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China warns of 'serious harm' to relations as Australia scraps Belt and Road Initiative deal

21 Comments
By Sébastien RICCI

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China’s bullying tactics are becoming tiresome.

Well done Australia for standing their ground.

Hopefully other countries will also start standing up to these CCP bullies.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

China, you have a problem.

That which you are most proud is your economic power on the international stage, right? The Belt & Road (BRI) project is your biggest in a long time. Unprecedented opportunity for regional development by other countries, going hand-in-hand with your prosperity, all under your terms.

OK, at least in economic theory. International relations, too.

Now the real world problem: few trust you.

Your authoritarian approach to soft power, in which the C.C.P. has driven its simple into that of public diplomacy. Winning “the hearts and minds of people beyond its borders?” Again, OK.

But you want to speed up the process, don't you? On your time schedule, all away from showing an incredible misunderstanding of the role that of your credibility plays out on the international stage.

All the while portraying yourself as a developing country that is trying to support itself while supporting other poor or less-developed countries.

But it comes off as a hopelessly cynical economic offensive being projected beyond your borders by other countries as proof of a hidden economic and political ambition of domination.

Soft power, like identity, is a social construction, which cannot be bought but must be earned. Over time. Sometimes decades. But that's not you, is it? The party time frame, the party way.

The impact of your government propaganda - as shown in brief glimpses as the ones detailed in this article - will be largely ineffective as long as it is not supported by sincere deeds driven by true self-critique and introspection; some deeds that show everyone that you are NOT all authoritarian all the time.

Frustrated that you are misunderstood, you grow impatient with your use of soft power, and want to substitute it with hard power. This at the very time that the world is witnessing the largely repressive nature of your political system. Domestically, public protests against your political initiatives are suppressed by authoritarian laws; The world views evidence of re-education camps in Xinjiang, with between 800,000 and 2,000,000 Muslims, including many thousands of Kazakhs and Kyrgyz. The world views evidence of the suffering of the Uighurs in the hands of the C.C.P, constituting the crime of genocide. And the world watches the HK crackdowns real time on TV.

And you can still wonder why the world is understandably apprehensive of your motives and still don't want to throw even more money at you?

By any reasonable standard, by any existing democracy, your are, and will be, viewed as an undeniable economic power whose clumsy use of your weight and influence is increasingly seen by others as rather unbalanced, and even threatening to global peace.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Corrections made:

China, you have a problem.

That which you are most proud is your economic power on the international stage, right? The Belt & Road (BRI) project is your biggest in a long time. Unprecedented opportunity for regional development by other countries, going hand-in-hand with your prosperity, all under your terms.

OK, at least in economic theory. International relations theory, too.

Now the real world problem: few trust you.

Your authoritarian approach to soft power, in which the C.C.P. has driven, into that of public diplomacy. Winning “the hearts and minds of people beyond its borders?” Again, OK. In theory.

But you want to speed up the process, don't you? On your time schedule, all while showing an incredible misunderstanding of the role that your credibility plays out on the international stage.

All the while portraying yourself as a developing country that is trying to support itself while supporting other poor or less-developed countries.

But it comes off as an hopelessly cynical economic offensive being projected beyond your borders, by other countries, as proof of a hidden economic and political ambition of domination.

Soft power, like identity, is a social construction, which cannot be bought but must be earned. Over time. Sometimes decades. But that's not you, is it? The party time frame, the party way.

The impact of your government propaganda - as shown in brief glimpses as the ones detailed in this article - will be largely ineffective as long as it is not supported by sincere deeds driven by true self-critique and introspection; some deeds that show everyone that you are NOT all authoritarian all the time.

Frustrated that you are misunderstood, you grow impatient with your use of soft power, and want to substitute it with hard power. This at the very time that the world is witnessing the largely repressive nature of your political system. Domestically, public protests against your political initiatives are suppressed by authoritarian laws; The world views evidence of re-education camps in Xinjiang, with between 800,000 and 2,000,000 Muslims, including many thousands of Kazakhs and Kyrgyz. The world views evidence of the suffering of the Uighurs in the hands of the C.C.P, constituting the crime of genocide. And the world watches the HK crackdowns real time on TV.

And you can still wonder why the world is understandably apprehensive of your motives and still don't want to throw even more money at you?

By any reasonable standard, by any existing democracy, your are, and will be, viewed as an undeniable economic power whose clumsy use of your weight and influence is increasingly seen by others as rather unbalanced, and even threatening to global peace.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Oh dear!

Where ever will we source our manufacturing of low cost goods! Vietnam, you say? Ok. Sure.

problem solved.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It is about trust.

Democracies don't trust China. The cost is too high for everyone just outside China due to the authoritarian political system.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The world needs a united coalition to counter China. Everyone needs to he on the same page.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Hats off to the Aussies!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I'm in the state of Victoria and I'm a supporter of the Andrews Government, but this was always a dumb deal. The Feds are right to pull the pin on it. So the Chinese are p-d off with us. So what? The "China is P-d Off with Us And We Don't Care" club is gaining new members every day.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Skeptical, right on. I lived in China and have a deep love of their people, but I suppose its sad history of foreign oppression has left it with a huge chip on its shoulder, and the weight of this chip is burdening it heavily.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

One wonders if Xi Jinping will ever realize that threatening countries like Australia isn't going to make other nations more willing or interested in doing business with China? He is well on his way to being another Mao, and by that I mean increasing internal oppression, distrusted if not openly reviled abroad and economic stagnation at home leading to human suffering. My family knows first hand what it was like under Mao and Xi was imprisoned in a cave by the Red Guards. You would think he would have more understanding that what he is doing is repeating the same mistakes Mao made and he will possibly end his days like the Gang of Four.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

It seems to me that in order to maintain his position Xi has to continue delivering on the implicit deal he and the CCP have with the Chinese people, i.e. the trade-off of democratic freedoms for sustained increases in the standard of living. It's hard to credit that Xi doesn't understand the true nature of interdependency, and doesn't realize that whatever actions he takes to ecomomically damage the West will rebound on China to the detriment of his own country and people. But then I guess that's what happens when a leader loses sight of the big picture and becomes focused only on the growth of his own power.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Agree with @BigYen's first post. I am in the same boat.

China either does not realise or just does not care that all the issues between China and Australia were manufactured in China. China has wrongly initiated trade bans and barriers against the free trade agreement it signed with Australia.

Australia called for an investigation into Covid-19 to learn how it started and spread so that it and other nations could devise an action plan to adopt in the future if something similar happens again, to contain such an outbreak, and to quickly identify such an outbreak at the earliest point possible. China believed it to be a "smear" attempt on China's character rather than taking into account the facts of the situation or the correct reason for the investigation.

China complains of perceived interference in its domestic affairs then proceeds to attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations, complaining bitterly at any decision that does not favor China.

As an Australian I really do not care one iota what the CCP thinks about us or if it does not want to be friendly and act in a normal responsible way with my country. It is as much China's loss as ours. China misses out on our world class wines for five years, (although I am sure the CCP itself will have a good supply already stored for its own drinking pleasure) and foregoes other world class products that Australia have been faithfully supplying it. It will not stop or put in danger the imports of LNG or iron ore as doing so would be economic suicide for China's manufacturing and power generating sectors.

Both countries will go on and rather than do so in friendship, China prefers to do so in an atmosphere of increasing animosity and distrust. Like a spoiled self serving child when it does not get its way, or the biggest slice of pie it sooks about it. Differing culture is not the issue but differing expectations and differing political establishments are. Democracy is just not compatible with dictatorships or authoritarian systems. Trade is one thing but how people are treated and their freedoms and rights are another. Until some consensus on these issues can be reached and enforced that is agreeable to all then problems will inevitably continue and that makes other agreements more difficult to achieve. Climate change, saving the worlds flora and fauna from extinction and space exploration should be used as the means to co-operate and build common bridges.

Until nations like China can mature and wise up the world and everything on it will continue to face an uphill battle. The free world will need to work hard to find ways to coax cooperation and to mend its own many issues and disunity as well. Nobody is blameless. But Australia standing up for itself against a much bigger nation it has helped to develop for decades is to be expected by anyone who has any understanding of the Aussie character. Always open to friendship and always willing to defend its interests when necessary.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

China on Thursday said Australia's sudden scrapping of a Belt and Road Initiative deal risked "serious harm" to relations and warned of retaliatory actions, but Canberra insisted it would not be bullied.

I hope China will not inflict itself this time.

In case Xi Jinping and his government have the guts, they should consider banning China from buying Australian iron ore and see who will suffer.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well done Australia, standing up to this criminal regime.

"We are going to stand up for what we believe in and that's exactly what we've done here," he said.

I wish others would do the same!!!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Good to see Australia standing up to China unlike their Trans Tasman neighbors.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Is China ever capable of anything other than warning and threatening other countries when it doesn't get it' s way?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Good job Australia.

They are thugs. Absurd S China claims, concentration camps for political dissenters, forced labor, a population of good people in fear of speaking their minds, Hong Kong, Taiwan, paying off the Biden administration, wars in India, controlling ports, enabling N Korea etc.

India, Australia, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Thais etc will do well to coordinate against the red menace.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In case Xi Jinping and his government have the guts, they should consider banning China from buying Australian iron ore and see who will suffer.

China already effectively has. Big shiploads of iron ore from Australia are sitting off Chinese ports with the Chinese officials refusing to let them unload. The Chinese are sourcing the great majority of their iron ore from South Africa and Brazil. As a result they are paying about double what they paid before for iron ore. It is a major expense to their industry that will affect prices of their products.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

China has been successful at helping smaller nations accept Chinese help as part of their anti-Taiwanese efforts. This is common in Latin America where China will offer to build a stadium, provided that all ties to Taiwan be cut.

Ref: https://www.npr.org/2018/10/13/654179099/china-lures-taiwans-latin-american-allies

It will take the US, EU, Japan, India, NZ, and AUS to agree to divest from all trade with China to get other democracies to consider doing the same. Some costs will increase. The world pollution will decrease since most of those countries (sans India) have environmental protection laws and China won't need to produce so much when the world slows, then stops buying.

China will need to concentrate much more internally to address the world mistrust. As regular Chinese people lose jobs, dissatisfaction with the CCP-Govt will rise.

And .... something will happen, hopefully.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Big shiploads of iron ore from Australia are sitting off Chinese ports with the Chinese officials refusing to let them unload.

Iron ore continues to be unloaded normally, it is coal that faces unloading "go slows". The source of Iron ore from Africa is five years away from production and is a higher quality that that sourced from Western Australia.

Brazil provides about 20% of China's needed iron ore while Australia provides over 60%. Australia is by far the worlds biggest supplier and there just is no other source of production in operation that can replace Australian ore at this point.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/dec/02/could-china-replace-australian-iron-ore-with-metal-from-africa

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Brazil provides about 20% of China's needed iron ore while Australia provides over 60%. Australia is by far the worlds biggest supplier and there just is no other source of production in operation that can replace Australian ore at this point.

With the current market tightness together with long-term reliability and political stability, it is difficult for China to source iron ore from alternative sources in both short and long terms. And Beijing is well aware of that.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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