After India, China’s relationship with another country deteriorated as Xi Jinping’s Chinese Communist Party continued its expansionist aspirations. China’s relationship with Australia is currently at a minimum.
The relationship between the two countries took a turn for the worse when a Chinese government spokesman posted on Twitter a publicized image of an Australian soldier holding a knife to the neck of an Afghan child. The tweet was accompanied by the legend that Australia should be ashamed of the alleged actions of its soldiers.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison responded to the tweet within hours and called on the Chinese government to immediately apologize for the tweet, which he described as “repulsive”. Even France has criticized the Chinese government’s tweet, saying it is motivated by prejudice.
But the Chinese government did not back down and continued to criticize Australia for treating “goodwill with evil.” Such a series of back and forth actions have been described by the Chinese media as the lowest point in the relationship between the two countries.
Australian lawmakers have long focused on China’s aggressive foreign policy and its rapid military modernization. These fears came to an end in 2017, when Australia banned foreign political donations after receiving disturbing reports of Chinese attempts to influence and disrupt Australia’s political process.
Following this incident, Australia also became the first country to ban Chinese technology giant Huawei from installing its 5G network in the country after it was discovered that the technology giant had installed backdoors in the network that would allow the Chinese company and government to have access. to staff and private user data.
This ban on Huawei was followed by the suspension of at least ten suspicious Chinese investment agreements in several sectors in Australia. Recently, the Australian government called for an independent investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 virus, which first appeared in Wuhan.
China has responded to Australia’s actions by trying to use its economic power to force it to return. China has restricted imports of Australian beef as well as charging heavy tariffs for the Australian barely. Even Australian wine has been severely affected by Chinese tariffs, and the Chinese government is expected to block other imports of sugar, lobster, coal and copper.
In this ongoing dispute between Australia and China, the Chinese government has desperately tried to change the narrative to its advantage. According to a report by the Sydney Morning Herald, China secretly controls several popular Chinese-language press sources in Australia. The report also added that the federal government had been provided with evidence by the top Australian intelligence agency, which claims that control over Chinese media sources is part of China’s foreign intervention and influence operations aimed at promoting the interests of China. China’s strategic goals.
Information provided to the Australian federal government also showed that several WeChat news sites in Australia were controlled, censored and even operated directly by the CCP. After Chinese spokesman Zhao Lijian posted the publicized image on Twitter, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison even went to WeChat to criticize the tweet as a false image and praise the Chinese community in Australia, but according to a Reuters report , the Australian Prime Minister’s message on WeChat has been blocked by China.
Chinese attempts to change guilt and change narratives to fit their own political agenda are nothing new. Beijing has also been trying for months to change the narrative about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese government’s mishandling and deliberate attempts to hide critical information about it that led to the spread of the virus throughout the world. globe.
According to reports, the United States on December 2 said that the special session of the United Nations General Assembly on the COVID-19 outbreak on December 3 was just a step for China to keep its propaganda and remove its guilt. by itself. The United States added that the special session was “pre-designed” to serve China’s purposes. The fact that questions during this session at the UN will be limited gives credibility to US accusations that the session is only meant to spread Chinese propaganda.
Continuing the dispute between Australia and China over the doctoral image of the Australian soldier, the voice of the China Global Times rejected the criticism of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, claiming that he had acted “radically”. The Global Times report went so far as to insult the Australian prime minister, saying he had an “unhealthy mentality”.
One of China’s most widely used tools of rhetoric is to deflect any criticism or blame on it, accusing its opponents of having a “cold war mentality.” When Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei was criticized, Chinese prosecutors proclaimed that they had fallen victim to “high-tech McCarthyism” (McCarthyism is another term for the Cold War mentality).
The American exercise of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea was described by Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to the United Kingdom, as “rowing diplomacy motivated by a Cold War mentality.” China’s abysmal human rights record is being challenged by the CCP, who said China has once again fallen victim to this biased form of thinking.
In a recent book, “The Hidden Hand: How the Chinese Communist Party Remodels the World,” by Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohiberg, he outlined the CCP’s mode of operation and nuanced tactics for its influence operations in Australia. The authors argue that China’s use of the “Cold War mentality” as a means of defense is truly ironic, because the CCP’s leadership itself is strongly influenced by a Cold War mentality.
Such thinking has reached new heights under the Xi Jinping regime. Under him, the CCP categorically rejected the concepts of constitutional democracy and universal human rights. Not only that, but the CCP has also begun attempts to eradicate the ideas it believes would threaten its power.
The authors empirically argue that China now follows a philosophy often attributed to Joseph Stalin – we would not let our enemies have weapons, why should we let them have ideas? Anne-Marie Brady in her book “Marketing Dictatorship: Propaganda and Thought in Contemporary China” showed that the CCP began to massively expand its propaganda and ideology after the massive protests of Tiananmen Square students, which were brutally suppressed. through violence and the fall of the Berlin Wall that triggered the decline of the Soviet bloc. These two major shocks forced the CCP to focus on the concept of “ideological security” as an integral and indispensable part of the regime’s security.
The United Front Department of Labor (UFWD) has rapidly expanded its influence in Australia through undercover operations in academia, the media and Australian civil society. Australian organizations such as the “Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China” have faced adverse reactions in the country to conduct covert operations for China.
It was also revealed that UFWD has recently begun to exploit and use social media influences, independent professionals – especially lawyers, managers in foreign-funded enterprises, overseas Chinese and young Chinese studying abroad, in addition to a long list of groups and communities. It has also managed to successfully marginalize sensitive issues such as Taiwan among certain Australian communities.
In recent years, China has also made serious attempts to enter the global media landscape. The CCP wants to use the media as another strategy to remove international discourse from narratives that are not flattering or critical to the CCP and China. In 2016, Xi Jinping gave a speech in which he stressed the need for an “iconic media with strong international influence”. Some estimates state that China has spent more than $ 10 billion a year trying to create a flagship media, as predicted by China.
While blatant Chinese propaganda and heavy plays can often be ignored by the profane, there are many subtle elements of the CCP’s strategy to control global discourse. Chinese outlets have a major advantage, have the financial support of the Chinese state or through state powers, on the other hand, the Western media face severe financial constraints. Throughout the year, the Chinese media, with the help of Western Media specialists, expanded massively, but managed to become even more cunning in terms of content for foreign audiences.
China’s continued spitting with Australia over alleged abuses is China’s double standard in terms of human rights protection. China routinely rejects the concept of human rights and even subjects its own people, such as ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, to serious injustices, such as arbitrary detention and forced mass sterilization.
Despite its sad history of human rights, China continues to criticize other nations and try to change the narrative in its favor. One of the three main pillars of the CCP’s iron grip on China is propaganda. This tool is not only used against its own people, but is often exported through various means to the outside world, as the narrative benefits the Chinese government.