An extraordinary government memorandum, leaked by the Chinese embassy in Canberra to a number of Australian media companies, accuses Australia of ‘poisoning bilateral relations’ with Beijing.
The dossier, which lists fourteen grievances, was handed over to the Sydney Morning Herald, Nine News, and The Age. It has been perceived as an attempt to pressure Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his government to step back on a number of key policies.
The dossier has been described as a ‘deliberately leaked’ document.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the list of complaints includes: ‘government funding for “anti-China” research at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute; raids on Chinese journalists and academic visa cancellations; “spearheading a crusade” in multilateral forums on China’s affairs in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang; calling for an independent investigation into the origins of COVID-19; banning Huawei from the 5G network in 2018; and blocking 10 Chinese foreign investment deals across infrastructure, agriculture and animal husbandry sectors.’
The Australian government denied the claims that it was harming the relationship and demanded that Beijing ‘answer its phone calls’.
Tensions between the two countries have been high for some time, with Australia aiming to significantly increase its military spending in the face of an increasingly belligerent China in the region.