China’s bullying of Australia goes racial

China has decided to make an example of Australia for complaining about its Wuhan virus plague and launching an official inquiry into its origins. In the latest escalation of tensions between the two nations, an article in the state-controlled, English language, semi-official newspaper Global Times, suggests that race is playing a role in China’s targeting of a Caucasian-majority country. The move apparently is in ”response to Prime Minster Scott Morrison's plan to stop states signing deals with foreign powers that go against Australia's foreign policy”. reports:

Australia is at risk of becoming the “poor white trash of Asia” as disputes with our biggest trading partner heat up, China’s state-run newspaper says.

The comments come as China launches its second investigation into Australian wine and Australian journalist Cheng Lei is being detained in China.

Tensions are growing between Australia and Beijing with Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week announcing new powers to tear up Victoria’s Belt and Road initiative if deals between foreign governments and local and state governments go against national interests.

But an opinion piece published by the Global Times says there are “few signs that Australia intends to stop provoking China”.

“Further decoupling with China will not send China back to poverty but will only make former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s famous statement more likely to come true: That if Australia doesn’t open up its economy and reduce unemployment, it risks becoming the ‘poor white trash of Asia’,” researcher Yu Lei writes.

“If decoupled from Australia, it won’t be difficult for Chinese products and investments to find new markets and investment destinations.

“However, it won’t be so easy for Australia to find a comparably large export market or a supply of high-quality and cheap imported goods or a strong group of investors to replace China’s.”

China can’t intimidate President Trump and the United States into backing down because it needs access to our vast market and still fears our military prowess. But Australia, with only 25 million citizens and dependent on China as its biggest export market, is a much easier target for intimidation.

Humiliate the white people in Australia and then Caucasians in Europe and North America will get the message that a new boss is going to run the world. That chilling proposition may be the pernicious logic lurking behind that latest provocative statement.

Chinese leaders have no historical models for diplomacy based on relationships between equal sovereign nations, the so-called Westphalian system invented in 17th century Europe. For millennia, China was the overwhelming hegemon of the world it knew in East Asia, and other nations dealt with it as tributary subjects of the emperor. Then came the arrival of the West, the Opium Wars, and abject humiliation, subjugation, mass opium addiction, social disintegration, and utter catastrophe as Western powers "carved up the Chinese melon."

The 98th Regiment of Foot at the attack on Chin-Kiang-Foo (Zhenjiang), 21 July 1842, effecting the defeat of the Manchu government. Watercolour by military illustrator Richard Simkin (1840–1926). Public domain

It is hardly surprising if a thirst for revenge might lurk in many a heart, especially among the Chinese leadership, ambitious strivers by definition. But by cheating its way to technological sophistication and by bullying as foreign policy, China is alienating its neighbors and counterparts, save only for those nations whose leaders depend on it or have been bought.

It is not hard to see trouble ahead.  

Hat tip: John McMahon

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