The editorial doesn’t mention Australia by name, however Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne issued a joint statement last Friday with her UK and Canadian counterparts saying the trio were “deeply concerned” about the proposals.
The leaders noted that under a joint declaration between China and the UK, Hong Kong is due to have a “high degree of autonomy” with rights of freedom, assembly, association, the press and others enshrined in law.
“Making such a law on Hong Kong’s behalf, without the direct participation of its people, legislature or judiciary, would clearly undermine the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, under which Hong Kong is guaranteed a high degree of autonomy.”
However many fear it could be a huge blow to the liberal city and mark the beginning of the end for Hong Kong controlling its own destiny.
The China Daily editorial said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former British governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten “and the others” could “spout whatever ‘double standards and gangster logic’ they like” but China would not “submit to intimidation or threats.”
The missive is the latest incident amid growing tensions between Western allies and China exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic that is still raging around the world.
Australia was the first to push for a global inquiry into the crisis and has suffered retaliation from China in the form of barley tariffs, economic threats and a ban on some meat exports.
“Yes man to one, liar to all,” read the caption of a drawing showing Australia riding a donkey in a reference to Don Quixote.
Another editorial published a week earlier branded remarks from US leaders in Washington “racist” after President Trump repeatedly referred to COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus”.
“They arouse hate toward a particular country and people from a particular continent,” the editorial read.
“From calling the virus the ‘Wuhan virus’ or ‘Kung fu virus’ or even ‘Chinese virus’ to fabricating the story about the virus leaking from a Chinese lab, senior officials from Washington have shown no restraint in expressing their racial animosity.
“It is despicable and ugly for US politicians to make such hateful remarks. They should be held accountable for the rise of racism in the US against members of the Asian-American community.
“Obviously, what is on the mind of Pompeo and his likes is only US self-interests, and Washington is not going to foot the bill for the lost Australian jobs,” the article said.
“Australia is already in a passive position in the face of wavering US policy. Canberra is forced to pick a side between Beijing and the Washington even when it is loath to jeopardise its relationship with China.”