Australia-Viewpoint: China knows Australia is a soft target that must be targeted-Chinatown Australia

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These unbridled attacks and constant humiliation of Australia may seem strange, but they are indeed intended to achieve several specific goals of China's totalitarian regime: one is domestic and the other is global.

Mao Zedong portrait in Tiananmen square

China's attack on Australia seems a bit overdone, but it actually contains some specific goals.

AFP: Mark Ralston

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian posted a tweet about the war crimes committed by Australian special forces in Afghanistan earlier this week, accompanied by digitally processed pictures, and the diplomatic turmoil caused by it continues.It is worth noting that this kind of inflammatory and offensive posts is not the only case.

Zhao and other Chinese officials and diplomats have carried out many heinous attacks on Australia and the United States in recent years.Prior to this week’s tweet, Zhao himself was probably best known for his official conspiracy theory that the US military brought the new crown virus into China.

External Link: Edward Wong tweet

Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, is another active critic of Australia.

Four years ago, after Canberra stated that China must abide by an international court ruling on the South China Sea, the newspaper published a harsh editorial against Australia.Calling Australia a "paper tiger" with a "disgraceful" history, and said: "If Australia enters the South China Sea, it will be an ideal target for China to warn and strike."

Why is nationalism so powerful in China

These unbridled attacks and constant humiliation of Australia may seem strange, but they are indeed intended to achieve several specific goals of China's totalitarian regime: one is domestic and the other is global.

At home, this more aggressive attitude towards the world is called "wolf war diplomacy" and is a key function of President Xi Jinping's dictatorship, which is almost entirely based on Chinese nationalism cultivated by the Communist Party.

Like former leader Mao Zedong, Xi Jinping consolidated his power, in part due to the personality cult that developed around his rule.The portrait of Xi Jinping is ubiquitous in China, and even promotes his own "Xi Jinping Thought" in a way similar to "Mao Zedong Thought" (and his famous Red Book).

External Link: China Media Project tweet

Mao Zedong's power is based on the dual ideologies of communism and Chinese nationalism.However, the power of communism in China today is weakening.

Although Xi Jinping and his followers still promote Marxism and "Xi Jinping Thought" for political purposes (such as eliminating competitors and dissidents), they now rely heavily on Chinese nationalism to maintain their rule. Legitimacy before the public.

Nationalism is a powerful force in China today.This can be seen from Xi Jinping’s constant appeals for “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” to Beijing’s growing anti-American and anti-foreign sentiment.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during an event.
In today's China, the propaganda of Xi Jinping is everywhere.
(AP: Xinhua)

In order to build Xi Jinping’s image as a strongman and impose it on the country, the Communist Party’s propaganda machine even restored the titles of Mao Zedong and other dictators, such as "helmsman" and "people's leader."Once again, the loyalty to the country, the party, and the leader is integrated.

Despite this, some Chinese have growing resentment towards Xi Jinping’s rule, and the country is facing enormous political, economic, and social challenges.Xi Jinping has a deep sense of insecurity.His dictatorship and desire for absolute control made everyone feel insecure.

In this context, "wolf war diplomacy" began to rise.Those who are seen to be tough against any real or potential enemy designated by the great leader will be rewarded for their loyalty.

This is why Zhao Lijian will not be punished for his inflammatory statements against Australia, the United States and other opponents; instead, he has become a star.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian stands at a lectern
Zhao Lijian is famous for his "wolf war" diplomacy.
(Supplied: Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Australia is a soft target that must be targeted

On the global stage, China has long promoted its economic and political system as a reasonable substitute for the US-led rule-based international order.

Therefore, in recent years, it has increasingly expanded its diplomatic and military influence, and proposed the "One Belt One Road" initiative to build a new global economic and infrastructure network centered on China.

As part of this grand strategy, China has targeted countries that dare to challenge like Australia to force them to yield.

Australia is regarded by the Communist Party as a necessary target because of its close alliance with the United States, but at the same time it is regarded as a soft target because of its dependence on the Chinese economy.

In short, Beijing can attack Canberra without suffering many consequences.Other countries and regions in the world will also see this.

The "wolves of war" within the Chinese Communist Party often refer to Australia as nothing more than a pawn or running dog of the United States. This is obviously trying to separate the United States and Australia.

Currently, nearly half of Australia’s exports are to China, and Beijing is also trying to use Australia’s economic dependence on it to force Canberra to change its tone and behavior.

To show the Communist regime’s determination to control Australia, the Chinese Embassy in Canberra handed over a "14-point dissatisfaction" document to several Australian news media last month and asked the Morrison government to change Australia’s position on key policies. .

These include criticizing human rights violations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, calling for an independent investigation of the origin of COVID-19, and prohibiting Huawei from participating in Australia's 5G network construction.

China, a communist country, will not recognize that its pursuit of regional dominance and expansionist policies will threaten its neighbors, nor will it recognize that its oppressive policies on its citizens will cause reasonable concern to the world.

It will not accept the reality that a powerful Australia counters China's bullying and intervention to defend its sovereignty, core values ​​and institutional integrity.

Beijing is demonstrating its strength to ensure Australia's submission and is trying to dismantle the alliance between Australia and the United States based on national interests and common values.But this is a serious miscalculation, which is likely to bring about the opposite result.

Feng Chongyi is an associate professor of China Studies at the University of Technology Sydney.This article was originally published on "The Conversation".

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