Former Australian PM Tony Abbott writes:
Just five years ago, most of us were China optimists. We thought that economic freedom would eventually lead to political liberalisation too. However long it might take, China was getting more like us. In any event, we thought, provided China was respected in its region, it had no history of larger ambitions so would continue to be an economic opportunity rather than a strategic threat.
That was me. China seemed to be heading in the right direction.
There has been the militarisation of the South China Sea; the bullying of neighbours, even India; the trade boycotts against Australia; the abrogation of the one country, two systems treaty on Hong Kong; the mass internment of the Uighurs; and, most dangerous for the wider world, the growing belligerence towards Taiwan — a liberal democracy of 25 million people that should not have to submit just because it was part of China more than 100 years and two world wars ago.
The Taiwanese should determine their own future, and not be forced back under authoritarian rule.
The fact it’s the US and its allies calling out the mistreatment of the Uighurs, rather than their fellow Muslims, shows that our moral aspirations are colourblind and creed-free; but that hasn’t averted an epidemic of self-criticism about our record on race, sometimes verging on self-loathing.
Sadly the vast majority of Muslim states in the Middle East have explicitly backed what China is doing, and wrote to the UN to say so.