A US hidden hand beats drums of war crazily to reverse thaw in China-Australia ties
Published: Mar 08, 2023 08:34 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Australian media is bombarding the public with misleading information by hyping up an imaginary war with China, as if a storm is about to come imminently.

On Tuesday, two mainstream Australian media outlets, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, published a special report "Red Alert," claiming that five "national security experts" assembled by the two outlets "conclude the overwhelming source of danger to Australia is from China - and we're not prepared for it." Former Australian prime minister Paul Keating called the story "the most egregious and provocative news presentation of any newspaper I have witnessed in over 50 years of active public life."

This ongoing wave of war propaganda started from ABC's program, themed, "What would war with China look like for Australia?" and Sky News Australia's special episode, "Are We Ready for War?" Now, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, two of the biggest news outlets under Nine Entertainment Co, pushed the momentum to a new level. 

This is quite unusual. We are witnessing concerted efforts of Australian media, which are forming a misjudgment of China in the public opinion field throughout Australia, via disinformation campaign, Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told Global Times. 

To do that, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have gone the extra mile. They have adopted the same front-page picture, showing 13 aircraft flying from China, which was marked in red with the Chinese flag. The whole background is also filled with red color. Quite apparently, they want to portray China's image as an "invader." Yet if putting the five experts under magnifying glass, one would easily find out, they are either funded by the US, or have close ties to US military-industrial complex.

The so-called experts are: Peter Jennings, senior fellow of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), former deputy secretary for strategy in the Australian Defence Department; Lavina Lee, a senior lecturer at Macquarie University, Sydney, ASPI council member and adjunct fellow with Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); Lesley Seebeck, an honorary professor at the Australian National University, and a regular ASPI contributor; Mick Ryan, a retired major general in the Australian Army, an adjunct fellow at CSIS; and Australia's former chief scientist Alan Finkel. 

If asked, who is behind the hype? The answer is simply too obvious, since both ASPI and CSIS are funded by US government agencies and the military-industrial complex. 

It means the Australian media shamelessly strip off the cloak of media independence. Instead of thinking about how to appeal for peace, they are willingly turning themselves into US' anti-China tool, and are always prepared to beat the drums of war. "Through the latest report, Australian media have simply and rudely enveloped the Australian public with a sense of crisis, hinting that Australia is facing an immediate threat of conflict with China," Chen said. 

Yet a bit earlier than that, experts have just sensed a change. They found that the current Australian administration does not want to abandon the Chinese market, as they wish to boost their country's economy and improve people's living standards. In fact, China-Australia relations are, to some extent, improving. Take trade issues. The two have started to resolve the previous puzzles through negotiation, rather than in a politicized manner. Even before Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's current trip to India, he said he would also visit China if invited. "I think it's been a good thing that the relationship has got more stable… We want a more stable, secure region," he said, according to media reports on Tuesday. 

Unfortunately, that is not what the US pleases to see or allow. The US wants to reverse the trend. It wants Australia to be its own stronghold in a future possible war with China, and hopes there is no going back for China-Australian ties. If hyping up the "China threat" through Rupert Murdoch's media is not enough, the anti-China propaganda must continue on other media outlets with analysis from CSIS and ASPI. 

The economic situation has been hardly satisfying in Australia in recent years, and many institutions have relied on US funds to survive. If the Labor Party leader wants to improve relations with China, the US would simply bribe Australian lawmakers or buy over major media outlets to pressure the government, Yu Lei, a chief research fellow at the Research Center for Pacific Island Countries of Liaocheng University, told the Global Times. 

Australia screams about not allowing China to penetrate into the country all day long, but seems voluntarily to be penetrated thoroughly by the US. Put political circle and media aside, more fields can be named. 

During the Global Times' Global Minds Roundtable discussion on China-Australia Relations on Monday, two former Australian diplomats agreed that the whole of the north of Australia is being militarized by the US at an exponential speed. And "what's happening now inside the Australian military is they have psychologically and mentally handed over to the US," former Australian diplomat Bruce Haigh said during the discussion. 

They also agreed that the US is supporting Australia in a possible future war with China. This is exactly what Washington is doing in Ukraine. The US is pursuing its own win-win scenario -  debilitating China while avoiding any damage to the US itself, said John Lander, former deputy ambassador to China. 

The real threat confronting Australia is not China, but the US, which not only takes Australia as a front-line base, but also constantly pushes it toward wars. Australians do not need war; they need to sharpen their eyes.