WA Premier McGowan demands the PM show ‘a bit of tact and a bit of savvy’ in his dealings with Beijing. Opposition Leader Albanese and Senator Wong are of a similar opinion. But do any of them truly understand what a ‘reset’ with Beijing would mean for Australia?
McGowan’s latest outburst follows the PM’s performance at the recent G7 summit. Morrison spelt out our situation to the other leaders in the clearest terms: President Xi has put a virtual gun to our head.
Scott Morrison got the message across by disseminating Beijing’s infamous Fourteen Grievances. The only conclusion to be drawn from the list, a conclusion drawn by everyone from Emmanuel Macron to Joe Biden, is that the CCP sees Australia as a tributary state of the Middle Kingdom, our long-time connections to America notwithstanding.
If you are a captive citizen of China and the party politburo asks you to jump, the only correct answer is, ‘How high, Helmsman Xi?’ This applies not only to regular folk but the estimated 320,000 party apparatchiks, including 35 members of the central committee, purged since the rise and rise of Xi in the years 2012-3. Everyone in his surveillance state, from the remotest Uighur farmer to the celebrity billionaire, must kowtow to the greatest maxim of all: You may have the good life but not the free life.
Ren Zhiqiang, legendary Chinese real-estate mogul, was jailed for 18 years in September 2020 after posting a communiqué that described Xi’s handling of the pandemic as clownish. Jack Ma, former executive chairman of Alibaba, has become an ex-person of late though there is no record of him criticising the regime about Covid-19 or anything else for that matter. It was enough that he wanted to be a billionaire on his own terms in a totalitarian hellscape defined by the belligerent paranoia of China’s Red Emperor.
Until recently, the CCP’s good life/free life dichotomy was ‘academic’ in both senses of that word. In the first instance, the machinations of the party politburo ostensibly held no practical relevance to life in Australia. Bad luck if you lived in China, of course, but not our problem. In the second instance, we took little notice of our local China experts diligently pursuing their theoretical interest in the nuances of, say, Beijing’s 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20). Who cared?
That was then, and this is now. Today most Australians believe the Wuhan Institute of Virology, more specifically its Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory, is the likely source of the SARS-CoV-2 virus because of mysterious gain-of-function research. The problem is not only that a man-made virus has caused the death of almost four million people and devastated countless communities around the globe. Knowing the truth might, if nothing else, prevent the emergence of a prospective SARS-CoV-3.
Predictably, perhaps, Xi Jinping trashed any remaining credibility owing to the World Health Organisation in order to keep us in the dark. His dangerous criminality could turn out to be the gravest cover-up in the history of the modern world.
McGowan et al. criticise the federal government for ‘recklessly’ poisoning Sino-Australian relations, and yet Morrison’s real crime was to suggest, in the most diplomatic way available to him, that Beijing’s account of Covid-19 required some outside scrutiny. In response, China has flouted almost every protocol of the World Trade Organisation to teach Australia – and the wider world – a lesson.
Xi’s belligerent paranoia – or something worse – absolutely pervades the Fourteen Grievances, and now the G7 leaders cannot unsee it. It captures as well as any other single document a snapshot of the transmutation of the CCP’s capitalist-Leninism into imperialist-Leninism: Australia may have the good life but not the free life. If we want to sell our lobster, barley, wine, timber, oil, gas, coal and iron ore to the People’s Republic of China, then we will have to shut up about the lab-leak theory and everything else that is suspect about the origins of Covid-19. All questioning of Beijing’s actions equates to ‘outrageous condemnations of the government of China’. The regime could not throw Scott Morrison into jail, unlike Ren Zhiqiang and a host of citizen-journalists in Wuhan, but it could try to destroy our economy and torch our democratically elected government.
The WA Premier earned the praise of Zhao Lijiang for his ‘constructive opinions’ on Morrison’s performance at the G7. Both Zhao and McGovern appear to agree that the federal government must accept responsibility for the setback in bilateral relations and abandon its Cold War mentality.
The rub comes when we reflect on what Canberra might need to do to reset relations with Beijing. Front and centre of Beijing’s Fourteen Grievances, let us never forget, is the alleged spreading of ‘disinformation’ about Covid-19 and independent media’s ‘unfriendly and antagonistic’ reports on China.
If Mark McGovern were PM, would he apologise for Morrison’s call in April 2020 for an international inquiry into the Covid-19? And would he condemn Sharri Markson’s upcoming exposé, What Really Happened in Wuhan: The cover-ups, the conspiracies and the classified research, as an unfriendly and antagonistic act against Beijing?
Appeasement won’t stop there, of course. Australia could remedy another of the Fourteen Grievances by withdrawing its criticism, at the United Nations Human Rights Council last year, of Xi Jinping’s policies in Xinjiang. Those in the pro-Beijing camp on this issue, including Venezuela, Bolivia, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Russia, Pakistan, and North Korea, would welcome us with open arms aboard the Good Ship Genocide.
To reset Sino-Australian relations will require great leaps from our politicians. It might be time to invite Huawei into our 5G network. And no more talk about the Quadrilateral Alliance. There should also be less alarmist discourse about escalating cyber-attacks on Australia. Finally, Shandong Landbridge Group is a legitimate Chinese company and its 99-year lease on Darwin Port is a win-win for all involved.
Lately Zhao Lijiang has been pushing the case for leading researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, including Dr Shi Zhengli (‘bat woman’), to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine. These scientists were, after all, the earliest to discover the gene sequence of SARS-CoV-2. A bit of tact and a bit of savvy might see a conciliatory Canberra seconding the nomination of the brave and heroic scientists at Biosafety Level 4 Laboratory.
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