The relationship between Australia and China has turned sour in recent weeks as Canberra finds itself stuck in a dispute between China and the United States.
The ties between Canberra and Beijing hit a new low on Friday after China warned its citizens from visiting Australia due to what it says is a spike in racism during the coronavirus pandemic.
On Friday, the Chinese Ministry of Tourism and Culture issued a statement warning its citizens not to travel to Australia due to a “significant increase” in racism against Chinese and Asian people.
According to Global Times, there has been an uptick in attacks against Chinese and Asian people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australian media outlets have repeatedly reported stories of Chinese-Australian or Asian-Australian people experiencing increased racist attacks across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, and the current Australian laws are not enough to protect the victims.
GT did not mince words at it continued to attack Australia. The tabloid alleged that politicians in Australia were blind to racism because of political motives.
It said that the relationship between Canberra and Beijing has turned sour because Australian politicians have always readily launched attacks against China even when they know clearly that their assertions are unjustified because they are too easily swayed by US political attitude and too eager to win US favours.
The state-run GT also accused Australia of showing antipathy to China by pushing for a US-led inquiry into COVID-19, interference in the Hong Kong affair and the upcoming overhaul of its foreign investment rules that are expected to tighten scrutiny over foreign investment.
The editorial concluded by urging Australian politicians to take concrete actions to improve spiralling Australia-China relations and warned that the tourism loss maybe just a tip of the iceberg in its loss of Chinese interest.
Australia Responds To China
The announcement by China was quickly rebuffed by Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham who labelled China’s warning against its citizens visiting Australia “unhelpful”. Birmingham accepted that racist attacks have increased but rejected the idea of Australia being unsafe for foreign tourists.
“Australia’s a country where our leaders and our communities condemn racism and where we have very clear processes in place if violent attacks occur for people to report them,” Senator Birmingham said.
As reported by EurAsian Times earlier, the Kangaroos have faced severe backlash from the red dragon for ‘anti-China’ actions.
In retaliation to Canberra’s attempt to launch an investigation into the origins of COVID-19, Beijing blocked beef imports from four abattoirs, imposed new customs requirements on Australia’s iron ore and slapped an 80 per cent tariff on Australia’s barley exports.
According to data from Tourism Research Australia, Chinese mainland travellers went up 1.2 per cent year-on-year to 1.3 million in the year ended September 2019, with their expenditures up 6.8 per cent to A$12.3 billion ($8.28 billion), representing over 27 per cent of all spending by foreign travellers during the period.
A sour relationship with China is detrimental not only to the Australian tourism industry but also the economy in general. Two weeks ago Beijing warned Australia of grave economic consequences if it does not distance itself from Washington in the ongoing US-China scuffle.