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Why are Australian officials hinting at war with China?



On April 25, the symbolic date of Anzac Day, when Australia honors its war dead, newly appointed Secretary of Defense Peter Dutton said the conflict with China over Taiwan should not be “rejected,” adding that Australians should be “realistic.” in terms of tensions around the region.
In another message for Anzac Day, a senior official in Australia’s powerful Home Affairs Department, Mike Petzullo, told his staff that “free nations” were once again hearing the beating of the “drums of war.”
A few days later, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced $ 580 million in military improvements. One week later, several newspapers published a confidential briefing by Australian Major General Adam Findley on Special Forces troops, in which he said the conflict with China was “likely”.
The idea of ​​Australia waging war against China on its own is ridiculous. Last year, Australia’s military spending was about $ 27 billion, according to the International Peace Research Institute in Stockholm. The Chinese is estimated to be 10 times higher for the same period, at about $ 252 billion, the second highest in the world.

In addition, China is a nuclear power. Australia is not like that.

China-Australia relations are in trouble.

Relations between Canberra and Beijing have been deeply frozen for almost a year since Morrison and his government infuriated their Chinese counterparts by publicly calling for an investigation into the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, Australian exports to China – including coal, wheat and wine – have faced crippling obstacles.

The Australian government has taken action to crack down on Beijing on human rights abuses in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijiang has joined a chorus of state media, highlighting Australia’s poor performance in the man on refugees and Indigenous Australians

But much of Australia’s war-like rhetoric is actually driven by domestic politics, said Yun Jiang, editor-in-chief at the Australian National University’s Center for China Worldwide. The Morrison government is under pressure for allegations that it misplaced the Covid-19 vaccine and may try to shift the focus.

“Focusing on an external enemy is usually quite effective in uniting public sentiment and uniting around the government,” she said. “I think it is irresponsible for the government to discuss it that. War is a very serious business. “

However, the Australian government’s remarks may reflect real concerns about the possibility of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, a conflict that could eventually affect the entire Asian region and even the United States. But that appalling prospect, Yun said, is probably why other U.S. allies in Beijing’s immediate sphere of influence, such as South Korea and Japan, are not repeating Canberra’s aggressive language.

China can’t stop talking about Bill and Melinda Gates’ divorce

The divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates sparked a wave in China, where the co-founder of Microsoft achieved a level of fame unlike almost any other Western entrepreneur.

The hashtag “Divorce of Bill Gates” generated over 810 million views and 65,000 discussion posts on the Chinese platform Weibo, similar to Twitter Weibo – far exceeding 91 million views accumulated when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos divorced MacKenzie Scott in 2019.

Chinese Weibo users are worried about everything from how the couple will share their huge fortune to whether the divorce will affect Microsoft or their foundation. Through its philanthropic organization, the couple has spent $ 53.8 billion on global health, poverty reduction and other initiatives. (Bill Gates is worth about $ 146 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, and the couple has pledged to donate most of their wealth to charity.)

Even prominent technical figures in China joined the conversation: Kai-fu Lee, the former head of Google China who helped create Microsoft Research Lab Asia, a highly influential network in China, said he found it hard to believe the news. Bill and Melinda are “the most affectionate couple I’ve ever seen among famous entrepreneurs,” he said in a Weibo post.

The intense interest may in part be an unintended result of Microsoft’s Chinese strategy. While Bill Gates no longer runs Microsoft, the company has spent decades building goodwill with Beijing. Its products have a significant presence in China, although other Western technology companies are blocked. And that probably contributed to Bill Gates’ personal equality – he now has more than 4.1 million followers on Weibo, outnumbering 1.7 million Tesla CEO Elon Musk and 1.4 million Apple boss Tim Cook.

“From Laura He.”

Around Asia

  • An Indian court has compared the deaths of patients with Covid-19 due to oxygen deficiency to “genocide”.
  • The Pentagon is tracking a Chinese rocket set to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere this weekend.
  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reportedly told his cabinet that only he could swear in public after a minister told China to “get the fuck out” of Philippine waters.
  • New Zealand lawmakers will discuss human rights abuses in Xinjiang on Wednesday, but should avoid the word “genocide” at the insistence of the ruling Labor Party, the opposition party said.
  • In China, meanwhile, the number of women who say they regret marriage has more than doubled since 2012, according to a new government survey.

The deal between the EU and China on the brink of a razor

When the European Union and China signed a preliminary investment agreement in December, after years of negotiations and last-minute lobbying efforts by Washington, it looked like a diplomatic coup for Beijing.

But the devil is in the details, especially when these details have to be ratified by the European Parliament.

This would always be the most difficult trade deal, with many leading lawmakers vehemently criticizing China’s human rights archives and the alleged precautions against forced labor embedded in the agreement.

After the EU joined the United States and the United Kingdom in sanctioning Chinese officials for abuses in Xinjiang, Beijing responded by doing the same for 10 European politicians, prompting immediate calls to end the trade deal.
“The Chinese regime is committing a crime against humanity. EU sanctions target criminals and entities responsible for systemic atrocities against Uighurs. In response, Chinese countermeasures are a direct attack on our democratic institutions,” MEP Rafael Glucksman said in a statement last month.
On Tuesday, the deal seems to be shaken: AFP, the French agency, quoted Valdis Dombrovskis, executive vice president of the European Commission, as saying “the environment is not conducive to ratification of the agreement”.
In a statement, a Commission spokesman appeared to step back, but acknowledged that the ratification process “cannot be separated from the evolving dynamics of wider EU-China relations”.

Photo of the day

Return to form: Acrobats perform at the May Day festive show on May 3, 2021 at a mall on the outskirts of Beijing, China. The country’s economy is once again showing signs of growth, as the coronavirus is largely under control.


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