China ratcheting up tension with Australia 


Well, that escalated quickly…

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called ‘arrogant’ for demanding apology over image

The editor of China’s state-run English language newspaper has posted an incendiary piece calling Prime Minister Scott Morrison “ridiculously arrogant” and saying he should “slap himself in the face” on live television.

The searing editorial comes after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian posted a doctored image on Twitter showing an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of a young child holding a lamb.

…that is not the image you post if you are trying to call tension down, that is the image you post if you are attempting to goad reaction so offence can be taken on purpose.

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China has thrown a gun down on the ground and told Australia to pick it up.

China is our Economic Overlord, Australia is our loud mouthed rude neighbour and America is our 5 Eyes Political Master, so to think we will be immune from such volatility between China, Australia and America is delusional.

To date NZ has managed to keep out of any direct confrontation with China because China bought the National Party and the National Party did everything in their decade of power to bend over backwards to China.

Key put all our cows in one Beijing paddock off the back of Helen’s free trade deal, and we’ve been trapped ever since.

The fact there was an alleged Chinese spy inside the National Party caucus highlights how compromised National had become.

With their investment in National wasted, soft power turns to hard force very quickly.

Trump’s erratic and increasingly desperate thrashing around while there are two carrier task forces in the South China Sea is an enormous uncertainty and recipe for miscalculation.

China could ‘poke out our eyes’ in 3 ways.

Economically – They could strangle off exports and hurt the economy.

Militarily – They could shoot down an American satellite launched by RocketLabs from a submarine off the East Coast.

Domestically – We know Chinese newspaper editors in NZ all take their editorial stance directly from the Chinese Government and calling for mass demonstrations against the Government for whatever perceived insult would cause enormous upheaval that could easily spill into something ugly.

NZ-Asians face the most overt racism in NZ, there is a huge tension beneath the mild surface of NZ society, and we aren’t prepared for if it ruptures from geopolitical tensions.

My gut feeling is that China isn’t imperialist and won’t invade anyone outside what it claims is its territorial waters, and would instead look to seize Hong Kong and perhaps Taiwan and then aggressively demand if anyone is going to stop them. Would Biden really spill American blood to retake Taiwan?

We must be a voice for peace and the champion for International co-operation and respect for the rule of law because conflict will create social reverberations we are not ready for. However, as a liberal progressive Democracy, we also have an obligation to speak out against China’s human rights abuses and if that costs us trade, then that is the price we pay to be a good global citizen.

China is rapidly becoming the diplomatic crisis for us right now.

It’s difficult for us to be critical of a Chinese tweet but not the Australian war crimes that inspired the tweet.


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  1. Bomber, it’s way too late to pretend we’re a good global citizen after three decades of condoning ‘Made in China’ sweatshop labour.
    Our soul is well and truly sold. It’s harvest time.

  2. I wonder what Noam Chomsky’s take on this dumb shit would be?
    C-19 has usa/trump all over it and so does this pathetic high school dumbass immaturity.
    AO/NZ should never have been tied to AU anyway. AU is our trade competitor ( until they go up in global heating smoke) unless you’re wattie or fisher and paykel etc of course. Aye Boys? Been a nice little earner since after ww2 convienently helped you establish your little monoplies and fifedoms at our expense.
    Ironically, you never saw cheap Chinese goods coming though did you? Or the internet? You’re double fucked aren’t you?
    And speaking of AU? Where’s ron brierly? Have the Aussies lifted their arrest warrant on that particular titan of neolibreal nz industry yet?
    I doubt the Chinese would touch us. They’d never get the smell out.

  3. I wonder if Jesuscinda… or maybe Jesusinda… (I think that might be an actual original thing I just coined, very slow clap for me but it is XMas so embrace it!), will come to the defence of Scott Morrison? China (i.e. Xi Ping) I think will be far more careful when insulting/blackmailing our Prime Minster since it will undoubtedly attract incredibly bad optics globally given she is a beloved celebrity at this point. Weird our PM might right now have more global political sway than than Australia’s.

    • You get a tick for “Jesuscinda” .
      I regret she has spoken on this; especially calling it “fake’ , because though the image makes no pretence at being an actual photograph of a scene like the ISIS murder images we saw a few years ago, it is a mock up of what it has been part of the Australian inquiry. So not really false.
      It would have been better to keep out of it. For integrity’s sake without consideration of economic ramifications . We have little things like “hit and Run” ourselves.
      D J S

  4. China has been flexing iit’s mjuscles for 20yrs and now is careless at it without abandon so it seems.

    Time to expand our trade ties in other areas of the globe away from china is the first step.

    But do it quietly.

    • More recently Xi Xingping’s administration has become quite Trumpian in its public statements – XI Xingping@our China rule of the one belt and road world.

      On trade, since the China FTA, we have TPP and RCEP (transfer to ASEAN). Biden will restore the WTO base level trade – and we should look to bring agriculture in, to better manage the EU’s protectionism.

      We have the UK FTA TO work on. And while waiting for India encourage a NATO Russia rapprochment (a stronger EU and access to Rusisan market).

  5. The PM expressed much concern about the lamb metaphor image but did not condemn or even comment on the Brereton Report, which describes actual murder. Civilian, non combatant, innocent people. Killed.

  6. NZ has to walk a very fine line here. As regards to extra deference to the Blairite – as if China gives a rats. China is the polar opposite of woke.

    We’ve picked sides by going with Australia. Time will tell if that was wise. I’d argue a Switzerland-style approach would have been best into the medium term. We had the opportunity let’s see if our mates in the 5-eyes will pick up the trade slack in due course

  7. Given that Australia has Afghanistan skeletons falling out of its closet and the blood of civilians on its hands, China has some entitlement to raise its concerns. This is especially so, since Australia has done the US bidding in the smear offensives over Covid-19, Hong Kong and the Uighurs. Sadly, our PM who stayed quiet on racism and war crimes in the Middle East has piped up as the lapdog, not an International leader. Worse still, she has undone the measured and diplomatic groundwork of her new Minister of Foreign Affairs.

    • The PM has an international reputation on the use of offensive images in social media. So a call not to resort to deliberate insult is on point.

      The Chinese have defended their position as one on the side of fair comment and free speech. That is the greater irony.

  8. NZ-Asians face the most overt racism in NZ, yeah, right!

    Get the coffee receipt right next time racist, slave!

    “We were truly shocked at the restaurant for their incredibly racist service.”

    Falls Restaurant manager Arvind Kumar told Stuff the restaurant had made a “huge mistake”.

    The group had sat at an unnumbered table while the restaurant was very busy, and so the new waiter had typed “Asians” on the receipt to identify the group, he told Stuff.

    “It was a mistake by the waiter, she’s new and she should not have done that. We never do this and we will never do that again.”

    The restaurant’s Facebook page has been inundated with posts criticising them over their actions.”

    It’s weird how racism in China like the Chinese Communist Party permanently locking up much of the Uighur Muslim population of the far-west region of Xinjiang: never resonates with the Chinese community in NZ and our human rights commissioner, tho, like the incredibly racist coffee receipts do!

    Even more weird Chinese NZ er’s seem to get preferential treatment in NZ wherever they go, in particular our justice system where Chinese are the least likely to be victims of crime in NZ, while individuals and Chinese owned industry seem to avoid criminal action, when they break NZ laws.

  9. Okay – this is ratcheting up tension!
    “”Does this matter have anything to do with New Zealand? Can it be that New Zealand agrees with or even supports Australia’s deeds?” she said.
    “Like I said, we have pictures and other facts including the Australian Defense Department’s report on this matter.
    “The truth and the merits of this matter are crystal clear. If needed, our journalist friends, China and Australia can all provide these materials to New Zealand.”

    You have to wonder what not yet published unfalsified pictures of the Australian war crimes in Afghanistan might China have. And where did they get them from? Do they feature ANY (even peripheral) involvement of NZers?

  10. So our government managed to put their foot in it by criticizing a picture in the Chinese government tweet. It seems fair enough on the surface if the picture actually was a fake but I think the key thing here is that I don’t remember the government criticizing the Aussies for killing 39 innocent people in Afghanistan – something I would argue is a greater crime

    • Yeah… but genociding Uighur and Tibetans… you’re okay with that…. oh yeah, and driving entire species to extinction, that’s cool too… because they have no voice, eh… how do you like your stir-fried tiger penis… medium rare or well done?

      • For fuck’s sakes – where is the evidence of genocide in respect of Uighurs and Tibetans? Sure reasonable persons should be opposed to the suppression of subjects but selectively bandying around words like genocide to bolster a questionable claim is an absolute crock. As you will well know, China is not responsible for as many deaths through wars, sanctions and subjugation as western states in more recent history. For example, how about Madeline Albright re 500 000 Iraqi children for a start. As to statement about driving species to extinction – look first at NZ. This country probably the most serious international offender in a history far shorter than China’s. Forget about the tiger’s penis – get your hand of yours!

    • Maybe because they made no comment about our own Hit and Run and they will go through the same internal investigation of what happened, as to accountability.

  11. The so called doctored photo was in fact not a photo at all but a cartoon drawn by a cartoonist.
    As such it is pretty close to the mark. I have seen a lot worse on TDB.

    If any apologies are in order then Morrison should apologise to the Chinese artist for misrepresenting his work

    NZ seems very tender on the Afghanistan war crimes as it has had a glimpse of their own SAS also running under US instructions, committing war crimes against innocent civilians while being an occupying force.

    Both Australia and NZ have no reason to be in Afghanistan except to follow US orders in the longest war in our history, with thousands of civilians being killed.
    There is no reason for the US to have invaded and occupied Afghanistan except for territorial gains, raping of resources and fostering a now enormous opioid trade through the CIA. The Taliban had quashed the poppy cultivation long before the US invasion.

    Morrison is an idiot and we certainly don’t need to side with him irrationally.


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