Australia Stands Up to an Unhinged Beijing Bullying Campaign
By HELEN RALEIGH
December 13, 2020
Wouldn’t you like to fight back tyranny by drinking wine? Not just any kind of wine — Australian wine.
The Australian wine industry is currently suffering. China’s recently imposed tariffs on Australian wine imports range from 107 percent to more than 200 percent. Australia used to export US$1 billion worth of wine to China annually; now, the Chinese market for Australian wine is expected to dry up overnight, as most Australian wines have nearly tripled in price, with some smaller wineries having to shut down for good.
Why did China impose such high tariffs on Australian wine? It is all part of Beijing’s ongoing bullying campaign against Australia, in an attempt to force Canberra to bend to Beijing’s will.
It began in April, when Australia led a coalition of more than 120 countries, demanding that the World Health Organization (WHO) conduct an “impartial, independent, and comprehensive evaluation of the international response to the pandemic, the actions of the WHO, and its ‘timeline’ of the pandemic.” Canberra indicated that such an inquiry is necessary for all countries to be better prepared for the next pandemic. Australia’s proposal was officially adopted by WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly, at its annual meeting in May.