Rethinking our Approach to China By James Reed
Our noble director sent me the link to the article that I want to tell you about today, but included a note which I found profound, and thought-provoking, so let me quote what Ken said: “Australians are known for their weakness when trade deals are done. You can imagine China declining to buy, for instance, our beef, because we have done something not within their approval. It could be un-related like killing kangaroos etc. BUT we would never use our commodities sold to China as a bargaining point over, say their illegal South-China sea activity. Underneath most problems we find the lack of adequate finance to over-ride most decisions. We tolerate any negative things like mines threatening underground water, as long as the mine delivers something to export for more dollars!!” And that is so true, indicating that unless a nation strives for financial and economic self-reliance, it is doomed to dependency and being at the mercy of the rest of the world, which is really just another definition of globalism. Here is an extract by Adam Ni, on the challenges of China:
“The truth is, for too long, Australian elites have turned a blind eye to the challenges posed by China’s rise. Many of our political, business, and community leaders have developed cozy and profitable relations with the Chinese party-state. For too long, our elites have benefited from China’s economic rise without properly preparing the Australian public for the long-term challenges posed by an increasingly powerful authoritarian Middle Kingdom. There is no doubt that Australia needs to engage China on trade, investment, connectivity, security, and a raft of regional and international issues. But there is an urgent need to rethink our current modus operandi and recalibrate Australia’s approach to China. Of course, this process has been underway for some time. The bipartisan support for foreign interference laws and the decision to exclude Huawei and ZTE from the building of Australia’s 5G network highlight Australian concerns about China’s influence. However, I would argue that a deeper rethink is needed if we are to prepare Australia for a future in our corner of the world with an increasingly powerful China with vastly different political institutions and values.
The rise of China also challenges the international liberal order and international rules and norms that are important to Australian values and interests. Let us be honest: Australia is a relatively small power on the international stage. We depend on international rules and norms to restrain and shape the behavior of bigger powers; we depend on these rules for stability and predictability in the behavior of other states. However, China is a serious challenger to the current international liberal order with its increasingly illiberal values and practices, both internally and externally. Until quite recently, many leaders in liberal democracies thought that China was going to change in a liberal direction with more freedoms for its citizens. However, no one seriously thinks that is the case anymore. Under Xi Jinping, China has embraced some elements of its Maoist past, with an emphasis on social control, political orthodoxy, and supremacy of the Party over all else. New technology, such as facial recognition, AI, and big data has given the party-state immensely powerful tools to monitor and control China’s citizens. Moreover, the room for public debate and expression has shrunk, with netizens, academics, and journalists increasingly fearful of stepping over the Party’s “red line.”
Instead of giving more freedom to its citizens, the Chinese party-state has sought to influence and guide every aspect of Chinese lives, including their political beliefs, personal identities, consumption patterns, and religious practices. China under Xi has gone backward in protecting the human rights and dignity of its people, while at the same time becoming a leading economic, military, and technological power. The China Dream, then, is not a dream of dignity for individuals, but a dream of a stable, powerful, and proud state. In this dream, it is not wrong for individuals to be trampled by the glorious and ever-forward marching of the party-state. Today, there is an urgent need to recognize that China seeks to change the current international order — to turn it from a liberal order into an illiberal order, and to make it safe for its authoritarian rulers. However, there is no viable way of dealing with China that does not involve a heavy element of engagement. How should Australians respond to China’s challenges? I would be lying if I said to you that I have the answer, but some thoughts come to mind.
First, there is a need to sustain a robust and informed debate on Australia’s relations with China. The debate needs to go beyond the elite circle of Canberra or the ivory towers of Australian universities, and include a wide range of voices, including the voices of Australia’s Chinese communities. These communities are often on the forefront of China’s political activities in Australia, both legitimate as well as these efforts that we in the liberal society may deem unacceptable. In this national debate, we need to be mindful of not separating people into black and white camps. We need to approach this debate with respect and goodwill, including for points of views that we do not agree with. From Bob Carr to Clive Hamilton, and all voices in between these two, they all have a place in this debate. We are all in this together. Second, the Australian government needs to be willing to call China out when it behaves in a way that is detrimental to Australian values and interests. There is no need for megaphone diplomacy, but we do need clear, consistent, and firm articulation of Australian views, including views that Beijing may not like. Standing up for Australian values, such as respect for human rights and international law, is not costless. Beijing has some economic leverages to punish Australia. But these decisions, as tough as they are sometimes, tell the world who we are as a people and as a nation.”
This is a good article to get the ball rolling and light years ahead of the pathetic “Asianisation” ideology of the 1990s by Academics obsessed with eliminating Anglo-Australia. The issue raised here is that China is set to overturn the liberal order, and that includes political ideology. It means that Australia will be transformed into something that it now is not. That was the goal of multiculturalism, but now it is going to come to its logical conclusion. After all, with mass immigration, Australia is set to look like the Sydney CBD in maybe between 10 to 20 years. There was an attempt made to prevent this and to save traditional Australia, but the sheeple were too dumb, deracinated and apathetic to make a stand. The local elites did what they are programmed to do as meat machines, and that is to maximise profits by selling us out, to hell with tomorrow. As hard as it is, and despite the need to keep talking in the dark to scare of the bogey man, Australia is already disappearing, and that includes the multicultural society that so many academics made careers out of promoting. Australia will morph into a more homogeneous Chinese society in the later parts of the 21st century, and that is just how things go when civilisations collapse. Witness the fall of ancient Rome, and the transformation of its people.
However, while I am not environmentalist by any stretch, my guess is that the combined forces of massive population increase in Africa, with mass migration, and the expansion of production and consumption in China, India, Brazil, and whoever else joins the club, will finish off the “environment” despite all the rhetoric from our Greens. The coming crash will be something no-one has yet anticipated. It will be final.
Authorised by K. W. Grundy
13 Carsten Court, Happy Valley, SA.