Events planned for a key diplomatic anniversary with Australia this week are unlikely to heal an increasingly fraught dispute over China's influence in Australia, China's state-controlled media and Chinese analysts in Beijing say.
- China reminds Australia that it provides a lot of benefit to the country through trade
- Op-eds and cartoons suggest that Canberra is a puppet of Washington
- The comments come on the heels of heated remarks over China's interference in Australia
On Thursday, Australian diplomats will attend a function at Beijing's historic Diaoyutai Guest House to mark 45 years since Australia established ties with the People's Republic.
China pays great importance to diplomatic anniversaries but this year's low-key function is being heavily overshadowed by what the Communist Party's own mouthpiece describes as "hysterical paranoia" in Australia.
For months, China's Government has used the more jingoistic elements of its vast media empire to launch increasingly shrill attacks on Australia over the concerns about Communist Party influence.
But in recent days it upped the ante by issuing an editorial in the official People's Daily last night, which described the debate about China's influence in Australia as being "full of racial undertones".
"This type of hysterical paranoia is full of racial undertones and is a stain on Australia's image as a multicultural society," it wrote.
A more-moderate outlet, the State Council's China Daily, described Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull as being, "determined to play his new role as China-basher-in-chief".
It comes after an official rebuke from China's Foreign Ministry last night in response to Mr Turnbull citing media reports about Chinese Communist Party influence in Australia.
Turnbull remarks 'detrimental to China-Australia relations
"You may have noticed that the relevant remarks of the Australian leaders have aroused attention in China," Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said last night.
"We advise them to refrain from those remarks that are detrimental to their own images and China-Australia relations."
Mr Turnbull previously said the allegations of interference raised in the reports were part of the justification for upgraded anti-espionage laws.
China's Government responded that it was "shocked" an Australian leader would cite "ideologically biased" reports in the nation's Parliament.
Mr Turnbull's effort to use mandarin over the weekend to help contextualise Australia's increasingly wary stance towards China was also lambasted by Communist Party media.
Mr Turnbull used Chinese to say, "The Australian people have stood up" and compared it with the revolutionary-era Communist Party slogan, "The Chinese people have stood up" to emphasise each nation's right to sovereignty.
"Australia … absurdly claims the country [China] that created opportunities for it is an increasingly dangerous state," the official People's Daily wrote last night — China is Australia's largest trading partner.
"A person with a dark mind cannot walk into the sunshine."
Social media users on highly censored Chinese social media platform Weibo also heavily criticised Mr Turnbull's comparison between China's post-Japanese occupation and post-civil war situation and that of contemporary Australia.
While Beijing has been issuing criticisms of Australia's stance publicly, Australian diplomats in China have also become increasingly accustomed in their meetings to fielding questions from Chinese counterparts about why Australia is "harming" relations.
'The anti-China chorus in Australia'
Unlike the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties five years ago, the 45th lunch in Beijing this week will not feature any Australian ministers.
This reflects the anniversary's less important status, but China has also been signalling it doesn't expect a quick reset.
The English-language China Daily this week suggested, "the anti-China chorus in Australia" meant the "celebrations will have to be put on hold".
The lunch is going ahead.
Chinese foreign policy specialists say to improve ties, more people-to-people contact is needed.
"The most important thing is for the two sides to have real communication," Professor Chen Hong of East China Normal University said.
"A true exchange of opinion helps us to dispel any kind of uncertainty between the two countries."