is really doing is sending a political shot across the bows,” said Peter Jennings, the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a think tank. “They're saying to Australia: Don't make a fuss about an open and independent investigation.” China
has too much at stake to destroy its trading relationship with Australia
entirely, Jennings said, and has left alone its biggest Australian imports like iron ore and coal because it needs a reliable supplier.
is not backing down. “We are standing our ground on our values and the things that we know are always important,” Australia
Prime Minister Scott Morrison
said. He said Australia draws clear lines on certain issues “and those things are not to be traded, ever."
Last year, Beijing
blocked imports of canola as it stepped up pressure for Canada to release a Huawei
executive who was detained on US charges. It blocked imports of Philippine bananas in 2012 in a dispute over territory in South China Sea.
In 2010, it blocked imports of Norwegian salmon and cancelled trade talks after Liu Xiaobo got Nobel Peace Prize.