COVID-19: China / Australia relationship

I’m starting to think that Scomo’s handling of the China relationship during corona will be his downfall before the next election.
Emotions are running high and people might want china investigated now, but any anger will run out of steam when unemployment and the economy doesn’t recover due to the breakdown of our relationship with China.

Its very easy to support perusing our national principals at all costs when it is someone else’s industry/job that is being sacrificed.

I think it is a matter of days before a shock jock suggests that we should have just turned a blind eye and bent over for China. and that now is the time to put our economy and jobs first. Australia has turned a blind eye to much worse things, with less at stake, in the past.

I’m not impressed with Simon Burmingham doing media all day saying “China isn’t returning my calls, i dont know why, it doesn’t make any sense, its not smart for them”. Clearly this is all one big strategic power trip for China, making us grovel to them. Seems like Birmingham is serving us up on a platter in any future negotiation. Making a fool of himself.


I’m at two minds about this issue. Firstly, I think an inquiry is probably the best option for everyone (China included). Since the virus was first known in the country it would be best to know what caused it to spread so rapidly so that if something like this happens in the future, we will know how to prevent it and it would provide goods to all countries including China themselves. I don’t know what politics have anything to do with it but it is an important lesson for everyone to learn.

But Australia needs to also be careful, since China’s retaliation of tariffs is a very realistic threat to the economy and even though it’s likely to be temporary, the retaliation may lead to long-term effects economically, politically and socially. It would be very sad to see China and Australia get on bad terms just because of the implications of pushing an inquiry into the virus, so it is also in Australia’s interest to try and protect the relationship, but at the same time continuing to support investigating the origins of the virus for the greater good of the world (and not for political reasons).

As someone who has lived in both countries and is of Asian-Australian heritage, I honestly hope for something closer to a mutual cooperation between China and the West with regards to the coronavirus rather than a political pissing match between each other which will do no good for any stakeholders involved. I love both countries and I would hate to see something ugly transpire as a result of this diplomatic conflict.


Very well put @MrJ & @Tom_TV7

It’s interesting that Australia seems to be the leader in advocating for an international inquiry of COVID-19. Australia rarely finds itself in this position. Usually we back and support a larger nation or organisation, not assume the role of leading at the forefront. Interesting times indeed.

I dont think anyone would disagree that some kind of international inquiry into coronavirus is just common sense. But there is a certain way that it could be handled focusing on the science, research and academia with the aim to learn from it and be better prepared for future pandemics. Scomo’s approach to make it targeted at the origin (China) was what ensured it quickly turned into a political blame game, and us biting the hand that feeds us.

Perhaps Scott Morrison should’ve referred it to the virus itself rather than the origin, for example independent inquiry into investigating the actual origin of the virus without specifically referring to China.

I don’t know if he could’ve communicated it better (though to be fair, he’s not like Trump and Pompeo who just lambasts China without even considering investigating using evidence and research).

I was thinking that investigating the way it spread so effectively throughout the world should be within the scope of the inquiry. Which would likely mean the USA would be included in the investigation.
We are investigating the ruby princess which at one point accounted for 10% of all cases in the country, imported cases from overseas were over 70% at the same time, America being the largest proportion. China has a history of being sensitive to these things, it should not have been a surprise to anyone that they feel targeted but the way our PM has approached this.

Every other country happy to sacrifice some short term political capital to take a back seat here. They have their eyes on the longer term benefits of building a good relationship with China as part of their economic recovery.
While Australia takes the front seat for the short term political win, sacrificing the long term diplomatic & economic relationships.

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I think we need to reduce our ties with China over the long term.

Yes, they’re a cash cow. Yes, we might take a hit to the economy. We might have to pay more for consumer goods sourced from other countries.

But I think the extent of Chinese Communist Party political interference and influence over our country has reached unacceptable levels, and they are a truly awful organisation. Look at what they’ve done to Hong Kong. Luckily for them the pandemic ended any meaningful momentum those protests had, so they’re going ahead with steamrolling any hope of democracy for them.

The pandemic showed they were willing to cover up for the sake of saving face, and even now I’m utterly unconvinced that their reported COVID-19 cases and deaths are legitimate.


I am of Chinese-Australian heritage but I wholly agree with mubd with this one. Chinese Communist Party has been a truly awful organisation actually since it beat Kuomintang in the civil war back in 1949 to gain control of the mainland. Its image improved somehow after its leader Deng Xiaoping opened the country to foreign investment in 1978, but took a battering after the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. It wasn’t until the past 20 years when China was admitted into World Trade Organisation and Xi Jinping became leader that the country became more powerful (and more arrogant in the process).

I think the COVID-19 outbreak well and truly shows the real image of CCP for the whole world to see.

P.S. my father is pro-Communist and he and I often argue on issues involving CCP and democracy in Hong Kong. I think the only way for the arguments to stop is when CCP loses power and China becomes a pro-Western democracy.
P.P.S. the Liberal Party under Robert Menzies initially was against Australia forming diplomatic relations with communist China (otherwise there would not be the failed 1951 referendum on banning Communism in the country). It wasn’t until Labor won the 1972 federal election and Gough Whitlam became PM, that the two countries formed diplomatic relations. That relations continued even after Whitlam was dismissed in November 1975 and Malcolm Fraser formed a Coalition government.


for sure. the end of the mining boom should have been enough of a wake up call. We should have spent the last decade undergoing an orderly and gradual diversification to spread the risk and reliance. It could have been done on our terms.

This way, a rapid cut off from China, during a period where every country is the world is competing for scarce growth opportunities, with China ahead of everyone dictating the state of play. its not going to end well for Australia.

Think it’s fair to say that when one describes China, we should separate the CCP and the Chinese People/culture/society. People with Chinese heritage (like you and me) are great people with good common intentions, it’s those higher up that created shitstorms that was The Great Leap Forward, Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen Square Massacre. I think it’s quite important that people should not target Chinese people just because of their government and brand them as ‘Chinese nationalists’.

I don’t support communism but at the same time I would want to see my home countries prosper and become successful (just like anyone else) and I hate to see the people being made scapegoats because of all this.

On this topic, sooner than later Australia will have to stand up on its own politically and economically, which is the best outcome for this country. I just hope that whatever happens in the future, Australia will still have cultural and meaningful exchanges and relationships with China and that Australian people and Chinese people will continue to get along well with each other. Of course, I also hope that diplomatically there will be some resolution between the two countries and that both countries will get along and cooperate well in the future.


I agree with pretty much everything you’re saying, especially this point:

…because as we’ve seen recently, even places like the United Kingdom & United States (probably the main two countries Australia has historically looked towards as examples of how we should do things in many respects) aren’t without their problems.

Other than New Zealand, there aren’t too many countries in the world who are in a better position than Australia is right now - re, the pandemic response. That’s certainly not to say there haven’t been areas where Australia could’ve done better, because there have been several.

However, I’m reasonably confident that Australia can return to something vaguely resembling normality (even if it takes three months, six months, a year or longer) before a lot of other places in the world do. For better or worse, post-pandemic normality won’t be the same as pre-pandemic normality. But if we can pull off a decent economic recovery on the other side of this crisis - and I believe we have the potential to if we play our cards right - that would be something all Australians can be proud of.

You could probably replace the words China/Chinese with almost any group of nationality that has migrated to Australia, but the sentiment would be much the same.

Great to see China co-sponsor the inquiry. This is the best thing for China as well. Hopefully this helps our relationship with them.


Exactly. This is not a political matter (and shouldn’t be), but rather a global health matter where an inquiry is the best for everyone including China. Good to see them finally being involved.

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“We slap massive anti-dumping duties on steel and aluminium. (China imposing 80% tariff on Australian barley is) retaliation for that,” says Stephen Kirchner, the program director of trade at the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre.

Thats a big part of the discussion, yes we are one of the best performing countries against the virus. but it isn’t the virus that does the economic damage, it is the restrictions. And Australia’s long lasting and risk averse approach will mean our economy will be impacted just as much as countries that have been worst hit by the virus. The USA has less restrictions than us at the moment despite having the worlds most cases and deaths by far.

Couple that with the diplomatic damage that has been done, there is every chance Australia will come out of this being one of the best performing against the virus, but the worst hit economically.

China imposed the tariffs after signing onto the inquiry, the matter is far from over.

Sounds like retaliation for being pressured to

Though I stress once again that the inquiry shouldn’t be considered a political matter.

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Most in the trade community say this was something that was coming long ago and this runs much deeper than retaliation. Although it is convenient it happened straight after this.

Seems like this was from an investigation way back in 2018

It shouldn’t be but it is and will continue to be.

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