Flat White

Xi Jinping seeks to control Australia’s future

3 March 2022

3:00 PM

3 March 2022

3:00 PM

The current tragedy unfolding in Ukraine is a lesson to the West; history does repeat itself and we should take the lessons it teaches to heart. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was a lesson learned from Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia and, more recently, China’s invasion of Tibet and its armed intervention in Hong Kong.

The lesson learned by dictators and strongmen since before the Romans is to invade, suppress all opposition, and replace the previous heads of government with compliant puppets. China’s puppet mouthpiece, Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam, is straight out of the history textbook.

Perhaps President Xi’s government has already chosen its puppet front men and women for control of Australia, as no doubt President Putin has already picked his choice for the Russian mouthpiece of a subdued Ukraine.

The Chinese are watching the unfolding of the invasion in Ukraine very closely, to be used as a template for the invasion of Taiwan. Without a doubt, they also have their eyes on compliant, China-friendly Australians, in the make and mould of Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam.

Lam’s regime faithfully carried out orders. A young man called Tong Ying-kit was the first in Hong Kong to be charged with violating the new security laws, allegedly for riding his motorbike into a policeman while carrying a flag called for ‘liberation’ – thus inciting secession and terrorism.

To her credit, shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong spoke out against China’s support of Russia – alone among nations – insisting that China should take no comfort in the lessons of the invasion of Ukraine and that the Opposition would follow a bipartisan policy with the government.

Wang Xining, China’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Canberra who addressed the National Press Club last year, opened his address with a flourish and a flamboyant hand-kiss delivered to Press Club Chair, the ABC’s Laura Tingle. He, and others like him, could be the ones chosen to determine Australia’s future if we are weak and foolish enough to allow this to take place.

The Guardian’s Katherine Murphy, non-recipient of a hand-kiss (she wasn’t seated close enough to the podium), was impressed enough by Mr Wang’s puckish demeanour to term his speech ‘nuanced’ – which probably meant she didn’t realise (as a couple of Chinese-speakers seated discreetly at far tables did), that Mr Wang’s speech was as nuanced as a Chinese-made tank. Despite his references to Shakespeare and unhappy marriages, it gave plain warning that if Australia continued with its recalcitrance, punishment would follow.

One is reminded of the ancient warning from Chinese emperors, ‘hear and obey’ delivered during the time when the Chinese imperial was waning. The threat was mostly a formality, but that was before the still-searing insult of the ‘One Hundred Years of Humiliation’ was delivered to China by the West, and the revolution that was the catalyst from which modern China emerged.

Mr Wang and his colleagues in Canberra (there are more Chinese diplomats employed there than at other missions in Canberra) are the eyes and ears of China in Australia. All members of diplomatic missions, including Australia’s, report back on the countries to which they are assigned. It’s their job. Few diplomats do so with the purpose of detecting present or future weaknesses in the host country that may later be exploited later.

The least nuanced note in Mr Wang’s speech was the flat refusal to give any ground to any fault on the part of his government. He was signalling, unequivocally, that under the current regime China would never, now or in the future, admit any wrongdoing, any breaches of human rights, or any barriers to free passage in contested waters because to do so would be a diplomatic loss of face. That is the Chinese method – deny anything that impacts unfavourably and shrug off any accusation of error.

Let’s just hope it’s not too late for us to pick up our diplomatic game. Or we might, ourselves, be facing ‘One Hundred Years of Humiliation’.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Show comments