Chinese Regime Targets Home Affairs Minister in Propaganda Push

By Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark
Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian based reporter who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.
April 22, 2020Updated: April 22, 2020

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has targeted Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in its latest attempt to deflect blame over the regime’s mishandling of the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic on April 21.

The regime’s embassy complained about Dutton’s calls for transparency in a media release.

Dutton told the Nine Network on April 17 that he thought it was China’s duty “to answer those questions and provide the information” to give people clarity and so that it doesn’t happen again.

“We don’t want it to be repeated and we know this is not the first instance of a virus being spread from the wildlife wet markets [in China] and we need to be honest about that,” he said.

Government Support For Dutton

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on April 22 in an interview with the ABC that the regime’s comments about Peter Dutton were “unwanted and unjustified.”

Frydenberg said that while Australia and China maintain a good relationship at the commercial level, “ultimately Peter Dutton’s role, the prime minister’s role, my role, and all my colleagues’ role is to defend Australia’s national interest and that is what we will continue to do and we will speak up about it as required.”

The Australian media have also increasingly been a target of the CCP. The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, and the Daily Telegraph have all raised the ire of the Chinese regime for their reporting on the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.

Global Propaganda Campaign

Australia is not alone in receiving this treatment from the CCP. Internationally, the CCP has been pushing a global propaganda campaign in an attempt to change the narrative around the outbreak and it is targeting media outlets and politicians.

In the United Kingdom, the regime’s embassy has published 13 separate media releases in the past three months attacking different UK news outlets including The Economist, The Times, and The Guardian for reporting that the outbreak came from China.

Meanwhile, in France, the French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian summoned the Chinese envoy over public statements the embassy made regarding France’s handling of the outbreak. The remarks by an anonymous Chinese diplomat accused western media and politicians of abandoning their people and of slandering China.

Countries around the world are currently rethinking their relations with China. Foreign minister for the United Kingdom, Dominic Raab said on April 16 it cannot “be business as usual” with China “after this crisis.”

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne has called for an “independent international” investigation into the CCP’s handling of the outbreak. In an interview with the ABC on April 21, Payne signalled that Australia would also be reviewing its relationship with China.

Payne said, “I do think that relationships between China and its partners, Australia and China, will be changed in some ways.”

She added that Australia has a “well-founded” relationship with China.

However “all of these things will need to be reviewed, will need to be considered in the light of changes in the world economy, in the light of changes in international health security, and so many other things. And that is the work that we are doing at the moment,” she said.