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    ‘Their eyes will be poked and blinded’: China makes extraordinary threat to Australia over Hong Kong as it gears up to target our human rights record – after issuing a list of 14 ‘grievances’

    • Other countries ‘should accept’ that Hong Kong has been returned to China
    • China will not be intimidated by intelligence partnership known as the Five Eyes
    • Follows China’s list of 14 grievances, highlighting ‘toxic’ relations with Australia 

    China has issued an extraordinary threat to Australia over its Hong Kong policy, stating it is time to ‘accept the reality’ that the former British colony has been returned to the communist nation.

    Zhao Lijian, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, responded to a statement on Hong Kong issued by the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, who have united for an intelligence partnership known as the Five Eyes.

    ‘No matter if they have five eyes or 10 eyes, if they dare harm China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, they should beware of their eyes being poked and blinded,’ Mr Lijian said.

    China has told Australia to ‘accept the reality’ that the former British colony Hong Kong (pictured above) has been returned to the communist nation

    The future of Hong Kong is in China's hands, according to foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian

    The future of Hong Kong is in China’s hands, according to foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian (pictured above) has warned Australia not to harm China's sovereignty, security and development interests

    Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian (pictured above) has warned Australia not to harm China’s sovereignty, security and development interests

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) this week stated 'Australia would never compromise its national interests or hand over its laws to another country'

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) this week stated ‘Australia would never compromise its national interests or hand over its laws to another country’

    The foreign ministers of the five nations this week stated that a new Chinese government resolution that led to the disqualification of four pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong appears to be ‘part of a concerted campaign to silence all critical voices.’

    The joint statement also called the resolution a ‘breach of China’s international obligations’ as well as ‘its commitment to grant Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy and freedom of speech.’

    Mr Lijian also said Hong Kong is an ‘inalienable part of China’ and that public officials must ‘be loyal to the motherland.’

    It comes amid reports China’s foreign ministry is preparing to attack Australia’s human rights record, including the treatment of Indigenous Australians.

    An embassy official told The Age China would work with NGOs to try and reveal indiscretions made by Australia against Ingineous people and those in aged care.

    The official said: ‘Why keep silent?’   

    On Wednesday, China released an official list of grievances it has with Australia.

    At the top of the 14-strong list was Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, as well as the decision to ban Huawei from the rollout of the 5G network and blocking multiple foreign investment deals.

    China’s list of 14 grievances

    1. ‘Incessant wanton interference in China’s Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan affairs’

    2. ‘Siding with the US’ anti-China campaign and spreading misinformation’

    3. ‘Thinly veiled allegations against China on cyber attacks without any evidence’

    4.  ‘An unfriendly or antagonistic report on China by media’

    5. Providing funding to ‘anti-China think tank for spreading untrue reports’ 

    6. ‘Foreign interference legislation’

    7. ‘Foreign investment decisions’

    8. ‘Banning Huawei technologies and ZTE from the 5G network’

    9. ‘Politicisation and stigmatisation of the normal exchanges and co-orperation between China and Australia’

    10. Making statements ‘on the South China Sea to the United Nations’

    11. ‘Outrageous condemnation of the governing party of China by MPs and racist attacks against Chinese or Asian people’ 

    12. ‘The early drawn search and reckless seizure of Chinese journalists’ homes and properties’  

    13. Calls for an independent inquiry into COVID-19

    14. ‘Legislation to scrutinise agreements with a foreign government’ 

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    The grievances could threaten up to $20billion in trade between the two nations.

    Mr Morrison said Australia would never compromise its national interests or hand over its laws to another country.

    ‘We make our laws and our rules and pursue our relationships in our interests and we stand up with other countries, whether it be on human rights issues or things that are occurring around the world, including in China,’ he said.

    Relations between the two nations are deteriorating rapidly. 

    On November 3, Chinese customs put the pinch on a shipment of Australian lobsters and coal, wine and timber will soon follow.

    The authoritarian regime is continuing to target Australian exports as tensions between Beijing and Canberra worsen in the wake of the  pandemic.

    All Chinese companies have been informally instructed by the Communist Party to stop buying Australian barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper from Friday.

    All Chinese companies have been informally instructed by the Communist Party to stop buying Australian barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper (pictured, an employee stacks Australian made wine on shelves in Beijing)

    All Chinese companies have been informally instructed by the Communist Party to stop buying Australian barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper (pictured, an employee stacks Australian made wine on shelves in Beijing)

    That means any of these products that arrive after Friday will not be cleared by customs, as China looks to turn the screws on Australia’s largest export market, worth over $150billion export.

     Since April, China has already slapped an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley, suspended beef and cotton imports, and told students and tourists not to travel Down Under.

    Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said China was discriminating against Australian exports and breaching the 2015 free trade agreement between the nations. 

    In August Beijing accused Australian exporters of selling wine in China at an artificially low price to stamp out competition and increase market share, a practice known as ‘dumping’.

    The dumping allegations came after Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye made economic threats against Australian back in May.

    ‘It is up to the people to decide. Maybe the ordinary people will say why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?’ he told AFR.

    Following the economic threats, Australia’s barley industry was hit with crippling tariffs and arbitrary bans were also placed on the country’s four largest beef producers. 

    How China’s feud with Australia has escalated 

    2019: Australian intelligence services conclude that China was responsible for a cyber-attack on Australia’s parliament and three largest political parties in the run-up to a May election.

    April 2020: Australian PM Scott Morrison begins canvassing his fellow world leaders for an inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Britain and France are initially reluctant but more than 100 countries eventually back an investigation. 

    April 15: Morrison is one of the few leaders to voice sympathy with Donald Trump’s criticisms of the World Health Organization, which the US president accuses of bias towards China. 

    April 21: China’s embassy accuses Australian foreign minister Peter Dutton of ‘ignorance and bigotry’ and ‘parroting what those Americans have asserted’ after he called for China to be more transparent about the outbreak.  

    April 23: Australia’s agriculture minister David Littleproud calls for G20 nations to campaign against the ‘wet markets’ which are common in China and linked to the earliest coronavirus cases.  

    April 26: Chinese ambassador Cheng Jingye hints at a boycott of Australian wine and beef and says tourists and students might avoid Australia ‘while it’s not so friendly to China’. Canberra dismisses the threat and warns Beijing against ‘economic coercion’. 

    May 11: China suspends beef imports from four of Australia’s largest meat processors. These account for more than a third of Australia’s $1.1billion beef exports to China. 

    May 18: The World Health Organization backs a partial investigation into the pandemic, but China says it is a ‘joke’ for Australia to claim credit. The same day, China imposes an 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley. Australia says it may challenge this at the WTO. 

    May 21: China announces new rules for iron ore imports which could allow Australian imports – usually worth $41billion per year – to be singled out for extra bureaucratic checks. 

    June 5: Beijing warns tourists against travelling to Australia, alleging racism and violence against the Chinese in connection with Covid-19.  

    June 9: China’s Ministry of Education warns students to think carefully about studying in Australia, similarly citing alleged racist incidents.   

    June 19: Australia says it is under cyber-attack from a foreign state which government sources say is believed to be China. The attack has been targeting industry, schools, hospitals and government officials, Morrison says.

    July 9: Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong and offers to extend the visas of 10,000 Hong Kongers who are already in Australia over China’s national security law which effectively bans protest.

    August 18: China launches 12-month anti-dumping investigation into wines imported from Australia in a major threat to the $6billion industry. 

    August 26: Prime Minster Scott Morrison announces he will legislate to stop states and territories signing deals with foreign powers that go against Australia’s foreign policy. Analysts said it is aimed at China

    October 13: Trade Minister Simon Birmingham says he’s investigating reports that Chinese customs officials have informally told state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop Aussie coal, leaving it in ships off-shore.

    November 2: Agriculture Minister David Littleproud reveals China is holding up Aussie lobster imports by checking them for minerals.

    November 3: Barley, sugar, red wine, logs, coal, lobster and copper will be banned from Friday.

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