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Australia’s Hong Kong intervention represents a turning point in how we deal with China

3AW Breakfast

Scott Morrison has suspended Australia’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong and offered five-year visa extensions to almost 10,000 Hongkongers already in Australia, in a move a Chinese interference expert says represents a significant shift in how Western countries deal with Beijing.

Professor of Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University, Professor Clive Hamilton, says although the move has provoked rage from China, which has dubbed it a “gross interference” in internal affairs, that’s nothing new.

“Beijing has reacted with rage but we’ve become a bit accustomed to Beijing being enraged all of the time,” he told 3AW’s Kate and Quarters, filling in for Ross and John.

“Beijing is so angry with us already for no good reason, why not do the right thing and allow the Hongkongers to stay here rather than send them back where some of them certainly will be arrested and thrown in jail?”

Mr Hamilton said the reaction to China’s crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong represents a shift in how many Western countries respond to Beijing.

“What we’re seeing is a re-emergence of Western allies, some at least, saying ‘We think we need to do the right thing and stand up to China’s bullying’.

“This is very much like Hawke’s decision in 1989 … after the Tienanmen Square massacre happened.

“I think there are quiet moves in some industries, to make themselves less vulnerable to the kind of political blackmail we’ve seen Beijing exert, through, for example, restricting barley imports and beef imports from Australia.”

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3AW Breakfast
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