China’s state-run news agency was not at all pleased after Australia decided to stop Chinese bidders from fulfilling a $10 billion corporate purchase. Australia has recently denied a bid from China’s State Grid Corporation for Ausgrid, the country’s largest electricity network.
On Thursday, Xinhua published an opinion piece condemning the decision as a dangerous paranoia.
In an interview with ABC, Australia’s Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison explained that the decision was due to “national security concerns.”
“Ausgrid’s footprint includes critical power and communications services that Ausgrid provides to business and government,” he said. “The national security concerns are not country-specific and relate to the transaction structure and the nature of the assets.”
Xinhua’s Luo Jun sees such reaction as the country having “China-phobia” and “paranoia”.
“Given China’s dramatic development, huge population and unique culture, it is understandable for some countries to have concerns over China’s role and impact on the world,” his opinion piece opened.
The article then went on to warn that Australia’s apparent display of “fear and bias” over the China’s progress might influence a “toxic mindset of China-phobia and blockade win-win co-operation”.
The piece, News.com points out, is basically blaming Australia for preventing the two nations’ mutual growth by stopping the purchase.
It further states that Morrison’s concerns over national security were ridiculous:
“To suggest that China would try to kidnap the countries’ electricity network for ulterior motive is absurd and almost comical, since it is widely recognized in the world that business reputation is critical to any corporate activity,” it said.
Xinhua also stressed how such investment would prove beneficial for both countries: “It will not be a zero-sum game for China and Australia, or China and Britain in such deals, as they bound their interests together for either mutual benefit or common loss.”
The article concluded with more accusations of Australia being paranoid over the issue. “The paranoia over Chinese investment is becoming a real problem that goes against such efforts.”
“Behind the hurdles lies the dangerous mindset of China-phobia that needs to be addressed through open and sincere communication, as well as a fair and objective perspective.”
Interestingly, Bob Carr, Australia’s former Minister for Foreign Affairs seems to agree with such sentiment. “The Treasurer is conceding to economic populism in the Senate and sacrificing the health of the New South Wales budget and jobs and investment in infrastructure,” he was quoted as saying.
In response to the criticisms, Defense Industry Minister Christopher Pyne denied the decision had anything to do with Xenophobia. He told Nine Network: “This has nothing to do with whether the business was Chinese, whether it was United States, whether it’s Great Britain. It wasn’t a decision based on the race of the bidders; it was a decision on national security.”