Canada will take notice as China gets challenging with Australia

As the world ponders the spectacle of Donald Trump’s determined endeavours to sabotage the legitimacy of the U.S. election, on other side of the earth, China is seizing the minute to launch a whole-courtroom press to weaken the Western alliance through financial coercion, starting off with drastic steps levelled towards our anglosphere ally, Australia. The implications for Canada and our relations with the Biden administration are speedy and dire.

Earlier this thirty day period, Chinese importers were abruptly told to halt importing a broad assortment of commodities from Australia, including barley, sugar, crimson wine, timber, coal, lobster, copper ore and copper concentrates. For that reason, tonnes of stinking useless rock lobsters sat on the tarmac at the Shanghai Airport and hundreds of crates of Australian wine caught in customs limbo. This outrageous affront follows China’s specious imposition of anti-dumping obligations on Australian barley, and beef export suspensions. The South China Put up documented that a ban on Australian wheat could be upcoming.

Australia will have no selection but to reciprocate by blocking imports from China, as Beijing’s steps are in gross violations of the phrases of its 2001 accession to the Globe Trade Business. It also opens up the way for China to curry favour with the Biden administration by offering the marketplace for these commodities in a facet trade offer with the U.S. So a great deal for the protections of the 2014 Australia-China Free of charge Trade Arrangement that Canada has extended craved to duplicate.

China’s anger is fired by several components, which include Australia’s simply call for an global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus, and Australia’s ban of Chinese telecom large Huawei from its 5G network because of to national security problems. But Beijing is specifically furious around legislation to handle China’s covert, corrupt and coercive political operations to impact Australian politicians with, as a the latest report by the U.K.’s Royal United Products and services Institute (RUSI) notes, “life-modifying amounts of cash.”

The Chinese Communist Get together newspaper China Every day has threatened that Australia will “suffer even more pain” for fuelling anti-China sentiment by sanctioning Chinese firms, sending warships to China’s doorsteps in the South China Sea and “colluding” with Washington, concluding that “Australia will fork out greatly for its misjudgment.”

Chinese International Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin lately said, “We want to urge some persons in Australia to earnestly mirror on its own misdeeds, do a lot more to increase mutual have faith in … and create the very good situations and ambiance for functional co-operation concerning the two countries.”

Chinese diplomats in Australia have issued statements suggesting that, to set items correct, Australia should really indication up to Beijing’s $1.5 trillion Belt and Highway infrastructure initiative and start out a “new route of co-procedure.” A person could picture a upcoming with Chinese navy bases at the Port of Darwin and in other places alongside the Australian coastline.

China of system wishes Canada to interpret all this as an affirmation of the appeasement coverage that Ottawa carries on to adopt in the experience of horrendous hostage diplomacy and of Beijing’s arbitrary termination of Canadian agricultural import contracts that we have observed over the previous two decades.

These who have urged that we deal with the panda kindly, lest he present his claws and draw blood with his fangs, will urge that Canada continue ignoring the strong tips of Commons committees to aid endangered Hong Kong democracy activists or to sanction Chinese officials complicit in the Uighur genocide. That viewpoint indicates it would be greatest that Canada merely danger our alliance with the U.S. by releasing Meng Wanzhou, approving Huawei 5G and proceed to allow for PRC acquisition of Canadian dual-use systems.

Whilst Australia has strongly supported Canada around Kovrig and Spavor, it is unlikely that Ottawa will dare to stand with Australia in the facial area of Chinese bullying, further than our usual thoroughly worded “expression of issue.” But Australia’s relations with China currently are pretty much absolutely Canada’s tomorrow. As the RUSI report notes, citing the ex-Australian PM and China scholar Kevin Rudd, “the Chinese Communist Bash despises and will take gain of weak spot, even though it respects toughness.”

Is Canada superior off offering into Chinese disdain, or need to we do the appropriate factor and standing up to China’s bullying violations of the norms of worldwide diplomacy and trade? It is substantial time our federal government gave Canadians a clear and unambiguous respond to.



Charles Burton is a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa, and non-resident senior fellow of the European Values Center for Safety Coverage in Prague. He is a previous professor of political science at Brock College, and served as a diplomat at Canada’s embassy in Beijing.