Dan O'Heirity

China is Trying to Control the Discourse About Australia

There’s a whole host of news stories that interest me from the last couple of days of reporting including the current debate on racism in Australia. That debate has been prompted by Beijing warning its citizens not to travel to Australia due to racist incidents against Chinese people. Before I take a look at the news stories I want to note that Beijing likely had two aims in mind when it made its statement about racism in Australia. First, Beijing was signalling, once again, that it was punishing Australia for having taken the lead in calling for an independent inquiry into the origins and spread of the CCP virus. The second aim was, I believe, to fuel the debate about racism in Australia in order to ensure that the question of Australian racism became a key feature of news stories around the world. In this respect it does not really matter whether news stories exploring racism in Australia come down on the side of arguing that the problem is exaggerated or that the problem is real. Either way, China has achieved the desired effect of making the question of racism in Australia a real question that is debated in the media for all to see.

I could make my point in another way. Take a look at my first paragraph and count how many times the words “racist”, “racism” and “Australia” occur. Hopefully you now get the idea that my page fuels the discourse on the question of racism towards Chinese in Australia. And so, before I continue I shall do my best not to fall into Beijing’s trap. The strategy is simple. I shall simply spell out the true nature of the CCP. The Chinese Communist Party is an evil, malevolent, malignant and subhuman dictatorship that oppresses its people, denying them fundamental freedoms such as the freedom to think for themselves and the freedom to speak for themselves. The CCP knows no bounds in seeking to ensure that it realizes its aims both in China and around the world. The CCP will either “disappear” or kill those individuals who threaten the CCP truth whether they be in China or in other countries around the world. The CCP has no compunction in seizing entire regions – the Uygur Autonomous Region of Xinjiang and Hong Kong – and ruthlessly suppressing the peoples in those regions.

China Tries to Punish Australia by Playing the Racism Card

So, noting that as of today the CCP has been responsible for 7,860,506 confirmed cases of the CCP virus worldwide along with 432,194 fatalities – more accurately described as murders on the part of the CCP – let us turn to the racism question. This is how the racism accusation story has unfolded as reported by ABC News. First, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism “issued an alert” about increased racist incidents against Chinese in Australia. Next, China’s Ministry of Education “urged” Chinese students to reconsider studying in Australia due to Covid-19 concerns and concerns about racism in Australia. O.K. Lets stop there to take breath. First, in making these statements, China is simply following through on its threat to stop Chinese tourists and Chinese students coming to Australia. In other words, Beijing’s statements have nothing to do with a real concern for Chinese tourists and Chinese students. Rather, China is simply trying to decimate the Australian economy. Following on from Beijing’s thinly veiled threats against Australia, Australian universities rejected Beijing’s claims about racism and Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the claims as “rubbish”.

The ABC news story includes comments from Professor Hong Chen from the Australian Studies Centre of East China Normal University. Chen is a regular contributor to the China’s state run “Global Times”, a fact which means that we really shouldn’t pay any attention to what Chen has to say. However, Chen basically argues that he has seen evidence of racism in Australia and that, “claims that Australia is safe and there is no such behaviour are irresponsible“. Chen also says that, “Chinese parents love their children very much. Who would be relieved to put their children in such an environment?” The oddity aside of Chinese parents apparently wanting to feel relieved when they send their children overseas, it seems pretty clear that there has been an increase in racism towards Chinese people in Australia as a result of the CCP virus. Evidence garnered by ABC News through asking people to submit their stories of experiencing racism are particularly telling in this respect. One respondent, making a point that I have made before, says that, “people don’t distinguish China and the Chinese Government to the Chinese people, or Asians — they see them all the same.”

Beijing is Ultimately Responsible for the Racism Against Asians

Some time ago I argued in one of my posts that Beijing is essentially creating conditions around the world for racism against the Chinese to exist. My line of argument was that Beijing has shown its real face to the world during the CCP pandemic and that face is characterised by arrogance, bullying and by threats against countries around the world. As per the comment in the previous paragraph, racists then impute these qualities to Chinese people. However, if Beijing was something less than subhuman then racists would not be able to impute Beijing’s qualities to Chinese people. There is a second dimension to Beijing creating the conditions for racism in Australia. Jieh-Yung Lo, director of ANU Centre for Asian-Australian Leadership, has said that, “China’s stance [on racism] was disappointing, as it meant that when people called out institutional racism in Australia, naysayers could then accuse them of spouting CCP propaganda.” This fact could well play into the hands of extreme-right groups that are on the rise in Australia and “elements of the pandemic have fuelled some extreme views, including anti-Chinese and anti-migration narratives, and conspiracy theories.”

First Published June 14th, 2020

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