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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Australia Chinese Electorate Press Howard To Condemn Organ Harvesting in China

Posted by Author on September 25, 2007

Ben Doherty, The Age, Sydney, Australia, September 25, 2007-

BENNELONG’S influential Chinese community wants its local member — Prime Minister John Howard — to take a stronger line with China over its human rights abuses.

The community told Mr Howard yesterday that Australia needed to do more to publicly condemn organ harvesting and other violations.

Mr Howard was at the Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club for another public appearance in his now-marginal electorate, this one a question-and-answer session with a carefully vetted local audience.

Arriving in West Ryde shortly after 10.30am with his wife, Janette, Mr Howard was afforded a standing ovation by the 300-strong audience.

After a brief address, during which he stressed that his Government was focused on its future not its past, he threw open the floor to questions.

“If you’ve got a bit of advice you want to give me about running the country, you please go right ahead and give it to me,” he said.

For more than an hour, Mr Howard answered questions on the economy, skills shortages and education funding.

At one stage, he was interrupted by a young woman with a disability walking up and hugging him in the middle of a response to a question about Australia’s ageing population.

With the starting gun set to fire on an election campaign any day now, the Prime Minister is talking directly to electors more and more, a move away from the tightly controlled, carefully choreographed modus operandi of most Australian politics. He held a similar public question time at an event in Melbourne recently.

But yesterday’s Q&A was hardly the equivalent of taking to a stump on the banks of the Yarra.

Audience members were carefully screened, for “security reasons” The Age was told (presumably to keep The Chaser or Labor Party plants out) — and those who were allowed to attend were identified by a red sticker worn on their clothing.

Some of the questions put to Mr Howard could have been written at Liberal Party HQ, such was their partisanship, but others, on issues such as disability services and dental waiting lists, were more taxing.

But questions about China dominated the session.

One man said to the Prime Minister: “There’s a great crime going on in China, it’s the crime of organ harvesting. Can you please convince me the Australian Government is doing something about it?”

A woman asked: “Will your Government push for a third-party intervention in China, because of this new form of evil?”

All told, four questions out of 20 related to China.

In response, Mr Howard said he “totally opposed” organ harvesting as abhorrent, and said Australia had maintained a human rights dialogue with the Chinese Government.

“And on regular occasions we make it plain that there are aspects of human rights abuse in China with which we do not agree and of which we are highly critical.”

He said Australia was prepared to disagree with its biggest trading partner, citing the defection of the Chinese consulate official who sought, and was granted, political asylum in Australia, and the Prime Minister’s decision to meet the Dalai Lama, as decisions taken in opposition to China’s wishes.

“But the best way to get progress in these things is not to engage in a whole lot of public lecturing and public hectoring. That does not work. We think the best way to get improvements in human rights in countries like China is to engage the Chinese authorities.”

Bennelong has a large and politically active Chinese community.

Nearly 10,000 people, more than 7 per cent of the electorate, are Chinese-born. Australia-wide, 1 per cent of the population was born in China. In Bennelong, 8.3 per cent of people speak Cantonese as their first language at home and 6.4 per cent Mandarin, compared with 1.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent nationally.

– Original report from The Age: Bennelong’s Chinese press PM on human rights action

One Response to “Australia Chinese Electorate Press Howard To Condemn Organ Harvesting in China”

  1. Stefan said

    I totally agree. John Howard is happy to get rich from China’s growth, digging up all he can from our soil and selling it off to be burned – but a far more important issue than the economy is human rights. Just because CHina is worth money to Australia does not mean we have to stay silent if we suspect China is not being a good global citizen. John Howard is way too weak with anyone more powerful than him – he’s happy to Bully East Timor for Oil Rights, or march into Aboriginal communities or the solomons – but he is very timid – almost obsequeous, when it comes to dealing with China, or even with Iraq. He will turn a blind eye to atrocities for the sake of a good trade deal.

    If I were from China, I’d be very hesitant about voting for John Howard – Kevin Russ speaks chinese and has a much better chance of straight talking when it comes to issues of human rights – especially with the Olympics on the way.

    Or Vote Green 1 and Labor 2 – because teh preference will go to labor, but you can show that you want a clean, safe future.

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