A top diplomat says Australia’s call for an independent review into COVID-19 “hurt the feelings” of the Chinese people.
A top diplomat says Australia’s call for an independent review into COVID-19 “hurt the feelings” of the Chinese people.

‘We’re not bullies’: Chinese diplomat’s relationship warning

A top Chinese diplomat has warned Australia not to let "cold heart and dark minds" cast a "shadow" over the relationship and denied his country is using "bullying" trade tactics.

Deputy head of mission at the Chinese Embassy Minister Wang Xining said the two nations should not allow "narrow interest … outdated stereotypes and plotted distortion" impact relations.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra Mr Wang said Australia's call for an independent review into COVID-19 "hurt the feelings" of the Chinese people as it appeared to be targeted exclusively at their country.

"About 10 days after the lifting of restrictions of the lockdown measures in Wuhan, finally our people back in China thought they were able to take a breath because they were under huge pressure, in the first three months," he said.

Minister and The Deputy Head of Mission Wang Xining. Picture: Sam Mooy
Minister and The Deputy Head of Mission Wang Xining. Picture: Sam Mooy

"All of a sudden, there was this shocking proposal from Australia, supposed to be a good friend of China, always has been."

Mr Wang said he believed language was a "problem" during the period of tense relations.

"If you are able read Chinese websites and comments … you will be able to note the intensity of emotion of our people, how much indignation, anger and frustration they expressed, they used a lot of Chinese idioms and sayings to describe the emotion, but it is difficult to translate," he said.

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In his speech Mr Wang said Australia and China may "disagree on some issues" but the partnership will not be "wrecked" as long as goodwill is presented.

Mr Wang said the two nations' difference may appear "stark" but are outweighed by what they share in common.

"We both wish the other to live as aspired by choosing a methodology that we find fit and proper for ourselves," he said.

"We may disagree on some issues, and even disagree on how disagreements should

be presented.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gary Ramage
Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Wednesday. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gary Ramage

"But our partnership will not be wrecked by differences or disagreements as long as we reach each other well and approach all the issues with goodwill."

Mr Wang conceded it was "no easy task" to keep a partnership in "good shape".

"It takes concerted determination and joint effort to make it thrive," he said.

"A married couple knows this. While a rift between husband and wife hurts one family, a rift between two countries hurts millions."

Mr Wang said Australia's "most important collaborator" in science research.

"A number of research papers and measures (are) in the top one per cent of most cited articles," he said.

Mr Wang said the "benchmark" of respect between countries was to follow "basic norms" including respecting sovereignty, and refraining from "interfering in others affairs".

"Respect others choice of social and political system and mode of development, and refrain from imposing one's own idea onto the other," he said.

"We should respect each other's legal system and rule of law, and refrain from interrupting the other's legal proceedings and undertakings."

Mr Wang said China "respects Australia sovereignty".

"As China's sovereignty was constantly under threat and disarray from external powers, the last thing China wants to do is to inflict on others what China suffered," he said.

"Or to bully others as we were bullied.

"China does not interfere in Australia's internal affairs. Nor do we have any intention of changing Australia's political or social culture."

Mr Wang said "naturally" China expects that respect to be reciprocated.

"Which I believe should arise from better mutual understanding through conscientious

academic study and social exchange based on genuine facts and objective analysis. Free from sway of political force or vested interest," he said.

Originally published as 'We're not bullies': Chinese diplomat's relationship warning


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