The Chinese government has branded Australians “xenophobic” for asking whether a Chinese state-owned mining company should be allowed to carry on buying up Newcastle Port.
The company, Yancoal, is bidding to buy up coal assets in the Hunter Valley, along with a massive stake in Newcastle Port: the world’s biggest coal export terminal and a piece of critical national infrastructure.
If the deal goes ahead, this would give the Chinese government significant control over every part of the port’s operations, including the power to hire and fire the boss of the port’s main operator.
Several critics, such as radio host Ray Hadley, have questioned whether we should “surrender these massive assets to China,” in his words, citing the leverage this would give China at a time of heightened tensions in the Asia-Pacific. “I think not”, Hadley concluded.
Peter Jennings, director of respected defence think tank the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, has called the proposed deal “a very serious concern.”
But the Chinese government-controlled company has now hit back, telling the Australian press that such criticisms are “xenophobic” and “should be ignored.”
From where we’re standing, this looks like a transparent attempt to shut down debate on a subject of national importance. It’s also rank hypocrisy.
A senior figure in Yancoal’s parent company recently told the AFR that “Australians are fat and the food is very bad.”
Chinese newspapers have also attacked Australia as a nation of convicts “tinged with barbarism” and prone to committing “uncivilized acts”.
Aussies should not be cowed in the face of such arrogance and hypocrisy. We have a right to free speech and we will continue to defend our national interests.
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