China leaks dossier of 14 disputes with Australia as tensions increase

A bombshell dossier containing a long list of reasons China is “angry” at Australia has been deliberately leaked in a move that will alarm Scott Morrison.

Remember back in August when China’s Deputy Head of Mission Wang Xining made that extraordinary speech at Canberra’s National Press Club outlining how Australia had wronged the Communist state?

It was a pointed attack at Australia over its decision to back an independent inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic – a decision the diplomat compared with the stabbing of Roman emperor Julius Caesar.

The rift over where coronavirus originated has dominated the relationship between the two previously strong allies. But it is far from the only reason China is “angry” at Australia.

A deliberately leaked document delivered by the Chinese embassy in Canberra to The Age newspaper reveals 14 disputes that are “poisoning bilateral relations”.

China is angry,” an official said after the leak on Tuesday. “If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy.”

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Chinese President Xi Jinping. Picture: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Picture: Kevin Frayer/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

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The list of grievances cited by Chinese officials reportedly includes calls for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, taking sides over the South China Sea territorial dispute, “thinly veiled” accusations that China is behind cyber attacks and banning Huawei from the rollout of 5G because of security concerns.

A new military pact between Australia and Japan has also ruffled feathers in Beijing where Chinese state media described it as “dangerous”.

“We suggest Japan and Australia exercise restraint on the way to form a quasi military alliance against China,” a Global Times editorial read on Tuesday night.

“They will surely pay a corresponding price if China’s national interests are infringed upon and its security is threatened.”

The Global Times condemned both nations for “recklessly” taking the first step to conduct deep defence co-operation that targets a third party, and accused them of shifting the responsibilities of safeguarding regional unity to China.

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Chinese soldiers applauding during a military parade in May. Picture: AFP

Chinese soldiers applauding during a military parade in May. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

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“This is not only unfair, but also very dangerous,” it wrote.

In August, the Chinese diplomat who fronted the Press Club in a rare display of outward aggression said Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision to back the inquiry into the origins of the virus had “hurt the feelings” of Chinese people.

“All of a sudden, they heard there was this shocking proposal coming from Australia, which is supposed to be a good friend of China,’’ Wang said.

“If you are able read Chinese blogs, websites and even the comments of the blog of your Embassy in Beijing, you will be able to note the intensity of emotion of our people, how much indignation, anger and frustration they expressed, they used a lot of Chinese idioms and sayings to describe the emotion, but it is difficult to translate.

“I think it is approximately identical to Julius Caesar, in his final day when he saw Brutus approaching him: Et Tu Brute.”




“I think it is approximately identical to Julius Caesar, in his final day when he saw Brutus approaching him: Et Tu Brute.”

The quote appears in William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, as the last words of Roman dictator Julius Caesar, at the moment of his assassination, to his friend Marcus Brutus, upon recognising him as one of the assassins.

Earlier in the address he had insisted COVID-19 could have originated in “two or three other places”.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping waves from a vehicle as he reviews troops at a military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People’s Republic of China. Picture: Thomas Peter/ Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping waves from a vehicle as he reviews troops at a military parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People’s Republic of China.

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“Yes, I think it is up to the scientists to find out the origin, and also how it has been dealt with by different governments,’’ he said.

“I would like to call your attention to what has been said by Dr Michael Ryan. He is the executive director of WHO health emergency program, he said recently that patients zero is not necessarily found among the first cluster of coronavirus cases.”

The fallout has been felt at more than a diplomatic level. As we wrote a week ago, China is still “offended” by Australia’s comments and is taking steps to make those feelings clear.

The Victorian timber industry felt the full force of China’s will when out of the blue it blocked exports last week.

The official reason relayed to the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment was that several recent shipments contained bark beetles – a pest that feeds on the inner layers of trees.

The timber industry joins wine, coal, barley, copper ore, sugar and seafood industries on the banned list by China Customs.

But the story being told in China’s state media has holes in it, according to Dr Pradeep Taneja, who lectures at the University of Melbourne on Chinese politics and international relations.

“It’s hard to believe that suddenly over the last six months or so that there are so many problems with Australian exports to China,” Dr Pradeep told the ABC.

“It’s hard to believe. There may be, I’m not denying there could be problems. But those problems could be resolved fairly easily if the two countries were talking to each other.”

with Samantha Maiden


 


 

 

 

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