Australia's naïveté on China

Now it is just dangerous.  While the world holds its breath over the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, the Chicoms are doing what thugs and bullies do.  They have banned the import of a number of Australian commodities: coal, barley, wine, and lobsters.  The first reaction of Australia's trade minister to China's ban on Australian coal was "But it will increase China's CO2 emissions!" if China burns Indonesian, Mongolian, or Russian coal instead of the high-quality stuff that Australia produces.

The stupidity and naïveté of that reaction was enough to generate a headline on Instapundit: "Australia: Chinese Embargo of High Quality Aussie Coal is increasing CO2 Emissions."

The trade minister hasn't been able to figure it out for himself, and nobody has told him: CO2 as the bogeyman is just a distraction for the masses.  China couldn't give a tinker's cuss about CO2.  The Chinese have said they will be emissions-neutral by 2060 and will be increasing coal use up to 2040 in the interim.  The details don't matter because it is just verbiage for gullible foreign audiences.

The politically acceptable line as to why China has banned imports of Australian coal, barley, wine, etc. is to punish that country for calling for an inquiry into the origins of the Wuhan virus.  According to that theory, China is giving Australia a whacking at little cost to itself — there are other sources of wine and barley and crayfish.

But in banning Australian coal, the Chicoms are taking real pain, and that means the bans have a higher purpose.  Cold is a killer, and winter has come early to northern China.  Deaths from cold start rising once indoor temperatures fall below 17°C.

In the 1950s, the Chicoms brought in the Haui River policy.  The area north of the Huai River receives free or subsidized coal for winter heating.  The people south of the river miss out.  The line is shown on this map:

From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 2013.

As a consequence of the particulates associated with burning that coal, Chinese living north of the Huai River have their life expectancy reduced by five and a half years relative to those living south of the Huai River.  Traditionally, stone beds in northern China had coal-burning stoves built into them.

The Chicoms could put scrubbers on all their coal-burning factories and power stations, but they would rather spend that money on building aircraft carriers and other ways to kill foreigners.  Killing foreigners has a higher priority in China than clean air and clean water.

Due to the early onset of winter, coal is now in short supply in northern China, and the Xi regime has reacted, in some areas, by banning internal heating until the external temperature falls below -3°C.  A lot of people are going to die this winter in northern China due to respiratory failure caused by the ban on Australian coal.

So what is the higher purpose of all this?  It is to winkle Australia out of the Quad.  The Quad is the grouping of India, Australia, Japan, and the United States formed to counter China's aggression.  A few years ago, a Pentagon study concluded that to win against China, the United States just needed bases in Guam and Australia.  President Xi must have come to the same conclusion, so he is trying to take Australia out of the picture, and his war is coming soon.

Figure 2: What could Xi possibly mean?

President Xi has been enjoining the People's Liberation Army to prepare for war ever since he ascended to the throne in 2012.  The frequency of that instruction has increased in recent years.  Banning Australian coal to take that country out of the Quad is part of the battle space preparation.

Australia's remaining big earner with China is iron ore, exporting 600 million tons per annum to China at a high margin.  Whatever money Australia makes out of selling iron ore to the Chicoms needs to be spent on weapons systems.

David Archibald is the author of American Gripen: The Solution to the F-35 Nightmare.

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