4. Australia: Managing a dilemma
The economic, geographic and geopolitical considerations for Australia are quite different to New Zealand’s. Where New Zealand is a remote, moderately small island nation with a relatively small population, Australia is a wealthy if massive sparsely occupied country with its main population centres concentrated on the eastern and southern coasts, it is rich in resources and poised on the southern periphery of Asia. With a GDP of USD1,432.2 billion its economy is nearly five times that of New Zealand’s and its population of 25.1 million is more than five times as large.
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3. New Zealand: Pragmatic trader
With an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of some 4 million km2 (and continental shelf rights that cover another 1.7 million km2 beyond), much of New Zealand’s air and sea defence resources are dedicated to monitoring and securing the fisheries and resources in its surrounding seas and also to providing civil defence and other support to its Pacific island neighbours. Significantly, of New Zealand’s top five trading partners, China accounts for 24.9% of New Zealand’s total exports (USD9.6 billion) with Australia coming in behind at 14.8% (USD5.7 billion), the USA at 9.6% (USD3.7 billion), Japan at 6.3% (USD2.4 billion) and South Korea at 3.1% (USD1.2 billion).
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Media critics Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky detailed in their Propaganda Model how propaganda and systemic biases function in corporate mass media. This work has been extended by David Edwards and David Cromwell of medialens.org in their critique of the UK media— particularly of supposedly liberal outlets, such as the BBC and The Guardian. It is therefore not unexpected that the Australian government owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) might fill a similar position in the media landscape. This article is based on a search of all ABC articles and news items during the month of July that related to the search terms China, Chinese, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Uyghur.
Analysis of this listing shows that ABC reporting on China in July 2019 saw a significant ramp up in tone and stridency of the anti-China reporting—firstly in relation to the protests in Hong Kong and then the focus turned to Xinjiang—the centre-point of which was an ABC 4 Corners documentary “Tell The World” that screened on 15 July. Other key themes in the reporting during the month centred on Chinese influence in Australian universities; Chinese militarism (South China Sea and spying on the Talisman Sabre war games); repression, censorship and corrupt legal system; the economic effects on Australia of the Trump administration’s trade war; and Chinese drug cheats and gamblers.
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