A Chinese government-controlled newspaper warned Tuesday that Australia will become the “poor white trash of Asia” unless it stops pushing back against the ruling Communist Party.
The Global Times said in an editorial Australia stands to become impoverished because it resists Chinese investment through the “Belt and Road” initiative while refusing to blindly applaud the rise of China itself.
The provocative article was a response to Prime Minster Scott Morrison’s continued drive to hold China to account for its actions on the world stage.
In 2020 alone the Australian Government has led calls for an international probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic while assuring Hong Kong residents they have the right to live in Australia as the former colony’s freedoms are taken away.
All as Australian warships have been working with the U.S. Navy to curb Chinese aggression in contested waters.
In just the past few weeks, Canberra has blocked the sale of a local milk producer to a Chinese firm, signalled greater scrutiny on Chinese-backed research and departments at Australian universities and warned it may halt the state of Victoria from co-operating with Beijing’s desire for capital investment.
Perhaps most significantly, Australia’s decision to join the U.S. and ban Huawei from any participation in a national 5G network back in February drew a scalding response from Beijing which threatened trade restriction in reprisal.
The Global Times has now given voice to that frustration in the single-party state and warned rejecting Chinese blandishments will make Australia poor. It said:
As Australia suffers soaring unemployment, an old and worn-out railway system, a network speed far slower than other Asian countries’ and halted development plans, the Australian people may start to recall former Prime Minister John Howard’s encouragement of Western leaders to “welcome rise of China.”
Indeed, 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”.
Lee made his comment in 1980 in a bid to urge Australia to open its economy to foreign investment. Today investors from the United States and the United Kingdom put the most money into Australia, with China way back in ninth place.
Australia’s effort in holding China to account means it is defying the ruling Communist Party which historically regards telling the truth as an act of sedition and will seek whatever means possible to make an example of Canberra on the world stage.
For their part, the Aussies just shrug their shoulders and keep fighting back.