Growing fears that Canberra has bungled ties with a vital trading partner
Australia’s Chinese community frequently finds itself in a tight spot when tensions boil over between its adopted and ancestral homelands.
The tweet that started the most recent flare-up depicted an Australian soldier holding a knife to the throat of an Afghan child, offending Australian nationalist sentiment as well as Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who demanded an apology.
Unsurprisingly, that apology has not been forthcoming. Instead, it has been Morrison who has had to reassure Chinese Australians that the falling out with China does not mean he does not love them. Morrison even took to WeChat last week to declare that Australia’s leaders “recognize, deeply appreciate and value the contributions that generations of Chinese immigrants have made to Australia.”
While tensions between the countries have been building for years, Australia’s call for an international inquiry into the source and origins of COVID-19 in April was the catalyst for a series of retaliatory actions that has left many people wondering whether Canberra has mishandled relations with our most important economic partner.