News and Commentary

China Threatens Australia If It Pushes For Investigation Over Coronavirus, Report Says
VIENNA, AUSTRIA - MARCH 3: Iran's ambassador Reza Najafi (R) speaks to Chinas Ambassador to the IAEA Jingye Cheng (L) before the IAEA board of governors meeting at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, on March 3, 2014.
Ali Haydar Yurtsever/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has reportedly threatened Australia over its push for an investigation into China’s handling of the coronavirus.

“Ambassador Cheng Jingye on Monday said the push was ‘dangerous’ and could encourage Chinese citizens to not purchase Australian exports or travel to the nation,” Sky News Australia reported. “The government however is not backing down from the call for an independent inquiry, with Foreign Minister Marise Payne criticizing the threat of an economic hit due to the push.”

Sky News Australia reporter Tom Connell said that Australian politicians were united in their push for a “global independent” investigation into the coronavirus, which originated in China.

“China’s response, of course, has been to push back and the stakes did increase today from the Chinese ambassador in this interview with the Australian Financial Review,” Connell said.

In the interview, Chinese Ambassador to Australia Cheng Jingye admitted that China’s response to the pandemic has not been “perfect.”

On the matter of Australia siding with the U.S. on wanting an investigation into China, Cheng said, “It’s a kind of pandering to the assertions that are made by some forces in Washington. Over a certain period of time, some guys are attempting to blame China for their problems and deflect the attention.”

“So what is being done by the Australia side?” Cheng continued. “The proposition is a kind of teaming up with those forces in Washington and to launch a kind of political campaign against China.”

“The Chinese public is frustrated, dismayed and disappointed with what Australia is doing now,” Cheng continued. “I think in the long term… if the mood is going from bad to worse, people would think ‘Why should we go to such a country that is not so friendly to China?’ The tourists may have second thoughts.

“The parents of the students would also think whether this place which they found is not so friendly, even hostile, whether this is the best place to send their kids here,” Cheng continued. “It is up to the people to decide. Maybe the ordinary people will say ‘Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?'”

China has aggressively sought to squash criticism of its handling of the outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, and had success against weak European leaders that cowered to China’s demands. The New York Times reported last week:

Bowing to heavy pressure from Beijing, European Union officials softened their criticism of China this week in a report documenting how governments push disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic, according to documents, emails and interviews.

Worried about the repercussions, European officials first delayed and then rewrote the document in ways that diluted the focus on China, a vital trading partner — taking a very different approach than the confrontational stance adopted by the Trump administration.

The Daily Wire reported on Sunday, “China has falsely claimed that the coronavirus came from the United States Army; tried to cover it up by silencing doctors and journalists who were trying to warn the world; told the world that there was not evidence the coronavirus could be transmitted person to person when they knew for a fact that it could; intentionally lied about how bad the outbreak was and tried to cover up deaths; and is allegedly continuing to withhold critical information about the outbreak.”


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