How much of Australia does China own

Trade dispute with ChinaAustralia wants to continue to defy Beijing's influence

"Join us against Xi's authoritarian bullying." - "By drinking a bottle or two of Australian wine and letting the Chinese Communist party know that we will not be bullied." - "Cheers and no bullying from China."

Put your cups up and down with Beijing's "bullying tactic". 200 politicians from 19 countries symbolically raised a glass of Australian wine via internet video: in solidarity with the Australian winemakers. Their entire exports to China had collapsed because of a 212 percent high import tariff. Just because Canberra defies Beijing, because Australia continues to forbid China to interfere in domestic Australian affairs. Politically and economically:

"Both sides are outside of international norms, but both believe they are right," said Yun Jiang of the Australian-Chinese Trade Forum.

"This is a stalemate. I fear relations between the two countries will continue to deteriorate to their economic disadvantage."

Chinese investment in Australia at a low

13 Australian industries have so far been affected by import tariffs, import boycotts or negative campaigns by the Chinese government. From wine, grain, lobster and meat to the tourism and university sector to coal. At the same time, China's investments in Australia have fallen 61 percent, to their lowest level in 15 years. Also because of stricter controls by the Australian government. The economy is weakening due to the consequences of the corona crisis.

In order to prevent a sell-off of troubled domestic large companies, every planned takeover from abroad must first be approved by the financial supervisory authority. Requests from China are categorically denied for reasons of national security.

"It is astonishing, but also a good sign, that the major industrial associations continue to support our government," says journalist and China expert Peter Hartcher. "The Chinese brought Australia a pandemic and the first recession in 30 years. What else should they do to us?"

Australia is realigning its export economy

While China continues to have Australia firmly in its sights, the Australian export industry is reorienting itself. New sales markets were opened up. Australian barley now goes mainly to England, sheep and beef increasingly to the USA, and coal to India. Only iron ore continues to be delivered to China unhindered, where it covers 60 percent of Chinese demand.

"Beijing cannot afford bottlenecks in the announced construction boom after Corona," believes economist David Bassanese in Sydney. Australia has long since won the PR battle in the trade war between the two countries:

"Ultimately, it is up to China to ease the situation between the two countries. The Australian government is not thinking of backing down, because the rest of the world is on its side. Whatever China tried to achieve with the sanctions against Australia, this shot is backwards started. "

The trade dispute between Australia and China is not a “culture war”, says journalist Peter Hartcher. (imago / James Ross)

Chinese-born Australians between the front lines

Demands and sanctions from Beijing, mistrust and defiance in Canberra: in the diplomatic ice age between China and Australia, no thaw is in sight. The victims of the conflict are over a million Australians of Chinese descent. According to a study by the Lowy Institute, an independent think tank, they are increasingly being attacked and insulted in their new home. Restaurant owner Wan Lin has lived in Sydney for 25 years. She is fed up with other Australians increasingly questioning her loyalty:

"We immigrants defended the Australians when the Chinese leadership insulted them as 'racists' and issued travel warnings for tourists and students. We did so despite the fact that we, Australians of Chinese descent, were themselves racially hostile."

Australia is looking for new allies in Asia

China is by far Australia's most important trading partner. China's archenemy, the US, is Australia's most important strategic partner:

"Getting both under one roof is a political balancing act," says journalist Peter Hartcher. Why Australia is looking for strong allies in Asia with India, Japan and Indonesia. The trade dispute between Australia and China is David against Goliath, according to Hartcher, but not a culture war "West against the Far East".

"This is not an ethnically motivated conflict. There are not billions of Chinese against 25 million Australians. This is about standing up for values ​​such as freedom, independence and democracy. Our goal must be to protect Australia's sovereignty."