China’s deputy ambassador has lashed Australia for banning Huawei in a fresh attack accusing the government of illegal and immoral conduct.
Australia was the first country to ban the Chinese communications behemoth from its 5G network in 2018, with the move a key turning point in souring diplomatic ties.
Wang Xining, who is China’s deputy head of mission in Australia, questioned why intelligence forces had the “guts” to claim Huawei posed a threat.
“Australia connived with the United States in a very unethical, illegal, immoral suppression of Chinese companies,” he told the National Press Club on Wednesday.
Mr Wang said Australia was among western nations with a strong tradition of eavesdropping and “digging into others’ houses”.
He said if Australia believed in a barbaric model of devour others or be devoured it should be honest.
“Don’t try to pretend that you have the moral high ground,” the high-ranking diplomat said.
“The Huawei Australia company suffered a lot because of the unethical deeds by your government.”
The deputy ambassador said he didn’t see any obstacle for the resumption of normal China-Australia relations if Canberra stopped interfering in Beijing’s affairs.
Australia has been a strident critic of human rights abuses that have been documented against Uighurs in Xinjiang.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne has condemned restrictions on the freedom of religion, mass surveillance, extra-judicial detentions, forced labour and sterilisation but stopped short of sanctions.
In addressing the issue, Mr Wang referenced a Chinese science-fiction movie about aliens invading the earth and putting two billion people in Australia to use as food.
“There’s a scenario where people got very nasty in Australia, because there are two billion people here,” he said.
“So think about putting every Australian in Xinjiang, which is identical to the land size of Queensland and have a vast occupation of desert. The issue is far more sophisticated in Xinjiang.”
Australia has a similar population to the Chinese region.
In another sign Beijing would retain its muscular approach to criticism, Mr Wang said the Chinese people saw themselves as hard-working cattle, like ox – the zodiac sign of 2021.
“We like to share our yoke with all partners to plough through the difficulties caused by COVID-19 and sail through this trying time,” he said.
“But at the same time, China is not a cow. I don’t think anybody should fancy the idea to milk China when she’s in her prime and plot to slaughter it in the end.
“So we are open for collaboration and cooperation, but we’ll be very strong in defending our national interest.”
He said Australian media oversimplified China’s politics and lacked a truthful, objective or sophisticated understanding of the country.
But he also expressed sympathy with Australian correspondents who left China after pressure from security forces
“We’ll continue to discuss and we’ll find out a solution for this.”
It is the first time since the mid-1970s no Australian media company has a presence in China.