China’s grievances, for anyone to read

A few weeks ago, the Chinese embassy leaked a list of grievances against the Australian government to the Nine Newspapers. I’ve seen lots of references to items in the list, but searching for the whole thing produces very little. It turns out that Nine published an image of the list, but did not convert it into text, and no other media organization appears to have bothered to do so. In the interests of producing an accessible document, I spent the five minutes required to do this.

Here’s the list

— foreign investment decisions, with acquisitions blocked on opaque national security grounds in contravention of ChAFTA/since 2018, more than 10 Chinese investment projects have been rejected by Australia citing ambiguous and unfounded “national security concerns” and putting restrictions in areas like infrastructure, agriculture and animal husbandry.

— the decision banning Huawei Technologies and ZTE from the 5G network, over unfounded national security concerns, doing the bidding of the US by lobbying other countries

— foreign interference legislation, viewed as targeting China and in the ‘ absence of any evidence.

— politicization and stigmatization of the normal exchanges and cooperation between China and Australia and creating barriers and imposing restrictions, including the revoke of visas for Chinese scholars.

— call for an international independent inquiry into the COVID-19 virus, acted as a political manipulation echoing the US attack on China

— the incessant wanton interference in China’s Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan affairs; spearheading the crusade against China in certain multilateral forums

— the first non littoral country to make a statement on the South China Sea to the United Nations

—siding with the US’ anti-China campaign and spreading disinformation imported from the US around China’s efforts of containing COVID-19.

— the latest legislation to scrutinize agreements with a foreign government targeting towards China and aiming to torpedo the Victorian participation in B&R

— provided funding to anti-China think tank for spreading untrue reports, peddling lies around Xinjiang and so-called China infiltration aimed at manipulating public opinion against China

— the early dawn search and reckless seizure of Chinese jounalists’ homes and properties without any charges and giving any explanations

— thinly veiled allegations against China on cyber attacks without any evidence

—outrageous condemnation of the governing party of China by MPs and racist attacks against Chinese or Asian people.

-an unfriendly or antagonistic report on China by media, poisoning the atmosphere of bilateral relations

38 thoughts on “China’s grievances, for anyone to read

  1. not sure what’s happened but the formatting on this post is a bit off on mobile, lots of additional line breaks?

  2. also seems to be one or two OCR issues

    “ torpedo the Victorian participation in 13&R” I presume is B&R

    maybe another 5 minutes 🙂

  3. Some of these are nonsense, of course, but some are fair points.

    The totally unnecessary and insulting way ScoMo ran Trump’s line on “the China virus”, the criminalisation and selective enforcement against China of quite normal and accepted activities to promote cultural influence, the banning of Huawei on vague and rather unconvincing “national security” grounds and the arbitrary and untransparent way foreign investment proposals are dealt with seem justified grievances. They underline how this government has crudely played to the domestic peanut gallery and the cold war warriors in our most important single bilateral relationship.

  4. They’ve got us on a few there. Of course we can argue about the reason Australia took those positions for some of them but they are all good places to start a discussion, not a war.

  5. I am in Canada not Australia but a fair number of those complaints seem reasonable. Morrison’s demand for a SARS-CoV-2 /Wuhan inquiry had all the hallmarks of a US sponsored witch hunt.

    At least, I don’t think Australia haos not been conned into holding a political prisoner due to US lies.

  6. Let’s try this again
    At least, I don’t think Australia has been conned into holding a political prisoner for extradition due to US lies.

  7. JQ – “…It turns out that Nine published an image of the list, but did not convert it into text, and no other media organization appears to have bothered to do so. In the interests of producing an accessible document, I spent the five minutes required to do this.”

    Prof Quiggin, with respect, that is plainly incorrect. A quick search of Macrobusiness would have shown they were across this (and as could be expected cross about it) from before that particular get go. Further, how is it that your list above is word for word and stylistically identical to that published first on 19th November and subsequently from time to time by Macrobusiness? Macrobusiness, in addition to publishing original content also functions as an aggregator, sifter, and sorter, of material sourced from other news outlets and primary sources. Did they produce the list above? If not them then who first produced this actual list?

    I believe this was the first occurrence of this list at Macrobusiness:

    Beijing finally speaks the truth: It is our “enemy”
    By David Llewellyn-Smith in Australian Politics, China American Cold War
    at 9:00 am on November 19, 2020 | 89 comments

    Australia’s 14 demands for the resumption of ties with China
    By David Llewellyn-Smith in Australian Economy, Australian Politics, China American Cold War
    at 12:02 am on November 20, 2020 | 93 comments

    Of course Australia has chosen the US over China
    By David Llewellyn-Smith in Australian Politics, China American Cold War
    at 10:20 am on November 25, 2020 | 30 comments

    CCP mouthpiece threatens war on Australia
    By David Llewellyn-Smith in China American Cold War
    at 1:16 pm on September 21, 2020 | 52 comments

    Bill Birtles @billbirtles https ://
    The Global Times’ attention-seeking editor Hu Xijin’s message a bit more ‘Red’ on Weibo: “If we have no choice but war, we should first avoid direct conflict with the US. We can (instead) severely beat up a US running dog that always crosses our bottom line… to send a warning.’

    – Birtles’ translation of his underlined portion of the GT published Chinese script.

    Labor demands Australia surrender to China
    By David Llewellyn-Smith in Australian Politics, China American Cold War
    at 9:00 am on December 3, 2020 | 253 comments

    China has declared forever war on Australia
    By David Llewellyn-Smith in Australian Politics, China American Cold War
    at 9:40 am on December 15, 2020 | 62 comments

    CATEGORY – China American Cold War
    16 pages at 30 articles per page plus 1 page at 10 articles =
    450 articles from the first at Macrobusiness so categorised at 9:45 am on October 22, 2018 !!

    (Intro) In mid-2018, the US declared the China American Cold War a go. It comprised a series of ratcheting trade tariffs by the Trump Administration directed at China. these were directed largely at shifting global manufacturing supply chains, especially in technology, away from China. The measures were directed specifically at China’s stated aim of dominating global technology, artificial intelligence and robotics by 2025.

    Other dimensions of the growing Great Power conflict included freedom of navigation through the South China Sea where China had constructed series of far-flung militarised atolls that armed the distant approaches to its mainland and effectively claimed that ocean as sovereign Chinese.

    The Cold War was also concentrated around Chinese ‘sharp power’ which had made significant inroads in influencing policy outcomes within the US alliance network in and around the Asia Pacific via bribes, debt diplomacy and corruption of media.

    The China American Cold War showed all of the characteristics of an historic, ideological struggle between liberal democracy and statist growth that had defined the 20th century battle between the US and the Soviet Union….

    The Macrobusiness reporting record on this as usual has been quite detailed and factual.
    Their editorial slant, polemics, and rhetoric, may at times of course be quite easily taken as optional.

  8. Edit – That should have been 490 to date, and not 450 articles in Macrobusiness’ “CATEGORY – China American Cold War”.

  9. A quick search of Domain (The Age) for the alleged quote ‘If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy’ found the source of the list to be allegedly the PRC Embassy in Canberra, and already rendered in the English text format and it would seem cut from a longer document.

    ‘If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy’: Beijing’s fresh threat to Australia
    By Jonathan Kearsley, Eryk Bagshaw and Anthony Galloway
    November 18, 2020 — 6.10pm

    ,,, “China is angry. If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy,” a Chinese government official said in a briefing with a reporter in Canberra on Tuesday.

    The dossier of 14 disputes was handed over by the Chinese embassy in Canberra to Nine News, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age in a diplomatic play that appears aimed at pressuring the Morrison government to reverse Australia’s position on key policies (…) The list of grievances from the Chinese embassy

  10. “According to Greg Autry, an academic at the University of Southern California, Trump’s China policy was working, pointing to increased revenue intakes by the Treasury Department and offshoring by US manufacturing supply chains from China, and crediting the administration for being the first to fully recognize that globalization hadn’t delivered for Americans and that China was an existential threat”

    I can understand Chinese anger at this scenario, it was US business that beat a path to China and by using cheap Chinese labour, business was made profitable.

    Trump escalated the megaphone diplomacy, blaming China for anything and everything and we need to back away from this style of communication.–United_States_relations#Rapid_deterioration

  11. Last year vocal China critics ,Liberal MP’s ,culture war spear carriers ,and US style freedom advocates James Paterson and Andrew Hastie were denied visas for their planned “study tour” of China. Many here in Australia thought this unfair and a chorus of elevated critical comment from all quarters followed. It may be unfair but not many countries ,even ‘free’ ones , would allow that if they had a choice – it certainly should not have been unexpected. If we cut off from China we will go from having little influence to having none. Morrisons diplomatic style has been dubbed ‘boof-head diplomacy’.

  12. There’s not really fourteen items on that list, it could sensibly be collapsed down by several. And many of those items are supreme arrogance by the CCP, I support the Australian government’s stance on, for exalt, the south China Sea and democracy in HK. The very idea that the CCP would allow Australian technology in its telecommunications infrastructure is laughable. So really all that leaves is the Morrison government’s Trumpish mishandling of the COVID accusations. Which was super dumb and our exporters are paying the price.

  13. (PS I found a number of articles about the list, (on the conversation I think?) not sure why you found it hard to find.)

  14. Looking at the list, this stands out to me as the straw, or rather the hay bale, that broke the camel’s back:

    “(The) call for an international independent inquiry into the COVID-19 virus acted as a political manipulation echoing the US attack on China.”

    My overall feeling is that about half the list has validity, or at least is understandable, from China’s point of view. At the same time, most of Australia’s actions are understandable given the uncertainty about China’s true motives. This dilemma is described by the theory of “offensive realism”.

    Quotes from Wikipedia.

    ” …offensive realism is a structural theory belonging to the neorealist school of thought put forward by political scholar John Mearsheimer in response to defensive realism. Offensive realism holds that the anarchic nature of the international system is responsible for the promotion of aggressive state behavior in international politics. It fundamentally differs from defensive realism by depicting great powers as power-maximizing revisionists privileging buck-passing and self-promotion over balancing strategies in their consistent aim to dominate the international system.”

    “The theory is grounded on five central assumptions similar to the ones that lie at the core of Kenneth Waltz’s defensive neorealism. These are:

    1. Great powers are the main actors in world politics and the international system is anarchical.
    2. All states possess some offensive military capability.
    3. States can never be certain of the intentions of other states.
    4. States have survival as their primary goal.
    5. States are rational actors, capable of coming up with sound strategies that maximize their prospects for survival.”

    “In international relations theory, anarchy is the idea that the world lacks any supreme authority or sovereign. In an anarchic state, there is no hierarchically superior, coercive power that can resolve disputes, enforce law, or order the system of international politics. In international relations, anarchy is widely accepted as the starting point for international relations theory.”

    End of Quotes from Wikipedia.

    This year marks the end of the era of Pax Americana, which ran from 1945 (notwithstanding the Cold War) until 2020. Under the Pax Americana we had our “peace” outside of the Soviet Bloc where Pax Sovietica held sway. The peace in each area was relative and differential. It meant peace for the inhabitants of the great power (other than its soldiers at times) and peace for its compliant allies and satellites. It meant war for declared risks to that peace. The economic systems of the Pax Americana region and the Pax Sovietica region remained in separate circuits under different political economy systems. When the Soviet and its system collapsed, the problem, from the point of view of globalizing capitalism, was integrating the two spheres.

    Matters are different this time. The two new spheres are already integrated, to a very significant degree, in economic terms. As China and the USA become peer competitors, the problem becomes one of deciding on the extent of economic integration. Is it to be kept, reduced or broken up? There is certainly no political sign in the West of wanting more integration from this point forward. China, on its side, wants to draw more countries (as resource/commodity suppliers and markets) into its economic sphere. The Soviet Union’s attempted expansion of influence was ideological (of the political economy kind) before it was economic. China’s attempted expansion is economic before it is ideological. It is of the material base not of the ideological superstructure: hence we see the “Belt and Road” initiative for two-way trade in resources, commodities and goods and not the exports of Little Red Books or their modern equivalents. Propaganda still flows of course from East and West.

    One gets the feeling that the Chinese leadership have understood Marx and subsequent Marxian theory only too well. A central tenet of that theory is arguably that true socialism (whatever that means precisely) can only arise after the globalized dominance of capitalism. Conclusion: China itself must pass through the capitalist stage to true socialism. The strategic corollary of this thesis is that one must fight fire with fire. Fight capitalism with capitalism. China saw what happened to the Soviet Union. Its premature attempt (according to Marxian theory) to force through socialism as communism resulted in an economic contest which the Soviet Union could not win, locked out as they were from something like 80% or more (a guess on my part) of the global economy. Thus the path must be by material base, not by ideological superstructure. And the material base path is capitalist in nature.

    However, as the Chinese are discovering, socially and environmentally, the bargain with capitalism is a Faustian bargain. Progress and prosperity are purchased at the cost of all the ills of capitalism. We can list these ills as increasing anti-social selfishness, a lack of cooperation, corporatism, oligarchy, pollution, climate change, corruption and even sloth and obesity. China now has the highest number of obese people of any country in the world though not yet the highest percentage of obese people.

    The Thucydides Trap “is a term coined by American political scientist Graham T. Allison to describe an apparent tendency towards war when an emerging power threatens to displace an existing great power as the international hegemon.” This trap now emerges as our greatest danger and it is perhaps enforcing a trend towards the disintegration of the global economy into two new “cold war” spheres, both capitalist this time: two new capitalist poles competing for resources from the periphery which is the unavoidably shared periphery of both. Greed for resources and goods will compete with the fear of domination. Greed and fear, two such good advisers… NOT! Meanwhile we hurtle towards runaway climate change. Gee, what could go wrong?

  15. «I am in Canada not Australia but a fair number of those complaints seem reasonable.»

    But completely pointless: Oz, NZ, UK, have chosen without reservations to be in the USA co-prosperity sphere, so the China-mainland government is going nowhere with those complaints.

    «The very idea that the CCP would allow Australian technology in its telecommunications infrastructure is laughable.»

    Ericcson and Nokia sell a lot of telecom infrastructure products in China. If Australian companies are not competitive in advanced telecoms, or don’t bother competing, too bad.

    «I support the Australian government’s stance on, for exalt, the south China Sea»

    The South China Sea issue has been created entirely by the Communist Party of Vietnam trying to turn the South China Sea into a vietnamese possession in order to be able to strangle chinese commerce with south-east Asia, and India and the Persian Gulf. Until the vietnamese communists, obviously with the consent if not the prodding of the USA government, started building bases the chinese government was not that bothered.

    Before the vietnamese communists moved in the chinese government knew full well that the South China Sea was and is actually an american possession and they could do nothing about it, but they can do something about it if the USA sublease it to the vietnamese. If the USA wanted the vietnamese or the chinese out of the islets, they could probably wise those islets off the map in a few hours.

  16. @svante – The first Macrobusiness link is to an image, just like the one published in the Nine papers. The only purpose of the OP was to convert that image to searchable text. You seem to have missed the point completely.

  17. Svante, you may contact Jonathan Kearsley and relay answers from the horses mouth.

    “unprompted” … “there it was” brahahaha! & rofl.

    I want to know how the embassy woman manages to turn up to a ch9 reporter with that list???!!! Msn in oz, polllies, as bad as spies and lobbyists.

    The horse’s mouth…

    ” ‘There it was, China’s list of grievances’: How 9News got the dossier at the heart of the latest diplomatic scuffle between Canberra and Beijing

    By Jonathan Kearsley – 4 weeks ago

    “No reaction, still no name. And I wondered, given the current climate, what his role was. Communist Party official? Spy?

    The bag was placed on the floor.

    After brief pleasantries, I asked one simple question.

    “How does China view the relationship with Australia?”

    “The woman, normally guarded in how she speaks and acts, unzipped her blue purse and took out a piece of paper, folded into quarters.

    “The document had been passed over.

    “The stranger with the bag of books, was still that.

    “I left with my notebook and the document.

    “Australia was about to know what the problem was, and the world was to know how China was now playing a very public game of coercion.”

  18. Another rofl quote “Australia was about to know what the problem was,…”

    Is that singular Australian?
    Just the sheep?
    An Australian?

    The Australian (grrr ch9!)

    Me. Us. Them. Pollies. Diplomats. K Ruddster.

    No. Universally and absolutely ‘Australia’. Ala ‘Exclusive’. Who oays for that? Not me.

  19. Svante, you’re on automoderation from now on. Any further comments on this thread, or attempts to argue back about my decision will lead to a permanent block.

    First and last explanation: You derailed the thread with irrelevant rants, then accused me of lying when I pointed out that you had totally misconstrued the point of the post. You then ignored my request to stop posting. – JQ

  20. Svante

    As I’ve blocked Svante from commenting further on this thread, I request no replies to previous comments

  21. I prefer Wikipedia (which is referenced and subject to review) to Macrobusiness (which is just a front for some financial investment wannabes).

  22. The Weekend Australians main story today features a fine example of racist anti China propaganda art . Reminiscent of anti Nazi WWII posters it’s a large image ,with the most prominent position ,showing an evil looking red dragon monster looming over the world ,wrapping its coils around ,and sinking its claws in while a tiny kangaroo scurries away. It isn’t necessary to read author Paul Kelly s text at all .I am genuinely impressed by these journalists ability to churn out tens of thousands of words per week without touching on so much, they have a talent and earn their money. This newspaper would be viewed by the Chinese as the official Australian government news outlet. A few weeks ago the Guardian reported that Morrison and Frydenberg billed taxpayers to attend a Murdoch Christmas party.

    Open democracy does not necessarily prevail over authoritarianism by osmosis if we just wait long enough, and trying to force democracy on others wont work either. Such regimes are more flexible, adaptable and stable than previously thought, usually enjoying widespread internal support. I think dividing the world in two is a bad idea and is ultimately just another distraction tactic of the type usually resorted to when class and inequality problems call for it .That type of distraction has historical precedent. Control of the worlds financial system is the holy grail – if America loses that it will descend into anarchy making the current mess look calm and prosperous by comparison.

  23. “On Wednesday (Nov. 18, 2020) a Chinese official told the Australian media that “China is angry. If you make China the enemy, China will be the enemy.” The reason for his ire was Canberra signing a new defence pact with Japan. The Chinese mission in Canberra then proceeded to hand out a dossier of 14 “outstanding disputes”, not to the government but to the Australian media, an indication of how steep bilateral ties have nosedived.” StartNewsGlobal – Ashwin Ahmad November 19, 2020.

    This seems to indicate that the signing of that defence pact was also a key issue in China’s perception at that time. The Chinese official’s statement can be construed as “If you don’t always do what China wants you to do then you are our enemy.” To do what China wanted us to do all the time would be to negate our sovereignty and risk our safety. We can’t reasonably be expected to do that but great powers on the rise are not noted for their reasonableness. They are more noted for their application of pressure, force and aggression to achieve their own ends.

    China has crossed a line. Of course, they can do that. That’s what being powerful means. You can cross lines. China is now openly threatening Australia, the entire West and indeed most of the world. Much of this is a reflexive response to the West’s and the Quad’s strategy of containment aimed at China. This is the playing out of “The Tragedy of Great Power Politics” as elucidated by John Mearsheimer and operating according to his descriptive “offensive realism” theory.

    Above, sunshine mentions Nazi Germany. They crossed lines and then emboldened they kept crossing lines until they were gassing Jews and other pogrom targets. China now has its pogrom targets. In the end we will have no choice. Oppose the totalitarians or succumb to them. Succumbing to them is certain slavery or death. Opposing and resisting them has some chance of success, no matter how slight. We must disengage completely from China. It is not acceptable to treat with totalitarian governments in any manner.

    Whataboutery on this issue is the wrong way to see things. We must disengage from all totalitarian nations, albeit there will be tactics and strategies along that path. The world is not neat, nobody is pure and everything cannot happen in an instant. Nevertheless, the most egregious and most menacing must be disengaged from first. The USA has many, many failings and it is still a corporate oligarchy, with soft pretensions to democracy and liberalism, as John Ralston Saul once put it. But the USA has just seen off an attempted fascist totalitarian coup. China failed that test, with the totalitarian and dictatorial coup of supreme leader Xi Jinping when he began an indefinite term in office in March 2018. Purges and pogroms have followed combined with expansionism on multiple fronts. The pattern is clear and must be opposed. It will take a vast and disciplined coalition to even hold totalitarian China at arm’s length. It is not defeat-able in the foreseeable future and hot war is unthinkable. It will be a 50 year holding pattern at least (most likely).

    We must disentangle ourselves from China as much as possible. We can’t treat with them, we can’t deal with them. We have seen that already. Only complete capitulation to all their demands is acceptable to them. There can be no trade, no treaties, no appeasement. Appeasement of totalitarian regimes never works. If history has taught us one lesson it is that.

  24. Iko you might be correct .

    But despotic regimes can and do cooperate, if we will only engage with functional democracies could that bloc win in the long run ? We have been happy to deal with all sorts up to this point and would have to drop contact with Saudi Arabia etc ,and possibly countries such as Israel and some in Europe too. Or we could simply call for allies who would agree that no non-democracy should get too big ?. Or should we just say who wants to join us against China ? and leave it at that ? Would we be blowing the UN up if we did any of this ?

    Also I am not sure what China is demanding of us that would not be possible ?. Do they want to enslave us or even change the currently agreed international rules based system much or at all ? . Apparently our main ally has infringed on agricultural trade agreements more than China who we now seek to take to the international courts. One problem might be that if China follows the recently established precedent for superpower behavior we could randomly get punished badly if they take a disliking to us.

  25. sunshine,

    For sure, the devil is in the detail. Australia will have to diversify away from trade and contacts with China. This will take time to do. But we should not be signing any more deals with China. We should also, at the political level, stop complaining about them not talking to us or picking up the phone. Indeed, we should stop trying to talk to the Chinese at all. Let them come to us to talk if they wish. If they don’t wish to talk, there is nothing we can say or do that will make them.

  26. Oh, and we can’t overlook the fact that Russia has effectively declared cyber war on the USA.

    If Russia is the first to escalate to this level then this is no less than a cyber Pearl Harbor. Of course, we don’t know what the Americans have been doing. Maybe they started it. Who knows? But the cat’s among the pigeons now. The divide now is real, operative and insuperable. The best possibility is that the walls, cyber and real, go up on both sides of the Russia-USA divide. That divide needs to be total as that is actually the best way to avoid the worst possibilities.

  27. Deeply in John Quiggin’s debt again .

    Once more an indie doing the work orgs like the ABC and the Guardian should have been doing.

    I’ve sympathy for most of the Chinese complaints, but that doesn’t make me fool enough not to see that much of it is window dressing as to the two or three nasty involved in FTA type matters.

    As some will recall I have railed for decades that FTA ISD’s are a sinister blight on the functioning of democracy and the rights of communities to defend their amenity against off shore absent landlords and I only wish the same strictures as applied to China would also be applied to the US, Britain, India and such places, whose huge TNC’s expect to much into other peoples countries like the Germans into the Rhineland in 1936.

    Is there anything more detestable than militant neoliberalism?

  28. Sorry for typos- topic irritates for me the hypocrisy and double standards always in play. Meant “march” not “much”…doh. Also after” nasty” comes “demands”, previous para.

    What a shame Morrison couldn’t have kept his fat trap shut instead of playing to the gallery though.

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