Chinese state media have continued their scathing coverage of Australia, warning of “unprecedented” economic consequences and again mocking Australia’s relationship with the US.
Tabloid The Global Times, the known mouthpiece of Beijing and repeated critic of Australia in recent months, published a damning cartoon depicting Australia as a kangaroo puppet in the hands of the US.
Cartoonist Liu Rui’s drawing features a bewildered-looking panda standing next to the kangaroo, which appears ready to attack in a pair of boxing gloves.
The cartoon portrays a strikingly similar scenario depicted in a China Daily cartoon published in May where the same nations were illustrated as The Ingenious Knight of La Mancha and accused Australia of being a yes man to the US.
Rapidly deteriorating relations between the US and China thanks to an ugly finger pointing exercise amid the pandemic has left the two on the verge of a cold war.
And following Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s calls for an independent review into the origins of the coronavirus outbreak, a virus which US President Donald Trump has repeatedly called the “China virus”, has embroiled Australia in their own feud with China.
China has repeatedly hit out at Australia over what it believes is an unwarranted and unnecessary stance, and a perceived siding with the US.
Xu Shanpin, adjunct researcher at the Center for Australia Studies, China University of Mining and Technology, told The Global Times the US has been “influencing China-Australia relations with utter negativity”.
“Canberra, which used to stick to its balanced diplomacy, is now rushing to pick Washington's side in the major power game between China and the US,” he said.
Xu also issued a damning warning to Australia over further criticism of China amid damaged relations.
“If Australia provokes China further, China will fight it to the end to defend its core interests,” he said.
Australia acts on HK national security law fears
One of the recent China matters Australia has voiced its concern over is the introduction of new national security laws in Hong Kong.
Today I spoke with 🇬🇧 🇨🇦 🇺🇸 🇳🇿 on global security, including concerns that the NSL imposed on #HongKong undermines One Country Two Systems & trust in international agreements. We will work together for human rights & freedoms @DominicRaab @SecPompeo @winstonpeters @FP_Champagne
— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) July 9, 2020
Foreign Minister Marise Payne tweeted again her concern over the laws, saying Australia will work with other nations to ensure “human rights and freedoms”.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has updated its travel advice to Australians on Thursday warning of an “increased risk of detention on vaguely defined national security grounds” in the special administrative region.
Mr Morrison also offered the chance for some Hong Kongers to resettle in Australia, with speculation over such a move last week angering China further.
“Stop interfering in China’s internal affairs with Hong Kong as a pretext, and refrain from going further down the wrong path.” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said.
Mr Morrison’s announcement on Thursday will undoubtedly prompt further retaliation from China.
‘Bitter pill to swallow’
On Wednesday, The Global Times issued a further threat to Australia, insisting if the nation continues to interfere with internal matters, it will result in “a huge negative impact on the Australian economy”.
“Anyone with knowledge of China-Australia trade could see that political provocations over the Hong Kong issue will only end up being a bitter pill for the country's economy to swallow,” it warned.
“Unfortunately, the Morrison government doesn't seem to quite understand it.
“If China-Australia relations worsen further due to the Hong Kong issue, the damage to businesses and investors' confidence will be unprecedented.”
In a similar warning issued by Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye after Mr Morrison’s support for a coronavirus investigation, Australia’s economic reliance on China has been identified by the Chinese as an area of vulnerability which can be targeted.
“The subsequent impacts may involve Australia's tourism, investment, education, and trade sectors, among others, generating immeasurable losses to countless local businesses,” The Global Times said.
Xu said such a “tit-for-tat” approach was sending bilateral collaboration into a “downward spiral”.
A Chinese Embassy spokesperson called DFAT’s warning as “completely ridiculous”.
China hits back at Australia's Hong Kong decision
China has hit back at Australia’s decision to extended visas to Hong Kong residents who feel threatened by new national security laws imposed by Beijing.
A spokesperson with the Chinese embassy said it was a "groundless accusation”.
“Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs. The Australian side has been clanking that they oppose ‘foreign interference’. However, they have blatantly interfered in China’s internal affairs by making irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong related issues. Its hypocrisy and double standard is exposed in full,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
"We urge the Australian side to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs under any pretext or in any way.
"Otherwise, it will lead to nothing but lifting a rock only to hit its own feet."
China last week warned Australia against “interfering in China’s internal affairs with Hong Kong.”
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