The dividing lines drawn in Australia and New Zealand

The China Letter: April 27, 2021

A friendly economic link between Australia and China was cut around the same time New Zealand took a stand against leveraging relationships forged in the Second World War to condemn Beijing. But the Chinese government continues to square off against other nations including Hollywood. All that and more in this week’s free news recap:

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New views around Oceania

The recent tensions around Australia had built with a backdrop of a 2018 memorandum of understanding between China’s international development committee and the southeastern state of Victoria—as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. But the deal has been cancelled by the federal government amid a dramatic week:

New Zealand’s foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta said she’d rather not invoke the Five Eyes alliance with other countries to speak beyond the intelligence-related issues for which it was formed eight decades ago. It’s raised questions about whether Australia will end up divided with its neighbour nation by having a markedly different view on China.

Kingdom united to fight

A motion declaring current genocide in China was unanimously passed for the first time in the U.K., as part of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China seeking to secure votes like these around the world. But the motion is also a non-binding one in the face of Beijing’s continued denial that there are currently human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

A new model of reaction

Can Western brands recover from consumer backlash in China?” asked BBC News in light of how H&M and others faced censure after speaking out against the treatment of Uighur Muslims. NBC News also probed how those brands are being treated a month later, which includes official anger at a specific actress from Japan:

A best picture backlash

Nomadland director Chloé Zhao was born in Beijing, where social media posts complimenting her Academy Awards were officially forbidden, forcing users to figure out workarounds. “We hope she can become more and more mature,” chastised the state media Global Times, in reference to how Zhao has previously criticized China.

The last words, for now

The future of advertising was foreshadowed in Shanghai when 1,500 LED-equipped drones took over the night sky as part of video-streaming company Bilibili marketing the Japanese role-playing game Princess Connect! Re:Dive. Making it newsworthy was the final touch: a QR code that allowed the game to appear on phones that scanned it:

The China Letter is produced by the Canadian Freedom Institute, a think tank based in Canada. We produce the China Letter every week to keep you informed and to press the ideas of free markets and free people not only in China but around the world. Please consider donating to keep this newsletter running!

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