A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned in the magazine how the Chinese Communist Party has been trying to bully our allies and friends in Australia. The government of that country having had the audacity to demand an independent and international inquiry into the origins of the Wuhan virus. Since then, the CCP has been upping its game, and not just with words, but by imposing huge tariffs on Australian products. Which I suppose means that the rest of us are going to have to make up for over a billion Chinese consumers and guzzle as much Australian shiraz as we can in the coming months. Can we do it? Possibly.
In the meantime, over in Hong Kong, a rather more brazen attack on democracy and the rule of law occurred yesterday when pro-democracy lawmakers were carried out of the chamber during a debate on a bill that would criminalise anyone who ‘disrespected’ the Chinese Communist Party’s anthem. You can see the resulting footage on the excellent ‘Things China Doesn’t Want You To Know’ Twitter feed, which I much recommend.
As I said this time last year in the Telegraph, our unwillingness to take a stand over the situation in Hong Kong has been a worrying sign of a further weakening of Western belief in democracy and the rules-based international system. But perhaps that can now be reversed and there can be some greater demonstration of the principle of solidarity – whether it is with the people of Hong Kong or Australia. In recent years, China got away with a lot because the world wanted to avert its eyes. Now that the Chinese Communist Party has burned down the world’s economies, perhaps our eyes might focus more fixedly on China and the assaults it makes on our friends around the world. It would be one good thing to come from all this.