China’s trolling Australia over the murders of civilians in Afghanistan by its special forces isn’t finished. Far from apologizing as Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has demanded, instead on Tuesday the state-run English language newspaper Global Times described that “China’s goodwill” is “futile with evil Australia” as the headline reads.
And yes the offending and now viral tweet is still live on Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian’s Twitter account. The GT op-ed had this to say: “Australia’s evil acts toward China have made Chinese society not only surprised, but also disgusted. Many Chinese people feel as if they have swallowed a fly when hearing about Australia… How arrogant and shameless the Morrison government is!…Australia treats China’s goodwill with evil. It is not worthy to argue with it.“
Shocked by murder of Afghan civilians & prisoners by Australian soldiers. We strongly condemn such acts, &call for holding them accountable. pic.twitter.com/GYOaucoL5D
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) November 30, 2020
“If it does not want to do business with China, so be it. Its politics, military and culture should stay far away from China – let’s assume the two countries are not on the same planet. As a warhound of the US, Australia should restrain its arrogance. Particularly, its warships must not come to China’s coastal areas to flex muscles, or else it will swallow the bitter pills.)” the op-ed said.
Quickly spotlighting details of the escalating trade spat and Beijing’s version of events which is underlying the latest China trolling (and fueling that is Australia’s criticisms of Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak), GT continued:
China has never associated bilateral trade with politics between the two countries. China imposed tariffs on Australian barley for dumping and government subsidies, and imposed tariffs on Australian wine for the same reason. Moreover, pests have been found in Australian timber that threaten China’s ecology, and Australian lobsters have been found to have high levels of cadmium. China didn’t fabricate them. In terms of trade, China won’t fear it if Australia brings the cases to the WTO.
China firmly maintains and advocates free trade. China and Australia are signatories to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Australia has carried out more than 100 anti-dumping and anti-subsidies investigations on Chinese products, while China only carried out a few against Australian products. Beijing does not fear going to the WTO with Canberra. China will acknowledge it if it loses, but the result will certainly be that all Australia’s accusations will fall flat.
Beijing knows it holds all the cards, and that Canberra will soon be desperate to normalize trade ties and relations once again, after major Aussie commodities exports to its number one foreign market earlier this month were blocked and/or were hit with huge tariffs by China.
Meanwhile, speaking of Monday’s unified ‘outrage’ among Australia’s political class and media and PM Morrison’s demand of an apology over the offending doctored image tweet showing an Australian soldier poised over an Afghan child with a bloody knife, the Chinese Embassy in Canberra issued an official statement on its website, saying “The rage and uproar of some Australian politicians and media is nothing but misreading of and overreaction” to the tweet.
“Yesterday, Secretary of [Australia’s] DFAT made a complaint to the Chinese Ambassador over a phone call about the twitter post of Mr Zhao Lijian. The Ambassador refuted the unwarranted accusations as absolutely unacceptable,” the statement said.
Trade Minister @birmo says Australia will complain to the @WTO about #China‘s trade coercion, but WTO dispute resolution takes years. For industries like wine, immediate Government assistance is vital to save capacity & diversify exports. #auspol #saparli https://t.co/VhLVBi0zXU
— Rex Patrick (@Senator_Patrick) November 29, 2020
The statement continued:
The accusations made are simply to serve two purposes. One is to deflect public attention from the horrible atrocities by certain Australian soldiers. The other is to blame China for the worsening of bilateral ties. There may be another attempt to stoke domestic nationalism.
All of this is obviously not helpful to the resetting of bilateral relationship. It’s our advice that the Australian side face up to the crimes committed by the Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, hold those perpetrators accountable and bring justice to the victims.
And finally the Chinese embassy urged the Australian side to “take constructive practical steps” to help bring the previously healthy bilateral relationship “back to the right track.”
But it appears each side is locked in a point of no return and there’s only bottom from here, especially given leadership in both countries is now tapping into and stoking popular domestic anger.