Now more than ever it is important that Australians understand the diverse perspectives within the Australian Chinese community. ‘Views in Chinese’ translates key articles from a range of Chinese-language media outlets in Australia on issues regarding the Australia-China relationship, and noteworthy articles about the People’s Republic of China (PRC). These are not the views of China Matters. Until January 2018, ‘What does China say about…’ pointed out articles from the PRC’s state media and sources close to the PRC in both Chinese and English to draw attention to PRC positions on a range of issues.

WHAT DOES CHINA SAY ABOUT...

This article published in the People’s Daily (人民日报) reported that the U.S Warship USS Hopper was recently confronted by the PLA Navy as it conducted a freedom of navigation operation in the waters near Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal). The writer warns that repeated interference in the South China Sea by the U.S will lead to increased enforcement and construction of the PRC’s capabilities in the region.

“The PRC has undisputable sovereignty over Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal) and its surrounding waters. The related acts by the U.S warship damage the PRC’s sovereignty and security interests, pose a serious threat to the safety of Chinese vessels and personnel engaged in normal business operations in these areas, violate the basic norms of international relations and runs counter to the steady development of relations between the two countries and their respective militaries.”

“In the context of current stability in the South China Sea, the U.S vessel’s foolish and ignorant actions have made it clear to the world just who exactly wants to see the South China Sea remain stable, and just who is the biggest factor pushing for the “militarisation” of the South China Sea. Currently, the PRC has established a consultation mechanism with the Philippines, and is actively discussing further maritime cooperation. This year, the maritime cooperation between China and ASEAN are expected to further expand. Just as Singapore’s Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen emphasised last October, China has already agreed with ASEAN members to hold the first joint maritime exercise in 2018. In this scene of peace and cooperation, for U.S warships to run amok and pick quarrels really is to ‘run up against a wall before turning back’.”

“A year and a half ago, when the situation in the South China Sea seemed more troubling, China did not have the slightest withdrawal or hesitation, today there is even less possibility that it will waver in its strategic focus. If the relevant party once more stirs up trouble in the region and causes tensions, it will only lead the PRC to conclude that in order to effectively safeguard peace in the South China Sea, it must strengthen and speed up the building of its capabilities in the South China Sea.”

Read the original commentary in Chinese: 破坏南海稳定是不识时务的妄动 [Undermining stability in the South China Sea is an ignorant and reckless action]

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This commentary posted on Australian Chinese-language news website 澳洲新闻网 (www.1688.com.au) discusses recent moves to promote military cooperation between Australia and Japan. The author argues that this cooperation aims to contain the PRC, and is therefore not conducive to regional stability.

“Australian Prime Minister Turnbull started his visit to Japan on January 18. According to reports by Japanese media earlier, this shows that the negotiation on the “military visit agreement” (Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement) between Japan and Australia will soon be completed and the cooperation between the two countries in the military field will be smoothed out even more. Japanese media coverage is worth pondering, especially the word “more” which is profoundly meaningful. In fact, under the Indo-Pacific strategy that has emerged as a replacement for the traditional “Asia-Pacific” strategy, the exchanges and cooperation between Japan and Australia in the military field have been quite frequent in recent years.”

“Since the purpose of military cooperation between Japan and Australia is to maintain regional peace, such cooperation should not be aimed at a third country so as to eliminate external doubts and truly help the peaceful development of the Asia-Pacific region. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. When Japan began promoting military cooperation with Australia in 2013, it repeatedly mentioned the issue of China in the South China Sea and the development of China’s maritime industry, and this posture has continued to this day. Japan’s Asahi Shimbun also pointed out in its article on 1 November 2017, that Japan, India and Australia should cooperate using the Japan-U.S. Alliance as a basis, with the focus on containing China.”

“China does not intend to interfere in the diplomatic and military policies of other sovereign countries, including Japan and Australia. However, if the military cooperation between Japan and Australia is based on the premise of setting a particular country as a hypothetical enemy, such cooperation will not help peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan in particular emphasises on one hand that amendment of the constitution does not mean that a war is to be waged, on the other hand, it constantly acts as a “one-stop-shop for one set of activities”. Such an act can only further deepen the doubts that neighbouring countries have about Japan and question whether or not it has sincerely reflected on the historical lessons of the war of aggression.”

Read the original commentary in Chinese: 针对中国的日澳军事合作无益地区稳定 [Japan-Australia military cooperation against China is not conducive to regional stability]

[Note on source: Daily Chinese Herald was established in 1987, and was initially operated by a non-PRC owner who then sold the business to PRC migrant operations. It started operation under its current title in 1998, and is now part of the Chinese Newspaper Group, which is owned by migrants from the PRC. The Group has nine publications in various parts of Australia, as well as online news (www.1688.com.au) and property websites. The current editor-in-chief of paper is Huang Fengyu, a native of Taiwan who was educated in the United States. (Taken from Professor Wanning Sun’s 2016 ACRI report, ‘Chinese-language Media in Australia: Developments, Challenges and Opportunities’)]

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This editorial published in the Global Times (环球时报) comments on French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to the PRC. It presents the China-France relationship as a catalyst to furthering and promoting economic cooperation between the PRC and the European Union.

The author asserts that China-France cooperation should be based on “what can be achieved”, not “how it should be”. One area of cooperation is over Frances’ high-tech industry.

The article argues that developed countries are protective of their high-tech capabilities, and that their unwillingness to export these technologies has impeded the scale of economic and trade cooperation with the PRC.

The article urges France to become a pioneer by opening up their attractive areas of trade to the PRC. The writer believes that Western countries must “untie the knot” in order to increase their initiative and reverse the trade imbalance with the PRC.

The article concludes, that if France can take the lead in understanding and embracing core Chinese beliefs such as “win-win cooperation” and the “community of common destiny”, then “it will surely surpass the entire Western world”.

Read the original editorial in Chinese: 加强中法合作,法国大有可为 [France has bright prospects in strengthening China-France cooperation].

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This article published by Xinhua News Agency discusses the statements made by an Australian official on the PRC’s aid to Pacific island countries. During a regular press conference, PRC Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang rebuffed claims that the PRC’s aid to island nations increased their financial burden.

“There is a problem with the mentality of the people making these remarks” said Lu. During the press conference, Lu stated that the PRC has provided assistance to island countries to promote economic and social development without any political interference.

The article highlights the successful completion of two projects supported by the PRC Government in Fiji. Lu added that the completion of Stinson Bridge and Waitu Waka Bridge will greatly improve local transportation and increase the quality of life.

The writer further suggests that these two projects are a part of many grants provided to the Pacific island countries by the PRC government. The writer believes that these projects are widely welcomed by local governments and its citizens.

Read the original article in Chinese: ‘外交部评澳官员言论:心态有问题’ (Foreign ministry discusses Australian Officials’ comments: There is a problem with that mentality)

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In this interview with Xinhua News Agency, Jan Adams, Australia’s ambassador to China, discusses the progress of bilateral relationships between China and Australia. Since 1972, diplomatic relations between the two countries have fostered “huge progress in the field of people-to-people exchanges”, said Ambassador Adams.

In particular, the ambassador focused on the importance of education as a facilitator of understanding between the two countries. Students from China form the largest proportion of overseas students in Australia. Ambassador Adams highlights the importance of these students in making “a huge contribution to China-Australia bilateral links”.

The growing number of Chinese students in Australia could create “a lot of understanding between the two countries” Ambassador Adams added. Besides the access to a world-class education, the ambassador cites Australia’s multicultural society, China-friendly environment, and close geographical location as major factors in attracting Chinese students.

[This article has since been removed from Xinhua as of 22/12/17].

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This Xinhua News Agency report highlights the continued success of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), two years since the agreement entered into force on 20 December 2015. The removal of tariffs has strengthened trade and ChAFTA is “continuing to deliver great benefits to both nations” according to Trade Minister Steven Ciobo.

The positive results from the agreement will see further tariff reductions, with the fourth round of ChAFTA tariff cuts coming into effect on 1 January 2018. The agreement ultimately seeks to continue tariff cuts “each year for Australia until they reach zero”.

Furthermore, the article suggests that not only will this benefit and boost Australian exporters and suppliers, it will improve the bilateral relationship. The author writes “further improving these elements of ChAFTA will benefit Australia and China and reflect the growing importance of services to both economies”.

Read the article: China-Australia FTA continues to benefit both: official

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The backlash from the PRC media over Australia’s new foreign interference laws has continued following remarks from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull that sharply rejected Beijing’s retort. This article by the Global Times warns that the shift in Australia’s political attitude will be detrimental to PRC enterprises operating in Australia.

It projects the legislation as a precursor for deteriorating business conditions and urges PRC companies to ‘enhance their competitive competence’ and ‘prepare for possible changes in policy’.

The commentary warns of the reciprocal detriment of diminishing PRC business in Australia by reiterating Australia’s ‘dependence on economic and trade cooperation with China’.

Focusing specifically on the tourism sector, the piece states that many Chinese people would choose not to travel to Australia because of concerns they ‘may not be welcomed or get good service in the country’. Although it predicts these issues will not come to fruition for some time, it cites evidence of growing skepticism.

Read the original article: Firms warned over Australia tension

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This article published by the People’s Daily (人民日报) reinforces the PRC’s determination to build on cultural differences to achieve prosperity as a ‘community of common destiny’.

The article argues that many people believe that ‘when it comes to relations between states, interests are eternal, while friendship is only temporary’. However, at a deeper level, this can be seen as an opportunity to work beyond our differences to achieve prosperity. The article emphasises that ‘the path is still long to complete the great task of establishing a community of common destiny for all mankind’.

The author argues that a central part of the PRC’s vision is to develop and expand regional relationships to promote growth and economic prosperity. The article notes that Beijing has taken the initiative to construct regional infrastructure through the Belt and Road Initiative in order to foster linkages that extend across the world.

The article further emphasises the necessity for regional and international collaboration to enjoy peace, prosperity and growth as citizens of the world.

Read the original article: ‘路要去走才能开辟通途’ (Only the path we must tread can open up thoroughfares)

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Jackson Kwok examines how the PRC’s state-owned media reacted to Australia’s latest foreign policy white paper.

Read ‘What Does China Say About the Foreign Policy White Paper?

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This editorial published by the People’s Daily (人民日报) blames the Australian media and government for the declining state of the Australia-China relationship. It is published under the pen name ‘Zhong Sheng’ (钟声), a homophone for ‘Voice of China’ used to articulate the state media’s position on foreign policy issues.

The article accuses the Australian media of ‘maliciously slandering Chinese students, overseas Chinese, and ethnic-Chinese in Australia’. It accuses Australia’s media of overly ‘imaginative’ and incorrect coverage, and claims that ‘this type of hysterical paranoia has racist undertones and tarnishes Australia’s image as a multicultural society’.

It similarly criticises Australian politicians for being swayed by these media reports, leading to a mishandling of the bilateral relationship.

Importantly, the commentary attempts to draw a divide between the Australian-Chinese community – including students, overseas Chinese, and ethnically Chinese – and the Australian government and media.

The article concludes by advising the Australian government and media to ‘abandon political prejudice and bigotry’ and use only facts when handling the bilateral relationship. It claims this is the ‘only correct choice’ to protect the interests of both countries as well as the greater Asia-Pacific region.

Read the original editorial in Chinese: 澳方对华认知须从事实出发 [Australia’s perception of China must start with the facts]

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