Treasurer’s scathing rebuke of China’s ‘bully’ comment
China has been lashed for its bullying of smaller nations as Australia's Treasurer vowed to also continue speaking out on human rights injustices in his harshest language yet regarding Beijing's brinkmanship.
Responding to comments by Chinese President Xi Jinping that the "strong should not bully the weak," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg boldly questioned how the "sentiment" fitted with the Asian superpower's own behaviour, particularly in the trade arena.
"There seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the words and the actions," he said.
"The reality is Australia has been on the receiving end of some pretty harsh actions when it comes to trade, but we won't compromise on the national interests (or) … on our values."
In a scathing take-down, Mr Frydenberg warned that the list of grievances China aired at Australia were actually "non-negotiable" issues for the government.
"The fact that a politician elected democratically into the Parliament should have the right to speak as they see fit," he said.
"The fact that we are taking decisions on foreign investment that are very much in our national interest.
"And of course, on human rights, we'll continue to speak out where there are injustices as we've done in the past."
Mr Xi used his virtual speech at the World Economic Forum this week to deliver a thinly veiled warning to US President Joe Biden not to follow the Trump administration's tough stance on China.
He also attacked multilateral groups that seek to combat China's power, such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between Australia, the US, Japan and India.
"To build small circles or start a new Cold War, to reject, threaten or intimidate others, to wilfully impose decoupling, supply disruption or sanctions, and to create isolation or estrangement will only push the world into division and even confrontation," Mr Xi said.
In the past 12 months China has targeted Australian exports, slapping products including wine and barley with huge tariffs, or halting coal.
Earlier this month Chinese representatives attempted to derail Australia's human rights review at the United Nations by using the process to accuse the Morrison Government of using "false information" to make "baseless charges" against other countries.
Originally published as Treasurer's scathing rebuke of China's 'bully' comment