Compared to the rest of the world, Australians are at the forefront of defending democracy and human rights.
A recent publicly-funded university ran into a controversy after it deleted a tweet of an academic, resulting in many Aussies criticising the move as a curtail of freedom and being pliant to China.
A quick summary over the story: the University of New South Wales (UNSW) deleted a Twitter post of its adjunct academic, which called for international support to pressure China into giving Hong Kong independence.
According to pro-Hong Kong Independence activists, China students allegedly wrote a complaint to UNSW demanding the tweet be deleted. This came with an article from China state media Global Times.
Okay, long story short – we have the two camps from Hong Kong and China bringing their politics into Australia.
As an Aussie, I am of the view that we defend democracy only within the borders of our sovereign country. The fight for democracy and independence of other lands should be left to their people – this is not our cause and lest I remind Hong Kongers that we have our own problems to take care of.
I see Hong Kong activists calling for international support, as a form of foreign intervention into Aussie politics as well.
It is in Australia’s best interests to take care of our economy, and this means working with the China incumbent government economically.
In terms of foreign intervention, to be fair, China is not calling for political changes in Australia like scrapping the parliamentary system and elections. There is also no political party calling for the China-like restrictions like banning social media and utter disregard of citizens’ privacy.
I strive to promote democracy when I can, just like how I strive to be kind to strangers when I can. So should Australia. This means we should not go out of our way to wage confrontations when it is inconvenient to us.
Is it really that perplexing or conflicting a position to take? Maybe, but see it this way. In food, some combinations just matches perfectly like avocado and soy sauce, tomato and onions, chilli and lemon and etc, while other mixes tastes like the backside of Saturn. There is no absolute and everything is subjective, it all depends how you cook them – both food and relations.
Now tell me, how do we cook China and Hong Kong relations then. In negotiations, taking absolute positions is a no-no. But before they even sit down for any negotiation, they ought to have a representative leadership.
Hong Kong activists are a bunch of anarchic mob, they have no representatives. The incumbent Hong Kong government leader Carrie Lam is not recognised by its people, and the protest leader Joshua Wong is not recognised by China. Until a real Hong Kong representative surface, Hong Kong protests will go on.
The lack of a representative is likewise affecting Australia. Even if we are willing to to provide assistance, we can’t be listening to some protestor (which could be a saboteur) on Twitter making demands.
On a side note, Joshua Wong reminds me of Aung San Suu Kyi. She did not saved Burmese from the junta oppression, and she is now even under attack for her stance on the Rohingya issue. But no one can denies the fact that she unified Burmese and stopped unnecessary bloodsheds between the people and its military government.
For Australia, it is time we look at the Scandinavian countries on how to deal with China. Iceland is doing everything right, and nobody is calling them a commie.