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Do not let one rotten apple ruin China-Australia relationship

2014-08-20 13:14 Xinhua Web Editor: Mo Hong'e

Australian politician Clive Palmer' s comment labeling Chinese "bastards" and "mongrels", which has embarrassed and drawn widespread criticism from the Australian political and business circles as well as the general public, is out of personal interests and by no means represents the mainstream voice of Australia.

The billionaire-turned Australian Member of Parliament has continued to change his comments about China depending upon his business interests. He does seem to care about the impact his comments have on Australian public interest.

[Related: Australians outraged at Clive Palmer's remarks regarding China]  

Palmer said in 2011 that the Australian government "racially" discriminated against Chinese investment and Chinese people and government should be treated with "the dignity they deserve."

At that time, Palmer received large amounts of money from his partnership with Chinese firms.

But Palmer changed his attitude after an increasingly bitter legal dispute between him and China's Citic Pacific. Palmer now is accused of illegally taking more than 12 million Australian dollars ($11.2 million) from his Chinese mining partner's bank account to use for his personal election campaign. He is also involved in a multi-million dollar legal battle with the Citic Pacific over mining royalties.

From this perspective, Palmer's irresponsible outburst should be taken with a grain of salt and Australian political and business leaders are standing together against his selfish comments.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the Australian Parliament does not share Palmer's "abusive" views.

"It is abusive and unnecessary language, and Mr. Palmer is in the middle of a bitter legal dispute with China, with a Chinese company and I don't think he should use his public position as a Member of Parliament to insult one of our major strategic and trading partners," Bishop said.

Meanwhile, Bishop planned to contact the Chinese Embassy and make sure that such views are not representative of the Australian Parliament and the Australian people.

Treasurer Joe Hockey, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, Trade Minister Andrew Robb and West Australian Premier Colin Barnett all stood up in the first time against Palmer's remarks.

Media magnate Kerry Stokes told Palmer to "separate his personal interests from the interests of the Commonwealth." Palmer has a responsibility as a parliamentarian to look after the interests of the people he represents, rather than continually focus on his personal interests, he said.

The Chinese embassy in Australia has received emails of support from the Australian public who felt embarrassed by Palmer's tirade.

In one of the letters, one Australian said, "As an Australian citizen, I would just like to let you know that I am outraged at the remarks by Clive Palmer regarding the Chinese people. Please be assured that the majority of Australians do not hold these opinions. I would not like you to think that we are racist, as Mr. Palmer appears to be."

China and Australia share good relations in different areas and on different levels.

The two countries are on the verge of signing a historic Free Trade Agreement, which will significantly enhance economic prosperity between the two nations.

China will join Australia and the United States in the inaugural military Exercise Kowari, a trilateral defense exercise to be conducted in Australia in October.

Australian soldiers, for the first time, may travel to China later this year and work side-by-side with Chinese People's Liberation Army in joint military exercises.

However, Palmer's influence is not to be completely ignored. Palmer is an elected representative and his small political party wields crucial balance-of-power seats in the Australian senate.

One of his party members is Senator Jacqui Lambie, who joined in Palmer's anti-China outburst, saying Australia was at risk from an impending invasion from the Chinese army.

Now it is intriguing to see the response of the Australian Queensland electorate, which voted for Palmer, to the offensive remarks of the attention-seeking businessman who misuses the public stage to promote his personal interests.

On Monday night, Palmer abused Chinese communists and government and even called Chinese "mongrels" and "bastards" during a TV show on ABC.

In the face of ensuing criticism, Palmer clarified his position on the Internet Tuesday morning. "My Q&A comments not intended to refer to Chinese people but to Chinese company which is taking Australian resources & not paying," he wrote in the Twitter.

[WA Premier apologizes over billionaire's racist rant against China]

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