Australia’s allies must STAND UP or risk being 'picked off' by Beijing.

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Australia’s allies must STAND UP or risk being 'picked off' by Beijing.
FREEDOM-loving democracies including the UK must rally round Australia in the face of China's bullying tactics or face being "picked off" as well, a Tory peer has warned.
Lord Patten was speaking days after Australian Senator Eric Abetz told his country would not be cowed by Beijing - and the former Tory Minister signalled his determination to stand shoulder to shoulder with Canberra. Lord Patten, who was the last Governor of Hong Kong before it was handed it back to China in 1997, made his feelings clear in an interview with the Guardian in which he warned Beijing was seeking to "make an example" of Australia.

China appears to be motivated by Australia's decision to increase defence spending by 40 percent, and among the measures so far taken include tariffs of up to 200 percent on Australian wine, and the suspension of imports from six beef processing companies.

In addition, China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Lejian Zhao angered Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week after tweeting a fake image of an Australian soldier holding a knife with blood on it to the throat of an Afghan child.

The post was an apparent reference to a report suggesting Australia’s special forces allegedly killed 39 unarmed prisoners and civilians in Afghanistan.
Mr Patten said: "I think what has happened to Australia is a powerful argument for all of us for a change in working together to actually call China out and stand up to China.

"Now, people say, 'Oh, we don’t want a cold war with China'. Of course we don’t want a cold war with China.

"But China is fighting us. China hates our value system. And the question is whether we actually stand up for the sort of societies we are or whether we let China undermine it."
Mr Patten urged democracies to use all legal mechanisms including the World Trade Organisation - to expose Beijing.

He warned: "Otherwise, other countries will be picked off in the way that Australia has been by this loutish behaviour by China.

"What is happening in Australia is important for us in Europe if we want to defend our own rule of law and our own values as open societies and democracies."

Speaking last week, Mr Abetz, chairman of the Australian Senate's powerful Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee, said: "There is no doubt that a communist dictatorship rules in China. Xi Jinping has declared himself President for life.

"The litany of human rights abuses, the recent crushing of dissent in Hong Kong, the 1 million of its citizens in concentration camps, the prisoners of conscience – be they pro-democracy activists, house Christians or Falun Gong practitioners and the oppressive, one-party system, not to mention numerous other indicators speak to the fact that it is a brutal dictatorship."

He added: "The CCP dictatorship’s actions indicate a combination of immaturity of how to conduct world affairs whilst engaging in industrial scale intimidating tactics.

"While Australia is physically and economically smaller than China, our heart, moral courage and integrity will prevail.

"The freedom-loving countries of the world need to unite and speak out against a nation that actively seeks to diminish the values we cherish, such as democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

"Countries need to reconsider their economic engagement with China and build economic self-sufficiency as much as possible, lest they face potential economic coercion or actions to undermine their nation’s sovereignty, as is evidenced recently in Australia but also in other nations."

Speaking after Zhao's post, Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison said: "Australia is seeking an apology from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from the Chinese government, for this outrageous post.

"We are also seeking its removal immediately and have also contacted Twitter to take it down immediately."

A statement subsequently issued by the Chinese embassy in Canberra said: "The rage and roar of some Australian politicians and media is nothing but misreading of an overreaction to Mr Zhao’s tweet."
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