Op-Ed: China - Australia relationship goes very sour after Tweet

Posted Dec 1, 2020 by Paul Wallis
The relationship between Australia and China has gone from good to lousy to irritating to insufferable over the last year or so. Adding a lot of heat, a Tweet from a Chinese official has made things officially extremely sensitive.
Ties between China and Australia have deteriorated in recent months and China's near-silence ab...
Ties between China and Australia have deteriorated in recent months and China's near-silence about Yang's fate has only further strained relations
The China/Australia spat is now generating a lot of headlines. The latest bit of Cold War revivalist propaganda from China showed an Australian soldier supposedly holding a knife over the throat of an Afghan child. This classic of bad taste comes after recent very much unappreciated but apparently true revelations about war crimes committed by Australia’s elite SAS.
The SAS story has taken years to uncover. It’s a huge embarrassment, not to say disgrace, to the SAS regiment, and a top priority issue for Defence. It couldn’t get any more serious. The gratuitous posting of a doctored photo, which looks like a Photoshopped publicity photo, is pretty much the last straw in a long downward spiral of our relationship with China. (Twitter has refused to delete the Tweet for some reason. Presumably blatant disinformation from China is OK?)
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has officially demanded an apology for the Tweet after this epic of Chinese provocation. There’s been no response. This is on top of a couple of years of very long list of Chinese poking at Australian sensitivities:
• Barley tariffs
• Chinese spy defector outlining Chinese operations in Australia
• Chinese influencing Australian members of Parliament
• Attempted intimidation of Chinese students over Hong Kong protests
• Wine tariffs
• Endless trade situations which now have Australian businesses voluntarily discontinuing trade with China
• More or less continuous cyberwarfare, usually suspected of coming from China or North Korea
• Insulting rejection of Australia’s call for an enquiry into the COVID pandemic (to which China later agreed)
• Ongoing babble from the Global Times, Beijing’s pitiful poor relation to official news media.
• The South China Sea situation, which has seriously worried everyone in the region
• Global Times has demanded Australia apologise for negative remarks about the artist who drew a bloodied kangaroo cartoon. They described the artist as a “wolf warrior”, which is official slang for a patriotic fighter against the West. As though we could possibly give a damn what some lapdog scribbler has to say.
We’re more annoyed by Beijing’s bizarre mindset, particularly in context with the rest of the dog’s breakfast of a relationship we now have with China. Why, exactly, would Australia pay the slightest attention to this trail of blatantly false garbage? What possible value can China get out of such utter rubbish?
Trade is becoming unwise, as well as impossible in many sectors. Australia will have to reposition anyway, and apparently the sooner the better. Seems people are now doing that rather than waiting for more brilliance from Beijing.
The simpler perspectives happen to be right both for trade and the appalling SAS case. The facts of the SAS matter are far more important than mere infantile spectator trolling and heckling from China. Tweet on, plush toys in some office in Beijing, we know it’s crap and so do you.
Meanwhile, China - If you want to talk, talk business. This meaningless quasi-official drivel will get no traction, just more friction. Australia has already had far more than enough of it.
Just one more point – The world isn’t, as far as it knows, actually at war with China. Why is China behaving as though it is? 6.3 billion people would like to know.