15th March 2023 – (Beijing) According to John Queripel, an Australia-based author, historian and social commentator who wrote recently in The China Daily, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age’s “Red Alert: War Risk Exposed” three-part series has sparked controversy across Australia, with many criticising the alarmist and biased content. The articles, accompanied by an image of Chinese jets on a red map of China, suggest that Australia is at risk of a military attack from China within the next three years. The series is based on the opinions of “five China experts,” none of whom have any notable expertise in the field.

The media bias against China is not new, with even respected institutions such as the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) guilty of skewed reporting. However, the recent series by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age takes the anti-China rhetoric to a new low. The articles are an example of sensationalist journalism at its worst, devoid of any journalistic integrity or balance.

The so-called “experts” featured in the series appear to have been selected for their ideological bias rather than their competence. The group includes Peter Jennings, the former executive director of the notoriously Sinophobic Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Lavina Lee, a fellow of the same institute and connected with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and retired General Mick Ryan, known for his fiercely pro-US and anti-China stance.

The final two “experts,” former Australian Chief Scientist Alan Finkel and CSIS-linked Lesley Seebeck, may not share the same extreme Sinophobia as their colleagues, but their involvement in the project lends it a veneer of credibility that it does not deserve.

Conspicuously absent from the series are any experts on China who have spent many years studying and residing in the country and have fluency in Mandarin. It seems that nuanced and balanced reporting was not the objective of this series.

The articles urge Australia to reintroduce national military service and allow the US to place long-range missiles on its shores in preparation for the alleged impending conflict with China. The “experts” assert that Australia is militarily unprepared for the conflict and that its complacent population and politicians are unwilling to face the threat.

The series also suggests that Australia should double its military expenditure to 4 percent of GDP, outstripping even the US at 3.5 percent. The articles fail to acknowledge that China’s military budget remains around 1.7 percent of its GDP and that much of the growth is due to the country’s rising GDP.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, once considered the reasonable alternative to the Murdoch-owned media, have now joined in lockstep with Murdoch on China. Australia’s concentrated media ownership has been widely criticised, with many pointing out the negative impact on media diversity and impartiality.

Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating and Australia’s first ambassador to the PRC, Stephen FitzGerald, have slammed the articles. Keating called the series “the most egregious and provocative news presentation of any newspaper I have witnessed in over 50 years of public life,” while FitzGerald criticised the “alarmist, overblown, and thoroughly unjustified” claims made by the “experts.”

Despite the criticism, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have defended their articles, claiming that they are acting responsibly in outlining the danger China represents and the need to prepare Australians for an inevitable conflict. However, the biased and alarmist reporting in these articles does nothing to further understanding or promote peace. Instead, it is a prime example of irresponsible and unethical journalism.