Hillary Clinton criticises Australia’s dependence on China; gives us the rap across the knuckles we deserve

[From our foreign affairs section]

It has taken the former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to do what many Australian policy makers, think tanks, and media commentators have so far failed to do – criticise Australia’s growing reliance on, and cosiness with China.

Back in April, a 630-strong trade mission of Australia’s political and business elites, had toured through several Chinese cities, being wined and dined by their Chinese government hosts. On being informed of this, Mrs Clinton was disapproving.

“Well that is a mistake. It’s a mistake whether you’re a country, or a company or an individual to put, as we say in the vernacular, all your eggs in the one basket.

“Just as it was a mistake for Europe to become so dependent on a single supplier. Starting in March 2009, I made that case to the Europeans, that they were increasingly dependent on gas from Russia. They’d already had two experiences, in 2006 and 2009, where for their own purposes, Russia cut off the gas, actually causing people to freeze to death – in Poland and elsewhere.”

She warned that Australia’s growing reliance on Chinese trade “makes you dependent, to an extent that can undermine your freedom of movement and your sovereignty, economic and political.”

Whilst Clinton and the Americans may have their own agenda in making such warnings, she is essentially correct. With China’s massive appetite for Australia’s natural resources, trade between the two countries now amounts to more than 35% of Australia’s foreign trade.

Furthermore, the Chinese have been permitted to buy significant Australian assets, such as farms, cattle stations, considerable mining assets, ports, and of course real estate assets in the form of new homes. By contrast, the Chinese are not keen on allowing foreigners to buy their assets. And of course, many Chinese corporations are still majority government-owned.

The Chinese have been buying as many Australian assets as they can, and they aren’t satisfied. They want more. Whilst our government negotiates a Free Trade Deal with China, it’s well-known that the Chinese are putting on the pressure so that they will be allowed to own even more Australian assets. They are also very keen for our government to accept more Chinese into Australia as “guest workers”.

Education services also represent a significant part of Australia-China trade. Many sons and daughters of China’s wealthy elite, are now being educated in Australia. They now number 150,000; the single biggest source of foreign students studying in Australia’s universities. And with the Liberal-National government keen to deregulate Australia’s education sector, it will likely mean our universities will be servicing even more Chinese, whilst ordinary not-so-well-off Australians may struggle to afford the increased fees.

And then there’s the immigration situation. The Chinese (along with Indians) are now Australia’s biggest source of immigrants, with around 25,000 of them permitted into Australia last year. And this undoubtedly suits China’s regime, knowing full well that having a sizeable Chinese ethnic population in Australia, with perhaps many of them holding influential positions in commerce, may just work very well to China’s advantage in the longer term. And having so many Chinese in Australia, certainly makes it easier for the Chinese to spy on us.

But despite this, the Liberal, National, Labor, and Greens parties all seem very keen to turn Australia into something resembling AusChindiastan. So eager to please the Chinese, our leaders have also now committed Australia to holding annual leadership talks with China’s leaders.

Australia is even selling the Chinese uranium, which can be used to make nuclear bombs. And whilst our politicians have been assured that Australian uranium won’t be used for bomb-making, they seem satisfied to pretend that our supplying China with uranium won’t make it easy for them to divert other uranium sources for that sinister purpose.

When it comes to global commerce, Australia has been acting like an economic whore. We will seemingly sell anything to anyone. Our leaders seem to think almost any Chinese investment is good investment, and that any Chinese trade is good trade. And that we must have economic growth at seemingly any cost!

For our leaders, commentators, and think tanks to have put such faith in China would seem to display a worrying naivety about both the nature and the history of the Chinese. Perhaps they have overlooked that China has had authoritarian rulers for 2500 years. Perhaps they have overlooked that it was just a few short decades ago that the Chinese killed tens of millions of their own people in their Cultural Revolution.

Perhaps they have overlooked that many significant China analysts have warned that China has every intention of becoming the most powerful nation on earth, and that the supremacist Chinese in fact, see this as their birthright. Perhaps they have overlooked the rapid build-up and modernisation of China’s military. Perhaps they have overlooked China’s long-held tensions with her Asian neighbours, her sabre-rattling, and her territorial demands.

Perhaps they have overlooked China’s contempt for liberal Western values like democracy, free speech, freedom of religion, and human rights. Perhaps they have overlooked the Chinese regime’s systematic persecution of ethnic and religious minorities within China’s borders.

Perhaps they have overlooked the rampant corruption in China, that is believed to have actually grown, not shrunk as a result of market liberalisation there. Or that corruption of various forms has been rife in Chinese society for thousands of years. According to China specialist Minxin Pei “failure to contain widespread corruption is among the most serious threats to China’s future economic and political stability”. Bribery, kickbacks, theft, and misspending of public funds costs at least three percent of GDP.

Significant China analysts have warned that China’s young generation are being conditioned by their education system into supporting a brand of Chinese supremacism and ultra-nationalism, that is inherently anti-Western. Some analysts also warn that the very disproportionate male-to-female ratio in Chinese society (a product of their One Child Policy and easy access to abortion, including many forced), could lead to China becoming an increasingly miltarised and aggressive country in the future. This could also mean the increased prevalence of secret societies and gangs, and prostitution and trafficking in women and children. These national effects, may in turn, have regional and international repercussions.

Given all of the above factors, how can it possibly be wise for Australia to “put all our eggs in the one basket”, and become such a willing, reliant, dependent partner to China? Hillary Clinton’s warning is a warning that Australia would be wise to heed.

Hillary Clinton criticises Australia for two-timing America with China”, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 June 2014 (Paul McGeough)
Indigenous pastoral stations join forces, look to China to revive industry”, Lateline (ABC), 6 June 2014 (Ginny Stein)
Hastings, China Merchants snap up Port of Newcastle”, The Australian, 30 April 2014 (Bridget Carter)
China ‘builds spy network in Australian universities’”, SBS, 21 April 2014
China is setting up covert spy networks in US and Australian universities”, Quartz, 22 April 2014 (Gwynn Guilford)
Australia locks in annual leadership talks with China”, ABC News, 10 April 2013 (Stephen McDonell and Naomi Woodley)
1000 Chinese spies here, says diplomat”, The Age, 5 June 2005 (Frank Walker and Kerry-Anne Walsh)
Defector claims to be China’s spy master”, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June 2005
Why the world is more dangerous with fewer girls”, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 January 2013 (V. Rukmini Rao and Lynette Dumble)
The security risks of China’s abnormal demographics”, The Washington Post, 30 April 2014 (Andrea den Boer and Valerie M. Hudson)
CPPCC’s new leader rejects Western political systems, champions consultative democracy”, Want China Times, 12 March 2013
Corruption in China”, Wikipedia
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Labor pushes for $1bn China takeover deal threshold”, The Australian, 3 July 2014 (Sid Maher)
Don’t be misled on Chinese foreign investment: read the facts”, The Conversation, 10 April 2014 (Hans Hendrischke and Wei Li)
Door ajar for China state enterprises”, Quality Livestock, 11 April 2014 (Phillip Coorey and Lisa Murray)
Free Trade Agreement: China wants to send workers into Australia”, Sydney Morning Herald, 15 April 2014
Fees deregulation: universities ask Abbott government to delay start date”, The Guardian, 21 May 2014 (Daniel Hurst)
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  1. USA beware of being short sighted. China is now improving and strengthening their relations and trade with their Russian neighbors at the future loss of several trade partners. Your foolish imposed sanctions against Russia will eventually result in a negative impact; positively not in your favor., Economic trade is the main pillar to maintain a healthy economy with China being the vortex of growth and development. Treat China with respect and they will be a great trade partner dis regardless their traditional astute business principals.

  2. Old Presbyterian saying “NEVER A BORROWER OR LENDER BE”.

  3. A good start would be to stop selling Australian assets to overseas companies or foreign governments especially China.
    Increasingly China butts into Australian foreign affairs. examples are the Dalai Lama visiting or American warships or trade missions. Just mention Taiwan and China goes ballistic. China loves to interfere in our affairs and the more reliant and dependent our economy draws to them the more influence they will exert.
    We should be drawing closer to nations of our own culture and start to gravitate away from China and Asia altogether.

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