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The Emerging Signs – Australia and China in Action/Inaction

  • April 29, 2020 12:00 PM AEST
  • Team Kalkine
The Emerging Signs – Australia and China in Action/Inaction

Human psychology in the past few months has passed through a range of stages, each sending a different wave of emotions. The effects of the shocking COVID-19 headlines have somewhat worn down, as humans are sustaining through the time that they once dreaded. It is not that the people’s concerns and fears have altogether disappeared in the thin air. In fact, in the current circumstances, the people thinking process has shifted from dreading conjectures to contemplating consequences.

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The COVID-19 situation has become the ground reality of the present scenario, as people every day try to adapt to function amidst the restrictions. For the world, it is more ‘the concern for the known’ now rather than ‘the fear from the unknown’, which was once witnessed while embarking on the rocky journey.

Australian COVID-19 scenario has done better than flatten the infection curve, demonstrated by the easing of few restrictions on the Aussies. Meanwhile, China reported discharge of all its COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, which was the cradle to the detrimental epidemic. However, the outbreak which soon spread to the world has caused long-lasting damage to human society. From the trauma of the infection itself to the plight of living under lockdown, Australians certainly have gone through a difficult time. Nevertheless, what still remains is a matter of concern in the aftermath of COVID-19 on the economy and business sustainability.

Coronavirus Impact Piques Hostility

Amidst the time of contemplation and adaptation, while many sit evaluating the post-effect of the pandemic, many world leaders try to dig the origin of the outbreak. Coronavirus, as the world knows originated from Wet Markets of Wuhan City in China, with the Chinese government declaring it as the medical emergency on 31 December 2019. However, ever since the outbreak, conspiracy theories have surrounded the origin of the virus.

The series of economic packages launched by the government, along with the other measures, have impacted the economy. Meanwhile, suspension of business and other economic activities has further impeded economic growth for the country. In the wake of such a situation, the hostility for ineffective mismanagement of the outbreak and mishandling the information become the hotspots of debate among the nations. Similar political tiff has been initiated between Australia and China concerning the epidemic.

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Probe Demand by Australia

Australian sufferings, in terms of health, life-quality and economy, have led its political leaders to demand the international investigation into the origin of coronavirus. US President Donald Trump initially threatened China of consequences if its role is found in the COVID-19 spread. Following the suit, Australia has also called out for transparency into the infection origin and the way it speedily seeped throughout the world.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne, indicating ‘transparency’ as the ‘key to going forward’, has stressed on the independent review of the COVID-19 origin through the international probe. Meanwhile, China has dismissed such accusations, highlighting the country remained informative about the COVID-19 related developments.

Escalated Tension over Origin Inquiry

The demand for international probe by Australia has augmented the political spat between China and Australia. Retaliating on the veiled accusations, China has warned economic restrictions on Australia. Chinese Ambassador, Jingye Cheng threatened that the Chinese would boycott the Australian products while also hinting the impact on Australian tourism if the people of China boycott travel to Australia and education in OZ Universities. Although Mr Cheng indicated Chinese people choice, the implicit warning concerning the state’s political action did not go unnoticed.

Recently, Chinese embassy also criticised Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton for echoing US propaganda on the international COVID-19 investigation. However, Australia has maintained its stance on the global enquiry for pandemic source in Wuhan.

Australia-China Embittered Relationship

The recent discord on the probe is exacerbating the already bitter political connection between the two countries. China is often accused of interfering in Australian politics. Retired Asio chief Duncan Lewis had previously called Chinese interference in the Australian political system as ‘insidious’, indicating that the Asian country is doing so towards taking advantage through its influence in the different areas.

The territorial rights on the South China Sea where China has erected large scale of military outposts remain as another critical source of the conflict. Amidst such a situation, the new controversy is likely to fuel the debate and hostility between the two nations.

Australian Economic Dependency on China

Australia GDP growth is highly reliant on the Chinese economy, the latter being the most crucial importer for the country. The tremendous pace of infrastructural development in China utilises raw materials exported from Australia. The base metal mining industry is heavily reliant on Chinese imports for the production of steel.

The tourism and education industries are other critical areas where the Australian economy derives a substantial sum from Chinese customers. As per the Australian government data, on the YTD basis, enrolment of around 173,740 students from China was recorded until February 2020. The number of Chinese students enrolling in Australian universities has consistently increased since 2013.

However, the question that primarily implores the minds is- if Australia is solely dependent on Chinese or it is the interdependency of the two economies. The integrated business operations of the two countries have primarily placed one at the supplying and the other at the consumption end. However, the primary dilemma gauges the impact on Chinese growth if it decides to shun the Australian products and services.


The trade relations between the two countries stand at risk following the sour encounters between the nations. The implications of the newly shaping global scenario and political tensions on the medical emergency would carry massive impacts on the future. Currently, the world is grappling with the economic turbulence, and the pandemic is not yet over. It is likely to affect the Australian economy to a whole lot extent. And, political tensions with the most tightly integrated trade ally might create further challenges for economic rejuvenation for both China and Australia.



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