'It's rubbish': PM warns Australia will not be bullied by China following 'racism' accusations

The prime minister has warned Australia will not be bullied by China in the wake of several economic attacks on some of the nation’s most important export industries.

Earlier this week Chinese authorities warned tourists and students to reconsider travelling to Australia, warning of a rise in racism.

Several ministers have shut down such claims in recent days, including Education Minister Dan Tehan who insisted Australia is a safe place for Chinese students.

On Thursday, Mr Morrison said it was "rubbish" that Australia had been racist to Chinese students and questioned the multi-pronged trade attacks.

"We have done nothing to offend that relationship, nothing at all," he told 3AW radio.

Beijing has also targeted Australian barley farmers and beef producers after Scott Morrison led international calls for an independent coronavirus inquiry.

The prime minister has insisted his government is not backing down.

Scott Morrison and Xi Jinping. Source: Getty
Scott Morrison has vowed he will not be intimidated by China, led by Xi Jinping. Source: Getty

"One thing Australia will always do is act in our national interests and never be intimidated by threats from wherever they come," he said.

"We're an open trading nation, but I'm never going to trade our values in response to coercion."

Australian exports to China were worth $16.8 billion last year, doubling from 2014.

China last month slapped a whopping 80 per cent tariff on barley imports, effectively banning Australian crops.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials met industry leaders on Thursday to discuss expanding into alternative markets.

Catherine Ross from DFAT's China Economic and Engagement Branch said officials had advised the agriculture sector to maintain composure.

Chinese students are being warned to reconsider the need to travel to Australia. Source: Getty
Chinese students are being warned to reconsider the need to travel to Australia. Source: Getty

"It's really important that we have to stay calm and disciplined in our public statements," she told a parliamentary inquiry.

"Otherwise, quite frankly, we're playing into China's hands on these matters. But we are very cleared eyed about what's going on."

China’s ‘magic weapon’ used to infiltrate Australia

Mr Morrison’s comments come as an Australian think-tank released a detailed report on how the Communist Party of China is attempting to manipulate several industries in Australia.

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute focused on China’s United Front system it uses to covertly infiltrate other nations.

The United Front is considered a network of party and state agencies responsible for influencing groups outside the party.

“The United Front system’s reach beyond the borders of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)—such as into foreign political parties, diaspora communities and multinational corporations—is an exportation of the CCP’s political system,” report author Alex Joske explains.

“This undermines social cohesion, exacerbates racial tension, influences politics, harms media integrity, facilitates espionage, and increases unsupervised technology transfer.”

China’s leader Xi Jinping once described the system an “important magic weapon for strengthening the party’s ruling position”.

The report called on governments to introduce measures to reduce the control of China on the rest of the world.

“Policymakers should make measures to raise the transparency of foreign influence a key part of the response,” it urged.

The United Front Work Department (UFWD) has developed a growing interference with politics in Australia, despite many key players denying any involvement with the UFWD.

The report details the case of Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo who has been linked to a series of large donations.

A $100,000 donation in cash inside an Aldi shopping bag allegedly from Huang Xiangmo to the Labor party is currently under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

with AAP

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