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Australia pays painful economic price for its China criticism

Business leaders jittery after Canberra's call for COVID inquiry

| Australia
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, pictured on Dec. 11: many countries are watching how his forthright approach to China plays out.   © APP/Reuters

Lionel Barber is former editor of the Financial Times and chairman of the Tate art galleries. He is author of "The Powerful and the Damned: Private Diaries in Turbulent Times."

When the Australian government called last April for an independent inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, few anticipated the resulting breakdown in bilateral relations with China.

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