Keith Suter’s Global Insights

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Rudd Government - One Year On: Relations With China

The Rudd Government has now been in power for exactly one year. It has been a tough year but the Government has managed to survive a lot of turmoil.

Kevin Rudd is the first Western leader in history fluent in Chinese language and history. His knowledge of China is appropriate for the rise of the “Chinese century”.

China’s contribution to Australia’s booming economy has contributed to a slow change in attitudes towards racism in Australia. There has long been a deep-seated fear of China: “the yellow peril”. The European settlement of Australia also saw Chinese workers arriving to help provide menial labour. There were violent racist actions committed against Chinese workers in the 19th century. Meanwhile the emerging trade union movement also opposed the influx of Chinese labour because of the fear that they would lower wages.

Anti-Chinese fears gathered momentum in 1949 after the Chinese communist revolution. Election posters from the conservative parties in the 1950s and 1960s portrayed yellow or red arrows pointing from Asia as the communists were allegedly continuing their headlong march across south-east Asia into Australia. China was seen as a country with a huge population looking longingly at the vast empty space in Australia.

In 1996, maverick conservative politician Pauline Hanson flashed across the political sky. She tapped into the tribal memories of the yellow peril. She was a Liberal candidate in a solid Labor seat (previously held by the former foreign minister Bill Hayden); she was standing simply to give the Liberals a presence. But her racist comments forced the Liberal Party to disown her. She then ran on her own ticket and scored one of the most amazing election victories of the 1990s. She criticized both the Indigenous population whom (she claimed) lived off welfare and the Asians who worked too hard (and cost Australians their jobs).

Her political career was short-lived. All the major political parties co-operated - for the first time ever - to drive her out of politics. She left politics and capitalized on her celebrity status in non-political appearances in television entertainment programmes.

A year ago she tried again for Parliament but got nowhere. Times have changed. The Australian mood on China has changed. Although technically still a communist country with a huge population, Australians now see the Chinese as wanting to make trade - and not war. They know the importance of China for their economic growth. There is a new found respect for China.

The Rudd Labor Government will therefore see a subtle shift in Australia’s foreign policy focus. The United States may be an old friend - but China is a new friend for a new century.

kevin rudd.JPG Picture from Wikipedia

Posted by: Amanda Foxon-Hill at 9:01 PM

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3 Comments

I worry about Kevin and what he's doing.
Having grown up during the Cold War years I always looked at any communist country with great suspicion.
When the Berlin Wall went down I thought, "Oh yeh, I wonder what communism has planned now?"
Like Pro Hart I really didnt believe that, what was once Red, would ever really change (Pro was saying a few years before he passed on that he believed that communism wasnt dead. Suggesting, to me anyway, that he believed that the spirit powers that got communism up and running would still have the same old goals...to persecute men with their rotten oppressive, now slightly altered or put in a cupboard for a season, political system).
Along comes young Kevin Rudd and his amazing and incomprehensible pre-occupation with Red China...and Im still thinking like I did in those old days, "What have we to do with communism?".
They havent changed, so are we to change, just to please them?
Our belief systems are totally different.
Even though China puts on a more cheerful cap these days and somewhat begs our pardon, she still kills christians and unjustly imprisons them.
She still kills Falun Gong folk, though she may have stopped harvesting their organs due to greater media exposure.
She still builds her great armies...and where are they going does anyone think... apart from "outwards".
Did we sell out Christianity and her wisdom to dance with the Chinese government in trade?
I remember the Holy Bible saying something like "Come out and be separate"...and..."What fellowship does Light have with darkness"... and..."Have nothing to do with the works of darkness, but expose them"...
I dont remember anything about letting our guard down and joining in with ungodly governments.
We should be building our defences, scatter them far and wide, not going cap and hand to those who have no other plan but a 'quiet' global consumption plan.
God will bless an alert and scriptural Australian government.

Graeme Gibson | November 25, 2008 19:42

I worry about Kevin and what he's doing.
Having grown up during the Cold War years I always looked at any communist country with great suspicion.
When the Berlin Wall went down I thought, "Oh yeh, I wonder what communism has planned now?"
Like Pro Hart I really didn't believe that, what was once Red, would ever really change (Pro was saying a few years before he passed on that he believed that communism wasn't dead. Suggesting, to me anyway, that he believed that the spirit powers that got communism up and running would still have the same old goals...to persecute men with their rotten oppressive, now slightly altered or put in a cupboard for a season, political system).
Along comes young Kevin Rudd and his amazing and incomprehensible pre-occupation with Red China...and Im still thinking like I did in those old days, "What have we to do with communism?".
They havent changed, so are we to change, just to please them?
Our belief systems are totally different.
Even though China puts on a more cheerful cap these days and somewhat begs our pardon, she still kills christians and unjustly imprisons them.
She still kills Falun Gong folk, though she may have stopped harvesting their organs due to greater media exposure.
She still builds her great armies...and where are they going does anyone think... apart from "outwards".
Did we sell out Christianity and her wisdom to dance with the Chinese government in trade?
I remember the Holy Bible saying something like "Come out and be separate"...and..."What fellowship does Light have with darkness"... and..."Have nothing to do with the works of darkness, but expose them"...
I dont remember anything about letting our guard down and joining in with ungodly governments.
We should be building our defences, scatter them far and wide, not going cap and hand to those who have no other plan but a 'quiet' global consumption plan.
God will bless an alert and scriptural Australian government.

Graeme Gibson | November 25, 2008 19:43

Hello, I can't understand how to add your blog ( www.keithsuter.com ) in my rss reader

avegreekelf | February 16, 2009 07:40

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