China slams Sky News Australia's 'poisonous' documentary

Chinese state media have taken aim at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp over what it calls its 'anti-China agenda'.

Chinese state media has reacted furiously to a Sky News Australia documentary it claims is a "poisonous" attempt at stoking anti-China sentiment.

Titled Are We Ready for War?, the documentary, which aired on Wednesday night, explored Australia's readiness for military conflict in the region.

The documentary gathered the thoughts of several experts and politicians who all gave a concerning assessment of the potential dangers ahead for Australia, including the late Senator Jim Molan who warned the country must prepare for "the worst case" scenario.

Chinese soldiers in a military drill last year.
The documentary warns war with China is a possibility. Source: Getty

Yet Beijing mouthpiece the Global Times took umbrage with the theatrical nature of the documentary, which said its "nerve-wracking background music" was more suited to a Hollywood war movie.

"It's hard to say if the Australian film industry has reached the level of Hollywood," it said late on Thursday. "But to play up the threat of war, a right-leaning Australian media outlet has made a video of a quasi-Hollywood blockbuster level, showing how hard it has tried to promote the anti-China sentiment."

The idea of engaging in a war with China has been put to Australians in recent years by the Morrison government, namely former defence minister Peter Dutton. He repeatedly warned the country could be forced to engage its military resources to protect peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, particularly Taiwan's desire to remain a democratic, independent state.

He was accused by Beijing of unfairly hyping China's threat as well as trying to make last year's federal election a khaki one.

Australian media pushing 'anti-China agenda', state media claims

The Global Times took aim at Sky News Australia's owners, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, which it accused of "intentionally avoiding" positive China developments to push its "anti-China agenda".

"They are fond of amplifying anti-China remarks in a sensationalist way, thus creating concerns, anxieties and even fears about China in Western society. Such a gimmick not only serves the anti-China agendas of some Western politicians, but also can win more clicks and views for these presses," it said.

The tabloid accused such content of "undermining and poisoning" the Australian political environment, fearing it created "an unpleasant buzz in public opinion" that could sway the government.

Sky News Australia defends documentary

A spokesperson for Sky News Australia told Yahoo News Australia the documentary is an "important investigation" at a time Australia's Defence Strategic Review was in the national spotlight.

The spokesperson said invitations to China’s ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian, to be a part of the documentary were rejected.

"Despite the refusal to be interviewed, the documentary included recent public comments by the Chinese Ambassador to ensure all sides could be reflected, as well as interviews with a broad range of senior political leaders and military experts from Australia, the wider Indo-Pacific region and the United States," they said.

"The resounding view was that concerns around the potential for conflict in the region are very real.

"The state-run Global Times is a propaganda mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party. We encourage people to make up their own mind about this report by watching it on"

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