Amid severely strained relations, China has relished in kicking Australia when we're down. And the nation's rapid downturn in Covid fortunes has been no exception.
After state-run publication China Daily took aim at the botched vaccine rollout last week with a scathing opinion piece, the renowned Beijing mouthpiece the Global Times outlined on Sunday night Canberra's hypocrisy in controlling its population amid the pandemic.
The nationalistic tabloid, which has been a consistent source of criticism for the Morrison government amid the pandemic, said Australia's now stringent measures in place revealed Canberra's "double standards".
China was criticised over its extreme measures to nullify the virus's threat, dramatically restricting residents' movements and their freedoms.
Dramatic online videos from Wuhan in early 2020 showed residents being sealed inside their apartment blocks following detection of Covid-19. And while such videos shocked millions around the world, just 18 months on, several apartment blocks in Sydney and Melbourne have been locked down under strict police guard.
And NSW's deployment of Australian Defence Force personnel in Sydney's streets has raised eyebrows in China.
Quoting Professor Chen Hong, the director of Australian Studies Centre, East China Normal University, the Global Times "quite ironic" the measures Australia was now taking to control the virus and its residents.
The article pointed to Canberra's human rights concerns over surveillance of residents while quoting Foreign Minister Marise Payne's remarks where she suggested some countries were using the pandemic to drive its "more authoritarian models".
"This is a typical double standard on the side of Australia," Prof Chen said.
"Judging from the desperate situation in Sydney and the military reinforcement, Australia is aware that the right to life is the most important human rights. To help ensure the effectiveness of the lockdown, Australia's move to send military personnel into Sydney seems draconian among nations," Prof Chen said.
China accuses Australia of being US's lapdog
China has taken particular offence to Australia's vocal position in the past two years on matters it deems internal affairs.
Canberra has voiced its concern over human rights in Xinjiang province where more than one million Uyghurs and Muslim minorities are believed to have been housed in re-education camps in a bid to wipe out religious extremism.
The Morrison government has also condemned the introduction of national security laws in Hong Kong which has seen China accused of rapidly removing a democratic system in the special administrative region.
Yet the Global Times and Prof Chen has called such "incessant, unwarranted criticism" as a cover to simply join Washington in it's "anti-China policy".
"Australia has manipulated the definitions of democracy, freedom and human rights as a political weapon to discredit China. The Canberra government has been handling such concepts arbitrarily to serve their ulterior motives. Their goal is crystal clear that is to attack China."
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