The Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid owned by People’s Daily, is stirring up trouble once again with an editorial that criticizes Australia’s approach to the South China Sea ruling and threatens that the country is “a paper cat who needs to be taught with a lesson.”
The Australian government has been quite vocal on the South China Sea issue, being one of the few Western nations to openly support the tribunal ruling. Thus, the editorial vehemently attacks Australia, calling it a “delirious” country with an “inglorious history.”
“It was at first an offshore prison of the UK and then became its colony, a source of raw materials, overseas market and land of investment,” read the (retread) Global Times history lesson. “This country was established through uncivilized means, in a process filled with the tears of the aboriginals.”
The editorial then goes on to accuse Australia of “trying to please U.S.” and “suppress China to gain leverage on its own economic interests.” Finally, the piece makes a direct threat: “If Australia steps into the South China Sea waters, it will be an ideal target for China to warn and strike.”
Last year, an Australian air force jet fighter flew over the South China Sea in a move to challenge China’s claim over the region. In return, they received a strongly-worded editorial from the Global Times saying that: “It would be a shame if a plane fell from the sky and it happened to be Australian.” Earlier this year, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop hit back with some strong words of her own, wondering out loud if other countries will get access to reclaimed South China Sea islands and the peaceful wonders that Beijing is building there.
This latest Global Times piece does partly come as a surprise, as Chinese state media has been putting in a lot of work in the past month trying to contain the rising nationalistic sentiments among the public and censor calls for war. However, the editorial should be taken with a grain of salt as the Global Times has a notorious track record of being a right-wing mouthpiece, tasked with spouting out outrageous attacks against foreign powers.
Two months ago, China’s Cyberspace Leading Group, the highest authority on the Internet and mass media, issued a warning to the Global Times, stating that “the content of the newspaper exaggerates foreign threats and disrupts online information distribution.” The Global Times was ordered to rectify its news department in a month.
Looks like they’ll need longer than that.