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Australian FM not Liu-evasive in China visit

November 8, 2010

Tibetan Review
November 4, 2010

In contrast with the China rights-shy UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his own prime
minister Ms Julia Gillard, Australia’s Foreign
Minister Mr Kevin Rudd has called on China on its
own soil to release this year’s Nobel Peace Prize
winner Professor Liu Xiaobo and vowed to raise
the issue in his meetings with senior Chinese
leaders later in the week, reported The Australian online Nov 4.

Rudd’s comments came on the even of his meeting
with China’s military chief of staff General Chen
Bing De. The report cited Mr Rudd as saying in
Beijing that Australia's relationship with China
would not always be "sweetness and apple pie".

Earlier, Australia’s Prime Minister and Rudd’s
successor to the post Ms Julia Gillard had been
criticised for failing to press home human rights
issues during her maiden official trip to Asia the week before.

Mr Rudd, a fluent Mandarin speaker, has a track
record for taking China to task on its home soil,
lecturing Beijing University students about Tibet
when he was the prime minister in 2008.

Mr Rudd has sought to place differences with
China over human rights issue in context by
saying, "This is one part of our relationship and
it's a difficult part and it's the same for all
Western democracies in China but also in this
wider relationship we have massive economic and security interests in common."

Mr Rudd's visit was described as part of a
concerted charm offensive by Canberra, with four
cabinet ministers, including Treasurer Wayne
Swan, travelling to China within the week.
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