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Rudd’s bumps on China’s humps

20 August, 2009

With the detention of Stern Hu, and Chinese official protest over the Australian government granting a visa to Rebiya Kadeer (who Chinese authorities blame for organising deadly riots last month), PM Rudd  has warned there are more bumps ahead with Sino-Australia relations, says the ABC.

Our challenge in managing these relationships is simply to negotiate those bumps in the road as they occur.

Economically, China is very important for Australia, and China has enormous interests in Australia – as Rudd continues to ‘remind’ the CCP leaders in Beijing. China overtook Japan as Australia’s largest export market last year (with two-way trade worth $53 billion last year according to Reuters). But these events elucidate the troubles that can arise when an open economy/open politics country interacts with a country that is more closed with its politics: so long as politics are kept out of the equation, things are likely to run smoothly.

This comes amid official Chinese protest over the inclusion of a documentary about Rebiya Kadeer in the Melbourne Film Festival. This also prompted three Chinese directors to withdraw their films from the event according to news.com.au. Artistically, the withdrawal of these directors is a shame, as I’ve always considered one of the principles of creativity (which I assume most filmmakers possess), to be the ability to explore and reconcile opposing points of view (although Michael Moore fails in this respect also, as he lets politics get in the road not only of the truth, but also of a good story).

Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has stressed that Australia’s issuing a visa does not mean it supports any Uighur separatist movement, says Reuters.

“We have a long-standing position to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Western Provinces so far as China is concerned,” Smith said.

So while there are a few humps that Chinese authorities appear unlikely to address in the near future (for example, the distinction between separatist movements and those to gain more autonomy for a region), it is likely to continue causing bumps in its relations with other nations, if the Australian government sticks to its principles of advocating free speech and political freedom. This will continue to be the case as China’s economic clout provides it with potential bargaining power over non-economic issues.

Interestingly but not surprisingly, China turned Rudd’s “pressure” regarding the detention of Stern Hu on it’s head, by arguing that his detention shows China is implementing rule of law, which is likely to attract foreign investors, not drive them away.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. 21 August, 2009 7:55 am

    Ruddock thought the granting of the visa ‘misguided’.

  2. 22 August, 2009 1:13 am

    Laurie Oak’s recent article in the Herald Sun hits it right between the eyes. http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25962972-5000117,00.html

    Malcolm [in the middle?] and Bishop do themselves no favours with this charade. Ruddock we can expect to question the issuing of a visa. “did someone say t..t…terrorist?”

    And it’s worth pointing out that Premier Li Peng (in Laurie Oak’s Keating anecdote) was the same hardliner who help force out reformer Zhao Ziyang after (or rather moments before) the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

  3. 22 August, 2009 4:32 pm

    From qanda video mashup, ‘Kevin Rudd’s’ knock knock jokes:

    Knock knock
    Who’s there?
    Howard
    Howard who?
    Howard you like it if you lost an election and your own seat

    Knock knock
    Who’s there?
    Stern
    Stern Hu?
    My sentiments exactly…..

  4. 23 August, 2009 1:02 pm

    hmmm, well jokes aside, the opposition really needs to lift their game. Perhaps they just don’t have enough experience on the other side of the chamber 🙂

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