Why won’t China pick up the phone?

Jerry Grey
6 min readJun 7, 2023

Australia is in a position to help save the world from a war which is moving increasingly away from avoidable and into inevitable according to some so-called experts.

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Australia’s biggest problem is the hostility of their media to China and that media is controlled by too few people, all of whom have managed to influence the Australian public towards some degree of Anti-China hostility — apparently 52% of Australian do not want a war with China but that isn’t because they support China in any way, it’s because they do not support war — we need to be careful to keep the two things separated, Australians, at least most of the Australians I deal with, don’t like China very much, they just know that going into a proxy war on behalf of the USA will rain down death and destruction on them while the US will move their corporations in to rebuild and sell them weapons to fight on.

The current government has just a couple more years to turn this around in this term, if they spend 18 months being cautious and then 18 months being more assertive against USA and a little more compromising toward China, I believe the results will speak volumes or themselves. They absolutely need to show some wins before they can start to describe China to their constituents as anything other than a strong challenge — they need to frame their wording, which they do, so that China isn’t offended and they need to frame their wording so they don’t further alienate an already hostile public

Australia’s ABC says it’s important for China and USA to reopen dialogue, the Financial Review says the risk is bigger than the reward and the message from Anthony Albanese, at last week’s Asia Security conference was clear: “The Stability of our region can only be assured through collective responsibility”. He went on to say “big powers have a heavy responsibility to maintain stable and responsible working relations with one another” What’s most interesting about this is that he was quoting Li Qiang, the recently appointed Premier of China.

This quote has opened the floodgates to critics citing the fact that China refuses to pick up the phone but those very critics are missing the most important key word; that word is responsibility. This is something that China must surely feel is missing. Not just in recent months but during preceding years and through preceding administrations.

Look back to February 2021, the first phone call between the two leaders. Despite referring to Xi as a thug, just a few weeks before, Biden addressed Xi as an old friend but then promised he would not be winding back any of the tariffs imposed during the Trump era. Biden jumped on the much-disputed Human Rights abuse claims in what the BBC consistently misnames the “province” of Xinjiang.

As an aside here: Is it too much to ask an editor of any journalistic integrity to learn that the region is called the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region? Or, is the word autonomous too much of a giveaway for their narrative? Perhaps it would raise too many questions as to why, if it’s autonomous, are the Uyghurs persecuting themselves?

Biden could just send his Ambassador to do what Islamic leaders did in January last year and again, envoys from 14 other countries did in April last year; and 34 more from the Arab League did just last week; Ambassador Burns could visit and see for himself.

Moving on to their first face-to-face meeting as leaders, Biden was once again on the offensive, it at the G20 in Bali in November last year where he once again “assured President Xi of the US commitment to the One China Policy” but this was only weeks after the ill-advised Pelosi visit and only 4 months later Tsai was welcomed into the USA by her successor.

They wonder why China is not picking up the phone to take their calls. The Shanghai Communique was signed more than 50 years ago and included such phrases as: the USA’s declaration that they would: “progressively reduce its forces and all military installations. While, in contradiction, it quietly admits to increasing boots on the ground and frequently announces further arms sales.

One of the other commitments made in the Shanghai Communique was the commitment, which both parties agreed and signed up to, that ”Neither party shall seek hegemony in the Asia Pacific Region…” and “neither is prepared to negotiate on behalf of any third party…” Which begs the questions: what is the Quad; what is Five Eyes; and what is AUKUS? Seemingly, breaches of this clause. Not once but three times!

Putting the Taiwan Question, as China likes to call it, to one side, there is an old Hollywood idiom that the “white man (paleface)speaks with forked tongue” and the world has, much to its own pain and cost, discovered this is true. When the American Native Populations were offered land in return for peace, despite the fact that it was already their own land, they accepted the terms, only to find over the next 250 years that land has diminished and their rights have eroded.

When the USA was founded as a country and they avowed that “all men are created equal under God”, they only meant white men, not the slaves who weren’t equal for another two centuries and some would argue are still not.

When Gorbachev received a verbal agreement with the Reagan Administration that NATO would not move one inch East, he believed them but the world now knows, this wasn’t true.

When freedom and democracy were promised to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, nothing of the sort was delivered and, even when the destruction was finished, if it is, US corporations move in as vultures to gorge on the spoils. The income from Iraq for one company alone, Haliburton, was almost $40 billion. With Dick Cheney, Bush’s Vice President sitting on the board and Eagleburger, Bush’s Secretary of State joining afterwards. Indeed, war is a profitable business and its no surprise that the Administration wants more of it.

Furthermore, while Secretary of Defense Austin is complaining that his Chinese opposite number refuses to meet with him, it must be remembered that any meeting with Defense Minister Li Shangfu, must take into account that Minister Li is subject to US sanctions. Cornell Law School states that before dealing with a sanctioned person, it would need a waiver from the President and that’s never been issued. The Trump administration did this in 2018, long before any Russians stepped into Ukraine because Minister Li had the temerity to deal with Russians over the sale of military equipment. All the while, Austin was, until appointed Secretary of Defense, a major shareholder in and on the board of Raytheon and United Technologies. Both organisations which have sold weapon technology to Taiwan and could, just for that link, have been sanctioned by China.

Additionally, based on many allegations, but without any evidence, the USA has sanctioned one of the poorest regions of China to protect its own cotton, tomato and solar panel industries. It has also sanctioned China’s semiconductor industry. Not to counter any real threat, other than another threat to their own industry and their own economy.

Anthony Albanese is right. Dialogue is imperative, War MUST be avoided, with great power does come great responsibility but with great responsibility there also comes a commitment to honesty and integrity. The USA could demonstrate an example of sincerity by some form of de-escalation: that could be in arm sales to Taiwan: removing unwarranted sanctions; easing economic coercions; reducing political rhetoric; or even just a little less nasty name calling of the country, and its leader, that they say they most want to talk with. Then, if China don’t pick up the phone they might have a legitimate complaint.

Watch a video recording of this article here: https://youtu.be/q0oAYd4n3ig

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Jerry Grey

I’m British born Australian living in Guangdong and have an MA in Cross Cultural Change Management. I write mostly positively about my China experiences