It seems that two prominent Liberal MPs, James Paterson and Andrew Hastie, have blotted their copybooks with the panda panjandrums of the Chinese Communist Party.
By standing up for the freedom of speech of Chinese students on Australian campuses, questioning Red China’s government’s contemptible human rights record, being part of a government that denies dodgy Chinese claims to sovereignty in the South China Sea and — not least — by supporting the protest movement challenging Chinese authority in in the supposedly autonomous zone of Hong Kong, Paterson and Hastie so frighten the party that brought you the Cultural Revolution (and its death toll of around two million) that they have been denied visas to join a privately-organised study tour of China.
The Chinese embassy in Canberra made the Peking regime’s acute displeasure, and its attitude to any foreigners who dare question its political, social and moral legitimacy, perfectly clear.
On Saturday it issued a statement saying “the Chinese people do not welcome those who make unwarranted attacks, wantonly exert pressure on China, challenge China’s sovereignty, disrespect China’s dignity and undermine mutual trust between China and Australia”.
“The colonial days of Western powers are long gone,” it continued. “China will never yield to colonisation of ideas and values.”
That statement speaks of China, but it does not speak for the Chinese people. If it were to be a statement of truth, every reference to “China” should be deleted and “Chinese Communist Party” take its place.
Nevertheless, the embassy statement also said: “As long as the people concerned genuinely repent and redress their mistakes, view China with objectivity and reason … the door of dialogue and exchanges will always remain open”.
In other words, grovel to Peking and the Party and all will be forgiven. To their great credit, both Paterson and Hastie have not kowtowed, and have no plans to grow pigtails to show their obeisance to the communist Chinese emperor in all but name, Xi Xinping. They have called out the bullying and neo-colonialist lords of the Chinese Communist Party, who seek to denigrate and slap down anyone not agreeing with their grandiose self-image and neo-imperialist vision of their destiny.
To be singled out for special treatment by such a dangerous mob is no shame for Paterson and Hastie: it is a badge of honour to be worn with pride.
It would not be surprising if it were agents of the Chinese government who sought to discredit Australia’s very first Chinese-born MP, the very anti-communist Gladys Liu, by strategically leaking and distorting her past associations with certain Chinese community organisations.
If so, they failed to silence Liu. And Paterson and Hastie are not being silenced by this un-diplomatic diplomacy and propaganda own goal.
If the Chinese communist authorities had any political and propaganda nous, and any real understanding of how they and their thuggish heavy-handedness are perceived in the West, they would welcome Paterson and Hastie with open arms, show them the very best of China and put their regime in the best possible light, lavish them with twenty course banquets in the Great Hall of the People and effectively show them, and Australians, that the CCP’s shoulders are broad and their skins are thick. Demonstrating by their own hospitality that criticisms like Paterson and Hastie’s are water off a duck’s back would be the mark of a mature, confident regime.
Instead, the reaction from the Red Chinese to the comments of two, in the overall scheme of things, insignificant Australian backbench MPs, proved exactly the opposite. It overreacted because it knows those criticisms are legitimate. Like a fat, overgrown playground bully, the CCP’s sole concept of how to respond to any criticism is to throw its weight around, hopefully breaking noses, bones and spirits as they do so. Not just those of individual MPs, but whole countries.
Just look at Hong Kong.
Red China may have just celebrated — if that is the right word, as for billions of Chinese past and present it isn’t — the seventieth anniversary of its foundation, and it may be flexing its political and economic Belt and Road muscles in Asia and the South Pacific, but the CCP regime, in its outrageous and pantomime villain hypersensitivity to what Paterson and Hastie have said, is merely proving its immaturity and paranoid insecurity.
The CCP’s de facto dictator for life, Xi Xinping has, with his roly-poly figure and untrustworthy cat’s bum mouth, a more than passing physical resemblance to Winnie the Pooh. But that is an insult to the original Pooh, who may have been a bear of little brain, but had a big and kind heart.
If Xi was a true leader deserving the respect of the great Chinese people, most of whom either fear or, at best, merely tolerate their communist overlords and their braggadocio, he would intervene to reverse this insult to two Australian politicians, who are insignificant now but one day will hold high ministerial office, and to the democracy and values of free speech and thought they are elected to represent.
Illustration: South Park Studios/Comedy Partners.
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