed location and I do have to inform you there would be other adults present".

    I told her any attempt at this, and I would escalate the situation by involving the Australian Embassy and Australian Government, which was aware of my case.

    But if she was trying to terrify me, it was working.

    As my final offering, I said to her that we would leave China the next day, no problem.

    She laughed in response and said: "Mr Carney, you can't leave the People's Republic of China! You are under investigation and we have put an exit ban on your passport".

    Ok, I said. What happens when our visas run out this Saturday? I hoped she might say we would be expelled immediately.

    Instead she smiled and said, "Well, you will be put into detention".
    Was it all just theatre?

    Panic was setting in, but I had to pull myself together and come up with a plan.

    In a break I made a pact with Catherine: we would never let Yasmine out of our sight or be moved to separate locations.

    After a round of calls to embassy staff, Chinese colleagues and the ABC, we all decided the best approach was to confess guilt and apologise for the "visa crime", with the condition that Yasmine stayed with us. She was mostly unaware of the severity of the situation.

    I returned to the woman in the security office and did just that.
    A man in a green jacket stands outside a building with columns and red flags on the top and a red and gold emblem
    Carney outside the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.(Supplied)

    One of the men with her, who had a friendly, chubby face, explained the visa violation had come about because I had not transferred the visa that was about to expire from my current passport into a new passport that I had just had issued, within a 10-day timeframe. Instead (as advised) I was applying to have the new visa placed directly into the new passport. Was I guilty? Oh yes, I was! I was just relieved there was no other serious charges.

    My best hope was this interrogation was all just theatre, designed to scare and humiliate.

    The woman then interjected and instructed us to return the next day when my daughter and I would be required to give a taped video confession.

    I went in first at 9:00am. The chubby-faced man set up a camera and pushed record and answered question after question about my travel itinerary over the past year.

    Finally, it was time to confess my guilt: "Yes, I didn't put visas in my new passport."

    My daughter, with my wife beside her, was called in next to give her confession.

    By this stage the man with the chubby face was quite friendly. If this was all it was going to be, then it felt like a good sign. But you never knew.
    'The investigation is over'

    When the lead interrogator returned she told us she would consider our confessions, write a report on our case and send it to "the higher authority" for judgement.

    To heighten the tension once again, she said a result could take weeks. Our visas were running out in four days and by now we knew the consequences.

    We went home defeated and with no idea what would happen next. But at least we were all still together.
    A piece of paper in Chinese language with a red ink fingerprint
    The signed and finger-printed confession which states Matthew had "violated the People's Republic of China exit and entry management law, Article 33".(Supplied)

    Then suddenly, early the next morning, we got a phone call.

    "The investigation is over. The visa extension of two months has been granted. Come immediately back to the security office".

    The man with the chubby face was waiting for us.

    My daughter and I were asked to sign and thumb print every page of the transcripts from our "confessions", many pages long.

    Then with a handshake and a smile he presented us with a certificate stating we were guilty of a visa violation. Our lead interrogator looked on sternly as we left the building, relieved.
    A flight out never felt so good

    There was one more twist to my story.

    A program I made on China's social credit system which uses digital technology to keep control of the population, was getting tens of millions of views around the world.
    China's social credit system
    Surveillance software identifies details about people and vehicles in Beijing.

    Beijing is making an ambitious attempt to create a social credit system, in a move designed to value and engineer better individual behaviour.
    Read more

    The Chinese woman I featured in the story as a "model citizen" threatened legal action against me in the civil courts for defamation. Her husband was an active and ambitious Communist Party member. Was this another way to intimidate me and the ABC?

    I took advice from an American lawyer based in Beijing who urged me to leave China immediately. As soon as legal proceedings were lodged against me, an exit ban would be activated.

    He claimed to be representing dozens of foreigners in a similar position, some who had been stuck for years.

    I was counting down the days before we could leave China for good. This wasn't the way I wanted it to end my posting, leaving behind one the world's biggest stories and many good Chinese friends.

    But boarding the plane for a night flight back to Sydney with my family on a cold December night had never felt so good.

    https://www.abc. net.au/news/2020-09-21/matthew-carney-foreign-journalist-china-intimidation-birtles/12678610

  16. #66
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    China to lose access to Swedish-owned satellite tracking stations in Australia due to 'complex' relationship

    China will lose access to two important and strategic space satellite-tracking stations in Australia, with their Swedish owners citing the "complexity" of doing business with Beijing.

    Australia V China-12686976-3x2-xlarge-jpg

    Key points:

    Swedish Space Corporation said it would end its contracts with China due to the "complexity" of the relationship with the country
    The company operates the Dongara and Yatharagga satellite stations in Western Australia
    SSC would not comment on how much longer its contracts with China had to run

    The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), owned by the Swedish government, operates 11 satellite-tracking facilities around the world, including the Dongara and Yatharagga stations south of Geraldton in Western Australia.

    The Dongara station is primarily used by US government agencies such as NASA.

    The decision comes as China continues its expansion into space exploration, and concerns continue to mount about the country's intelligence-gathering operations in the science and technology sectors.

    Last week, the ABC revealed a massive Chinese database contained specific information about Australia's fledgling space industry.

    SSC's Anni Bolenuis said the company had found its relatively small size a barrier to effectively doing business with Beijing.

    "It has become increasingly difficult for us to handle the complexity of the Chinese market and therefore we have decided to focus on other markets," she told the ABC, speaking from Sweden.

    "We will not enter into any new contracts with Chinese customers after the current contracts expire."

    Ms Bolenuis would not detail exactly when the contracts were due to run out, but said they were "long-term" deals that "were entered into quite a long time ago".

    She also would not be drawn on SSC's specific concerns about China's recent behaviour.

    "I think everyone who has followed developments can see that the Chinese market is complex," she said.

    "I won't go further into that, but we have clearly seen that it has influenced our view."

    In 2008, SSC was spruiking its new office in Beijing as "an important step" to "maintain contacts and give local support to our Chinese customers as well as further explore our possibilities on a fast-growing Chinese space market".

    The Yatharagga station was used in 2013 to monitor China's Shenzhou 10 launch, which was the nation's fifth crewed space mission.

    The ABC has contacted the office of Industry and Science Minister Karen Andrews for comment.

    https://www.abc. net.au/news/2020-09-21/swedish-tracking-station-in-australia-ends-contracts-with-china/12686974

  17. #67
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    I hope that doesn't mean the chinkies expensive Mars probe doesn't head for Pluto instead.

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    Next thread:

    Sweden versus China

  19. #69
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    How Australia-China relations have hit 'lowest ebb in decades'

    Tensions between Australia and China have recently read like the edge-of-your-seat part of a geopolitical thriller; no-one knows exactly where the story is going or how it's going to end.

    "The Australia-China relationship is unravelling at a pace that could not have been contemplated just six months ago," academic James Laurenceson wrote recently.

    Australia V China-_114806354_gettyimages-1225708159-jpg


    Take the escalation in recent weeks alone. Chinese authorities confirmed that Cheng Lei, an Australian citizen and high-profile host for China's English-language broadcaster CGTN, had been detained on suspicion of endangering national security.

    Shortly after, the last two correspondents working for Australian media in China were rushed home on the advice of diplomats. It played out in mindboggling fashion.

    On the eve of ABC reporter Bill Birtles' hastily planned departure from Beijing, seven Chinese police officers arrived on his doorstep in the middle of the night. A similar visit was paid to the Australian Financial Review's Michael Smith in Shanghai.
    Australian journalist Cheng Lei (left) has been detained in China while Bill Birtles (centre) and Mike Smith were rushed homeimage copyrightGetty Images/Reuters
    image caption(L-R) Cheng Lei remains detained in China while Bill Birtles and Mike Smith were rushed home

    Each took refuge in Australian diplomatic missions but were prevented from leaving China until they were questioned over vague "national security" matters. Mr Birtles said he felt like a "pawn in a diplomatic tussle".

    The day after the pair arrived home, Chinese state media reported that Australian intelligence agents had questioned several Chinese journalists in June and seized their devices "in violation of legitimate rights".

    Australian media reported that incident was linked to an investigation by intelligence officials and police into alleged foreign interference. It followed raids in June on the offices of New South Wales state MP Shaoquett Moselmane, a staunch supporter of Beijing who later said he was not personally under investigation.

    Most recently, two Australian academics were banned from entering China - a move one argued had been in retaliation to Canberra revoking the visas of two Chinese scholars.

    At any other time, one of these incidents could be enough to sustain headlines for some time - but these happened in rapid succession.
    media captionBill Birtles: "It was a whirlwind week"

    The breakneck speed has had even close watchers scratching their heads.
    The back story

    Anger and mistrust between the countries has been bubbling under the surface for years.

    A turning point happened in 2017 after the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (Asio) warned of growing Chinese attempts to influence decision-making in Canberra. Donations from Chinese businessmen to local politicians also came to light.

    Late in the year, Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull announced laws designed to curb foreign interference. Beijing responded by freezing diplomatic visits.

    In 2018, Australia became the first country to publicly ban the Chinese tech giant Huawei from being involved in its 5G network, citing national security reasons. There have been numerous other flashpoints since.

    Through all the turmoil, however, Australia's trade relationship with its biggest customer largely flourished.

    China may have been furious with Australia, but its ever-growing economy remained hungry for Australian natural resources. So, the iron ore, coal and liquified natural gas continued to flow to China, and Chinese tourists and students and a huge export income continued to flow to Australia.
    Presentational grey line
    More on Australia and China:

    How reliant is Australia on their top customer?
    Why China's rise exposes Australian vulnerabilities
    'I feel censored by Chinese students'

    media captionAustralia and China are big trading partners but have disagreed on a number of important political issues
    Presentational grey line

    Though many economic benefits continue, things have changed dramatically in 2020.

    "Politically we're at the lowest ebb since diplomatic relations were established in 1972," said Professor Laurenceson, director of the Australia-China Relations Institute at the University of Technology Sydney.

    The real trigger this year has been Australia calling for an investigation into the origins of Covid-19, which was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested that the World Health Organization needed tough new "weapons inspector" powers.

    Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton cited US State Department comments that "documentation" existed showing how the virus had spread - but noted he had not seen them. Chinese diplomats responded with highly undiplomatic language, saying Mr Dutton must have been told to work "with the US in its propaganda war".

    Professor Laurenceson told the BBC that Beijing's anger was directed not just at the political rhetoric but at Australia's stance on the global balance of power.

    "China is seeing that Australia is making its choice to line up with America in a geopolitical competition," he said.

    In late April, China's ambassador to Canberra, Cheng Jingye, threatened that Chinese people could boycott Australian products.

    "If the mood is going from bad to worse… Maybe the ordinary people will say 'why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?'" he told the Australian Financial Review.

    Not long after, China slapped an 80.5% tariff on Australian barley, suspended some Australian beef imports and launched an anti-dumping probe into Australian wine imports.
    Foreign ministers from India, Japan, Australia and the US sit around a table at security talks this weekimage copyrightGetty Images
    image captionAsia-Pacific allies known as "The Quad": India, Japan, Australia and the US meet last week in Tokyo

    Beijing also cautioned students and tourists against going to Australia, citing racist incidents in light of Covid-19.

    Australian sentiments towards Beijing have also soured in public opinion. This is especially evident in what many see as China's attempts at arm-twisting with sanctions against sectors of Australia's economy.

    "Those bullying tactics have hardened attitudes in Australia," said Natasha Kassam, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute think tank. It conducted a poll this year which found only 23% of Australians trusted China to act responsibly in the world.

    Ms Kassam added that every time China attempted to "bully" Australia, the voices demanding a more assertive policy towards Beijing grew louder.

    Mr Morrison has used tough language at times, insisting that Australia will not "trade away" its values or respond to coercion.

    His government has openly criticised the new security law imposed by China on Hong Kong, and offered safe haven to many Hong Kong students and graduates already in Australia. It has also suspended its extradition agreement with Hong Kong.

    Beijing's fury with Canberra's latest stances - especially the US alignment - is not surprising, but the speed and severity of the anger has taken even the experts aback.

    "I am surprised to the extent that for three years we had a firewall between the political side of the relationship and the economic one," Professor Laurenceson said. "Now in the spate of five months we have China taking or mooting action against barley, beef, students, tourists, and wine."


    "What adds to the nervousness at the moment is that it's not clear where the bottom is."

    Ms Kassam said it was increasingly clear that the acrimony was "structural" and could not be "fixed by better diplomacy".

    "It was never going to be possible in this globalised world where China is a big rising power," she said, noting Australia's US alliance.

    The two sides know that with high tensions come even higher stakes. Last week, one of China's top diplomats called for an end to "confrontation and abusive language" between Australia and China.

    Fu Ying, China's former ambassador to Australia and an influential figure in Beijing, called for better communication because the two trading partners needed each other.

    The significance of that particular statement was not just in what she said, but who she said it to: Michael Smith of the Australian Financial Review, one of the two journalists who had been hurried out of China.

    Even amid the tensions and the pandemic-led global recession, the countries have traded at a consistent pace.

    "The economic side of the relationship remains a strength," said Professor Laurenceson. He expected it to co-exist with the political relationship "in an uneasy way going forward".

    "You will not find two countries that have more complementary production structures than Australia and China. Simply put - China wants what Australia produces and they want it deeply."
    A shop worker grabs a bottle from the Australian wine section in a Beijing bottle shopimage copyrightGetty Images
    image captionChina is running two investigations into Australian wine exports

    This remains a complicated balancing act for both countries.

    For Ms Kassam, separating trade from political tensions is a myth which has been dispelled as both sides ratchet up their rhetoric.

    "For 10 years [or so]… Australia and China were able to maintain the fiction that their economies' co-dependency could exist in a separate sphere to their political tensions. It was in both sides interest to maintain that fiction for that period."

    She added it was hard to see stability returning soon and that, in future, the relationship would be defined by tension and political conflict.

    "I worry about that a lot," Ms Kassam said. "I worry about Australian people in China and whether they could potentially be targeted in the declining bilateral relationship."

    How Australia-China relations have hit '''lowest ebb in decades''' - BBC News

  20. #70
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Chinky bully boys throwing their weight around on their home turf.

    The convicts should detain of few of them and ask them vague questions about didgeridoos before sending them packing.

  21. #71
    Chinese spy
    sabang's Avatar
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    Sure, and kiss goodbye to 46% of our national exports. Bet you'd love that 'arry, but not gonna happen.

  22. #72
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sabang View Post
    Sure, and kiss goodbye to 46% of our national exports. Bet you'd love that 'arry, but not gonna happen.
    It's better to slowly but surely cut our own throats simply waiting for China to do as it wishes

    China Bans Australian Coal Imports as Political Relations Sour - Bloomberg

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by panama hat View Post
    surely cut our own throats
    One wonders if the Oz coal industry and it's employees feel the same.

  24. #74
    Thailand Expat jabir's Avatar
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    Does wonders for China's image.

  25. #75
    Hansum Man! panama hat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    One wonders if the Oz coal industry and it's employees feel the same.
    It feels better when China is doing it for you without warning? You're not only an apologist for a murderous regime you're also thick.




    Quote Originally Posted by jabir View Post
    Does wonders for China's image.
    But it makes people like OhOh and Klondyke feel good.

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