The great wall of silence: our failure to confront China’s cyber attacks

Australia’s silence on cyber attacks and intellectual property theft emanating from China is representative of a broader silence on irritants and fundamental differences in the bilateral relationship. It doesn’t serve Australia’s national interests.

In what is a bipartisan phenomenon, we have taken our relationship with China and decided, in contrast to all others, to walk on eggshells and handle it with “kid gloves”. In so doing, we allow the Chinese state to set new precedents without being challenged – on cyber attacks and economic espionage, on political interference and coercion, on narrative creep and on human rights (notwithstanding Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s recent rare comments on human rights abuses in Xinjiang).

There is a lot at stake as we attempt to balance our economic and security interests, but there is an element of schizophrenia to our attempts to “get the China relationship right”. There is no right path forward that will please everyone. But there is a wrong path, and we are in danger of taking it.

In what look like anxious efforts to manage all aspects of the China relationship and deny differences, what has become starkly apparent is what’s not being said. The silenc prevails even in an environment where the government has made some tough and important decisions, including on the exclusion of “high-risk vendors” for the 5G communications network and the passing of new security legislation on foreign interference. ..Read More..

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