China mocks Aussie ‘double standard’


China’s daily, state-run tabloid, the Global Times, has lobbed another verbal grenade at Australia, this time mocking the “double standards” of the current Covid-19 lockdown in Sydney.

In an article published yesterday, the communist mouthpiece – widely considered the unofficial voice of Beijing’s more aggressive views – wrote of the supposed criticism the Federal Government and the Australian media has directed at “China’s effective response to control the disease”.

Author Lu Xue cites an ABC piece from last April that described human rights advocates’ alarm at the Chinese government’s efforts to track its citizens, and comments by Foreign Minister Marise Payne, who said last June that “some countries are using the pandemic to undermine liberal democracy to promote their own more authoritarian models”.

“Now, quite ironically, it turns out that Canberra plans to send its military personnel to help enforce social lockdown,” Lu wrote.

Professor and director of the Australian Studies Centre, East China Normal University, Chen Hong, told the publication that the decision to send the ADF to assist in Sydney’s eight highest-risk LGAs “is a typical double standard on the side of Australia”.

“Judging from the desperate situation in Sydney and the military reinforcement, Australia is aware that the right to life is the most important human rights,” he told Lu.

“To help ensure the effectiveness of the lockdown, Australia’s move to send military personnel into Sydney seems draconian among nations.”

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According to Professor Chen, it’s “known to all that Australia’s incessant unwarranted criticism of China in terms of freedom and human rights is not about human rights at all”.

“For a time, the Morrison administration has made use of every opportunity to smear and demonise China by politicising issues such as lockdowns, QR code inspection, mass vaccination and other measures adopted in China’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.

“Australia has manipulated the definitions of democracy, freedom and human rights as a political weapon to discredit China. The Canberra government has been handling such concepts arbitrarily to serve their ulterior motives. Their goal is crystal clear that is to attack China.”

In typical fashion from a publication that once called Australia the “gum on China’s shoe”, Lu’s article ended with a threat: “The rapid spread of the Delta variant is complicating global attempts to stem the spread of the virus, and it is high time for global co-operation. Co-ordinating the US government’s anti-China strategy by badmouthing China will do no good to Australia.”

However predictable, China and the Global Times aren’t the only ones to raise their eyebrows at Australia’s response to the pandemic over the past few months.

At the end of June, media outlets from the US to Greece questioned how Australia, considered a global success story in its handling of the virus last year, is now so far behind the rest of the world – all holding our bungled vaccine rollout responsible.

“If you woke up in Australia today, you’d be forgiven for being confused about vaccinations. There’s been a slow rollout, the lack of supply, and vaccine hesitancy. Now, add mixed messaging from the leadership to this list and you’ve got a perfect storm,” the BBC reported at the time.

“Australia remains in an enviable position globally, with an overall low number of Covid-19 cases and deaths. But the next few weeks will be crucial – with the country’s Covid success now hanging in the balance.”

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Bloomberg said that Australia’s “Covid zero” strategy was quickly becoming “Covid limbo” amid the vaccine uptake, while CNN reported that Aussies were “getting weary of these sporadic disruptions to their lives”.

“Australians, who basked in their early successes, are wondering how much longer this can go on,” CNN reported.

“Australia was celebrated for its initial response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and for getting its economy more or less back on track long ago.

“But with that security has come complacency, particularly in the federal government, which failed to secure enough vaccine doses to prevent the regular ‘circuit breaker’ lockdowns that come every time a handful of cases emerge, or even the longer restrictions that Sydney is experiencing now.”

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