Even as China’s trust deficit with other major world economies rises, its recent political and military muscle-flexing exacerbates this mistrust. China, which has seen its relations with the US nosediving in the last two years over the trade war, is finding itself more and more isolated.
Sample this. A recent public poll conducted by Sydney's Lowy Institute showed that only 23 per cent of the Australians believed that China would act responsibly with the rest of the world. The number has fallen from 52 per cent in 2018.
The two countries signed a free trade agreement (FTA) just a couple of years ago. However, since then the relation between the two countries has deteriorated. Former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull even alleged that the Chinese Communist Party’s interference in the internal affairs of the country was rising.
“Turnbull told Parliament late last year he was concerned by reports of Chinese Communist Party interference in Australia’s media, universities and politics. These included close ties and donations by Chinese interests made to an opposition lawmaker, who later resigned over the issue,” a Reuters report said.
Similarly, the summit between the European Union (EU) and China that sought to cool relations between the two failed to achieve the purpose over the latter’s role in handling the spread of the pandemic and its repression against Hong Kong protesters. The EU reiterated after the summit that human rights and fundamental freedom remain non-negotiable.
“While the two have said that the summit was fruitful, many countries are not happy with the way China has been acting in the recent past,” an analyst on condition of anonymity told IN. Reports of China-US tensions amid the trade war have made headlines several times in the last two years.
In the last few weeks, China has launched an unprecedented offensive with several countries including India, Japan, and Taiwan. China’s military aggression over the Line of Actual Control, killing 20 Indian soldiers dead just a few days ago, led to widespread rise in anti-China sentiments. Several projects that were awarded to Chinese companies were scrapped following the clash. There have also been clarion calls by traders to boycott Chinese goods.
Beijing, however, has been trying to woo countries, especially the ones it has invested money in and which it wants to nurture as client states. It has waived off interest-free loans, which were to mature in 2020, given to African countries. China even tried to placate Australia; while it slapped trade sanctions on Australian goods, it decided to exempt tariff on 97 per cent of its products.
Despite China’s friendly gestures to some of the countries, there have been backlashes within these nations with citizens protesting over increasing control in their internal matters.
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