As recently reported in The BFD, “daigou” (meaning, “buy on behalf of”) has become a massive business for Chinese expats in Australia. In many ways, daigou is a smart bit of entrepreneurship: buying in-demand Australian-made items and mailing it to the folks back home.
Unfortunately, there’s a blurred line between entrepreneurship and blatant pillaging. Chinese shoppers stripping shelves of baby formula has become common in Australian supermarkets. Video evidence shows small groups of people circumventing buying limits by walking in and out of supermarkets, stockpiling pallet-loads outside. Anecdotally, several retail workers contacted me following the previous article, reporting that such things are routine.
It gets worse, though.
Bulk supplies of vital medical items were shipped from Sydney to China at the request of a Beijing-backed property giant as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in Australia.
Greenland Group, which manages property developments across the globe with the support of the Chinese government, told employees at its Sydney office to stop their normal work in January.
Instead, they were tasked with sourcing face masks, hand sanitisers, thermometers and other medical items, storing them at their office and shipping them to China.
A whistleblower told The Sydney Morning Herald the exercise was a worldwide effort and continued until the end of February.
‘Basically all employees, the majority of whom are Chinese, were asked to source whatever medical supplies they could,’ the insider said.
This was no small-scale operation, either.
Greenland Group told Chinese language media in Australia the company collected three million protective masks, 700,000 hazmat suits and 500,000 pairs of medical gloves during the global effort.
Not all of that material was sourced from Australia, of course. But if one Chinese company was doing this, you can be assured that others were, too. At a time when Western countries were facing imminent shortages, Chinese companies were pillaging them in more-or-less secrecy: after all, if someone hadn’t blown the whistle, who would have picked it up from Chinese-language media?
Greenland Group confirmed the shipments from Sydney to China in a statement to Daily Mail Australia, saying it ‘felt compelled’ to assist ‘in efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus, which had caused a shortage of critical medical supplies in China'[…]
‘The second batch of non-contact forehead thermometers will soon take off to China! Coronavirus situation is serious, Chinese people, local and overseas, are trying their best, fighting together to combat the virus.’
Commenters have also argued that most countries source medical supplies from overseas. This is true – but they do it openly. They don’t stealthily organise wholesale pillaging behind other countries’ backs.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government is scrambling to produce enough medical supplies as confirmed local coronavirus cases surge to more than 2,400 – and doubling about every three days[…]Australia has only one face mask factory in operation, The Med-Con in Shepparton, a regional area of northern Victoria.
The time to rebuild vital manufacturing capacity in the West, and to curtail China’s “silent invasion”, is long past. China has proved beyond all doubt that it is not a trustworthy global citizen.
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