An oppressive government is more to be feared than a tiger.
The problem with Australia in Asia has been that it is a country which is predominantly European in its culture, and despite its good economy and the fact it is well governed it is not a big economy. So our Asian neighbours can give us a bit of a kick once in a while knowing that nothing really will happen. Indonesia and Malaysia have done that before. Now China has started the offensive because we aren’t doing what we are told. The difference this time is that China is a major global country and economy and we do rely on it for our own well being.
However this doesn’t mean that we have to bend over and take it. China may succeed in developing a capitalist economy while maintaining an autocratic system of government that should have been swept away in 1989 with the rest of them, but this doesn’t mean it can dictate the same way of thinking to other countries.
Mutual respect is not to throw a wobbly because someone that you call a ‘terrorist’ has been granted a visa. In the comments page of an article in the China Daily one Chinese contributor writes:
Australia must understand the feeling of Chinese people. Rebiya Kadeer, a terrorist who trigger the July 5 Urumqi riot. Many innocent people were killed. How can her talk on the film. So we can see that many countries fight terrorists ,but they also support terrorists.
Apart from the argument whether Kadeer is a terrorist or not (one thing is actually plotting a terrorist attack, and another is supporting a separatist idea that may cause people to act violently – but can we attribute it directly to Kadeer?) Kadeer was here not invited by the government but by the Melbourne Film Festival and then invited to speak to the Press Club. These two organisations have nothing to do with the government. In fact the government may have disagree vehemently with her ideas, but this is no ground not to let her in the country.
The ‘Communist’ Chinese apparatchiks may remember John Russell, who was the Prime Minister of Britain when Engels and Marx were living in London, and refused to bow to the pressure of the Prussians to expel them, stating that as long they didn’t break any laws they were free in expressing an opinion, and stay in England.
The next test will come when the Dalai Lama will visit Australia in December. Maybe time for Rudd to organise that trip to Kiribati that is so important.