China is now threatening countries to not launch an investigation into China’s handling of coronavirus.
According to Sky News Australia, China’s ambassador to Australia, Cheng Jingye, is threatening a boycott of Australian products… if Australia continues to push for a “global independent” investigation into the crisis
“Ambassador Cheng Jingye on Monday said the push was ‘dangerous’ and could encourage Chinese citizens to not purchase Australian exports or travel to the nation,” Sky News Australia reported. “The government however is not backing down from the call for an independent inquiry, with Foreign Minister Marise Payne criticizing the threat of an economic hit due to the push.”
Cheng accused Australia’s efforts to get to the bottom of the crisis as “pandering” to “some forces in Washington,” and tried to turn the blame on the United States.
“So what is being done by the Australia side?” Cheng asked, in an interview with the Australian Financial Review. “The proposition is a kind of teaming up with those forces in Washington and to launch a kind of political campaign against China.”
“The Chinese public is frustrated, dismayed and disappointed with what Australia is doing now,” he added. “I think in the long term… if the mood is going from bad to worse, people would think ‘Why should we go to such a country that is not so friendly to China?’ The tourists may have second thoughts.”
“The parents of the students would also think whether this place which they found is not so friendly, even hostile, whether this is the best place to send their kids here,” Cheng continued. He kept amplifying the explicit threats against Australia: “It is up to the people to decide. Maybe the ordinary people will say ‘Why should we drink Australian wine? Eat Australian beef?’”
Marise Payne, Australia’s Foreign Minister, swatted down Cheng’s comments, rejecting “any suggestion that economic coercion is an appropriate response to a call for such an assessment, when what is needed is global co-operation.”
“Australia has made a principled call for an independent review of the COVID-19 outbreak, an unprecedented global crisis with severe health, economic and social impacts,” she said. She added: “A transparent and honest assessment of events will be critical as we emerge from the pandemic and learn important lessons to improve our response in the future. We hope all members of the WHO would co-operate in such an effort, including to strengthen the WHO’s role in responding effectively to a pandemic.”