… or “We’ll decide who comes into this country” – John Howard.
So we’ve had a record deal with the Chinese on the one hand for natural gas into the future, and a rather heavy diplomatic cooling on the other. What’s new?
The Opposition did their best to behave like an Opposition on issues they fundamentally agree with the government on. Clarke and Dawe captured that beautifully on The 7.30 Report last night.
KERRY O’BRIEN, PRESENTER: Time now for John Clarke, Bryan Dawe and Joe Hockey, giving credit where it’s due.
BRYAN DAWE: Joe Hockey, thanks for your time.
JOHN CLARKE: It’s very good to be with you Bryan and good evening.
BRYAN DAWE: You’re pleased at the announcement of this big new gas deal off the West Australian Coast, weren’t you?
JOHN CLARKE: Yeah I’m delighted, Bryan I’m always very keen on anything that goes to the benefit of Australia and Australians, I don’t apologise for that Bryan, neither do I resile from it. I don’t apologise for that at all.
BRYAN DAWE: This is the biggest business deal in Australian history?
JOHN CLARKE: It is, it’s great for the West Bryan, It’s great for business and it’s great for Australia.
BRYAN DAWE: Also, you said it was organised by the Howard Government?…
The Chinese have been particularly miffed by our giving a visa allowing what they see as a “Muslim terrorist” and “splittist” into the country. As The People’s Daily reports:
The decision was the latest sign that ties between the two countries are strained.
"Australia very much regrets that China decided to take that response," Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told Parliament yesterday.
China’s Foreign Ministry yesterday refused to comment.
Kadeer, who lives in exile in the US, was allowed to visit Australia, despite strong protests from Beijing…
Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull accused Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a Mandarin-speaking former diplomat to Beijing, of bringing bilateral relations to "the lowest ebb that they have been for many, many years".
"He obviously has no leverage with China left at all," Turnbull said.
Chen Fengying, an expert at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said it was "natural" for China to have made the move because it was dissatisfied with Australia granting Kadeer a visa…
On Rebiya Kadeer see Amnesty International.
Since the late 1980s, Chinese government policies and other factors have generated growing ethnic discontent in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. In the past few years, thousands of people there have been the victims of gross human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, unfair political trials, torture, and summary executions. These violations, suffered primarily by members of the Uighur ethnic group, occur amidst growing ethnic unrest fueled by unemployment, discrimination and restrictions on religious and cultural freedoms. The situation has led some people living in the XUAR to favor independence from China.
Crackdowns in the region intensified after September 11, 2001, with authorities designating supporters of independence as “separatists” and “terrorists.” Uighurs, most of whom are Muslim, have been the main targets in the region of the Chinese authorities. Authorities have closed down mosques, detained Islamic clergy, and severely curtailed freedom of expression and association.