Take a swing at China and you can be pretty sure the bear will bite back.
Today the state-owned Global Times hit back with an editorial headlined “Clive Palmer’s tirade cannot be ignored”.
It calls for Chinese sanctions against Palmer and his companies, banning him and senior execs from China and even extending the sanctions to companies that deal with Palmer.
“China must let those prancing provocateurs know how much of a price they pay when they deliberately rile us,” the editorial says.
The editorial is a response to Palmer’s Monday night tirade on ABC TV’s Q&A, when he described the Chinese as “bastards” and “mongrels”.
But the Global Times also points to growing disquiet in China about Australian perceptions of our largest trading partner, dragging Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the foreign minister into the dispute for recent “astonishing” and “bitter” remarks.
“Palmer’s rampant rascality serves as a symbol that Australian society has an unfriendly attitude toward China,” the paper says.
It goes on ominously, arguing that, without a major pushback now, things will only get worse for the PRC, saying “how we respond will be a turning point for Australia’s understanding of China” and that “Palmer could be the last straw for worsening Sino-Australian relations”.
Australian society has been aware that Palmer crossed the red line too far and his remarks, along with those of Bishop and Abbott, pose a direct threat to Australian-Sino relations. Canberra is waiting for China’s reactions, from which they can assess the tenacity of Chinese diplomacy.
That’s a little different to Julie Bishop declaring everything’s just hunky dory after a call to the Chinese embassy.
Th editorial also fires a shot across the bows in terms of how China sees Australia’s alignment with the US and Japan. They’re not happy.
Because of him, China must teach Canberra a lesson for sabotaging a bilateral relationship. Australia has picked sides and embraced the US and Japan, but in the meantime, it keeps racking up economic profits from China. This situation is making it a radical “double-dealer” among all the nations which have relationships with China.
This isn’t just about Clive Palmer. It seems he’s just thrown the first punch in what threatens to become an all-in brawl.
No wonder Abbott and Bishop are calling for calm.
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