In July 2019, in a story applauding the construction of a new gas pipeline from Russia, Chinese newspaper The Global Times made sure to play up an additional benefit of the project. Not only would the pipeline bring more gas from Russia, the paper stated. It also meant that China could cut down on imports of liquified natural gas from Australia.
From the moment Australia’s ties with Beijing began to sour, Chinese officials, scholars and commentators have pushed a similar menacing message. The state media, in its various manifestations, has consistently warned Australia that its China policy is “suicidal” for economic ties. Don’t think you can “dig gold” in China, one scholar has said, while riding on America’s coat-tails elsewhere. The Global Times, the Chinese Communist Party–owned tabloid that has long acted as Beijing’s foreign policy bovver boy, is just one in a long line of outlets telling Australia not to bite the hand that feeds it.