‘Beijing is livid’ over ‘racist’ criticism from Australia

Newsletter

The latest in the growing Australian backlash to Chinese influence:

  • Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull made the unusual move of speaking mandarin and quoting Mao Zedong (though the quote itself is somewhat apocryphal) to get across his point that the Australian people will “stand up” against Chinese influence, the Guardian reports.
  • On December 11, the People’s Daily published a commentary (in Chinese) accusing Australian media of “hysterical paranoia” with “racist undertones.”
  • Reuters Beijing reporter Christian Shepherd tweeted that “I suspect this will escalate fast. Several well-placed people in recent days have told me, without prompting, that Beijing is livid.”
  • Turnbull called it “absolutely outrageous” that he or his government was anti-Chinese, the Australian ABC reported, and he alluded to his own daughter-in-law’s Chinese heritage as proof: “the proposition that someone whose granddaughter calls him Ye Ye [爷爷; paternal grandfather] is anti-Chinese is absurd.”

But it’s not just Australia that is seeing growing fear of Chinese influence:

  • Josh Rogin reports in the Washington Post that “China’s foreign influence operations are causing alarm in Washington.”
  • The Financial Times reports (paywall) that the New Zealand government is paying close attention and raising caution, as briefs prepared for the Prime Minister and security agencies head publicly advocated for “a wider dialogue with the public” about Chinese influence.