Home / International / News Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Anti-China action in Australia 'politically motivated'
Adjust font size:

Several political actors have misrepresented Chinese and Australian leaders' friendships to serve their own interests, Chinese scholars have said of emergent anti-Chinese sentiment in Australia.

"Chinese companies often have purchase plans for Australian resources, but these apparently have hurt some people's interests," head of China Foreign Affairs University's Asia-Pacific Research Center Su Hao said.

Earlier this month, Australia's opposition party leader Malcolm Turnbull accused Prime Minister Kevin Rudd - a Chinese-speaking former diplomat and avowed Sinophile - of acting like a "roving ambassador" for Beijing.

Turnbull said he made the accusation because Rudd met with senior Communist Party of China (CPC) leader Li Changchun without notifying media, and he supports expanding China's say in the International Monetary Fund.

Australian Defense Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has become another target. In 2002 and 2005, Fitzgibbon took two undeclared trips to China, paid for by Beijing-born businesswoman Helen Liu. Turnbull last week linked the visits to Chinese companies' plans to buy Australian resource bases.

But local media have reported Liu's family has enjoyed a 16-year friendship with the defense minister.

Turnbull made the accusations during an intense debate in Australia over Chinese State-owned enterprises' applications for Australian resource base purchases.

"They want to maintain the status as a dominant mineral resources provider to China and continue profiting from the price monopoly," Su said.

Aluminum Corporation of China's investment in Rio Tinto, and Hunan Valin Iron and Steel Group's purchase of shares in Australia's third-biggest iron ore exporter Fortescue Metals Group have both been delayed for approval.

In addition, Australia's government on March 27 blocked China Minmetals Group's high-profile takeover of the debt-laden Australian Oz Minerals.

The Australian government said on Sunday "it is rightful and natural" for it to have contact with China.

Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who assumes Rudd's responsibilities when he travels overseas, called the conservative opposition's fanning of anti-Chinese sentiment "cheap politics".

It is "absurd" to raise concerns about Beijing's influence over senior ministers, Gillard was quoted as telling ABC television.

Australia's opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey has relayed Turnbull's attacks on more ministers - Treasurer Wayne Swan and Agricultural Minister Tony Burke - for taking "free trips" to China.

During an interview with Sky News, Australian Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner has called the opposition's actions an "absurd and a blatant attempt to stir up yellow-peril (a racist term used in the early 1900s) sentiments" to prey on latent antagonism toward China.

The argument among Australian politicians became more heated yesterday, as the opposition rejected accusations of "playing the race card".

China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies director Zhang Tuosheng said the anti-China sentiment is fueled by Australia's domestic political battle.

But the incident is unlikely to hurt relations between Beijing and Sydney, which have been built upon a solid economic and political base and have prospered in recent years, he said.

(China Daily March 31, 2009)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read Bookmark and Share
Pet Name
China Archives
- China, Australia to make new progress for partnership
- China, Australia agree to enhance cultural exchanges
- Australia's opposition: China should have greater role in IMF
- China Talk: Ambassador of Australia