We all know the adage: if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. That is the folly of Beijing ordering ambassador Cheng Jingye to issue the threat that Chinese consumers might boycott Australian products and services in retaliation for Australia pushing for an investigation into the origins of COVID-19 and its initial spread.
If Beijing’s objective is to minimise criticism and deflect responsibility for its recklessness in unleashing a devastating pandemic, then it has erred with respect to target, issue and timing.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne is correct that the comments amount to ‘economic coercion’, and she should be praised for refusing to mince her words. It is an attempt at coercion by Beijing because any significant reduction in the purchase of Australian exports cannot occur without direct involvement of the regime, as it is achieved through changes in domestic regulations or else formal advisories issued to the population.
Read the full article in the Australian Financial Review