China-Australia relations
Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong speaks with her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi at the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bali on July 8. Photo: AFP

LettersAustralia and China must take off Cold War-tinted glasses and really see each other

  • Readers discuss Sino-Australian relations, China as viewed by the US, and how China must make real progress in protecting women
Feel strongly about these letters, or any other aspects of the news? Share your views by emailing us your Letter to the Editor at [email protected] or filling in this Google form. Submissions should not exceed 400 words, and must include your full name and address, plus a phone number for verification.
Australia is off to a good start resetting its relationship with the Pacific Islands and China. Its participation in the recently concluded Pacific Islands Forum was most promising in this regard.

But it’s early days. Most urgently, we need a better Sino-Australian mutual understanding as the basis for a rapprochement between our two countries.

China needs a better understanding of Australia’s close relationship with the United States, arising from the Pacific war; and Australia needs a better understanding of China’s long-standing view of itself as the centre of the civilised world and its resentment at having been pushed around by the West and Japan in the past.

Clearly, China is – legitimately, from its point of view – challenging the Western hegemony in the region that was established by force during the Pacific war. So far it is not doing so by direct conquest but rather by non-violent, mainly economic, means.

Both Australia and China need to disregard strident voices within their own ranks wanting to redefine the relationship using provocative Cold War rhetoric.

They must aim at achieving the right balance between Chinese and Western influence in this region and globally without relying on outmoded Cold War thinking that is out of step with present regional and global strategic realities.

Terry Hewton, Adelaide, Australia

Anti-China rhetoric is an American export

I refer to the article, “China’s President Xi visits Xinjiang for first time in 8 years, praises region’s ‘core hub’ role” ( July 8).

The writers deceptively state that “Western nations including the US have accused Beijing of violating basic human rights in Xinjiang and using forced labour, and imposed a series of sanctions on entities deemed responsible”, as if the United States is just following the spontaneous outrage among white countries. The US is both the director and producer of the “smear China” chorus.

Jim Robinson, New York

Laws protecting women should not merely exist on paper

I refer to the article, “Head of China’s top court orders crackdown on ‘abhorrent’ crimes amid public outcry over attack on women in Tangshan” ( July 10).
China’s treatment of women is again being called into question, with widespread outrage over a fierce attack by nine men on a group of women in a restaurant in Tangshan city, Hebei province. While it is true that the culprits are in the minority, their actions are utterly at odds with the traditional Chinese values of harmony and benevolence.
It was in 2016 that China enacted an anti-domestic violence law, and a major revision of its law protecting women’s rights is under way. Kudos for these landmark moves, which should curb gender-based violence and bring gender equality into the mainstream of Chinese life.

But many are sceptical about the authenticity of these changes. They must not be merely valued on paper, but must actually uphold justice for the many women still hiding in fear. Courts at the municipal level must punish perpetrators and make real progress in improving China’s judicial environment and women’s rights.

As for the offenders in the Tangshan case, they should be penalised heavily and made to pay the medical expenses of the women they beat up. What’s more, their trial verdict should be broadcast on all TV channels to empower vulnerable individuals.

By the same token, China’s legislature could employ a bottom-up approach. For instance, it could provide a channel for women to lodge sexual harassment complaints at the grass-roots level and introduce anti-harassment training.

Abas Khan, Mong Kok