Two members of Australia’s conservative coalition government have rejected Beijing’s demand they “repent” for their criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.
They said Saturday they will never back down from “standing up for Australian sovereignty, our values, our interests, and standing up for people who can’t stand up for themselves.”
Outspoken Liberal politicians Andrew Hastie and James Paterson were due to take part in a study tour to China next month, but when the tour operator called the Chinese embassy to arrange their visas, it was told the pair was “unwelcome at this time”.
Both politicians have been constant critics of China’s authoritarian state, particularly its human rights record and alleged interference in Australia’s political system, as Breitbart News reported.
Paterson has spoken out about human rights abuses against minority Muslim Uighurs in China´s Xinjiang province and the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, while Hastie in August was rebuked by Beijing after comparing the West’s handling of China’s rise to the failure to contain Nazi Germany.
Push back against China’s repressive one party state are a growing global phenomonon, as witnessed last week by a mass protest in Central London. Breitbart News was there:Kurt Zindulka
An embassy spokesperson said the Chinese people, “do not welcome those who make unwarranted attacks” on their nation and told the Australian pair to recant and back down.
“China will never yield to colonisation of ideas and values,” the statement said.
“As long as the people concerned genuinely repent and redress their mistakes, view China with objectivity and reason, respect China’s system and mode of development chosen by the Chinese people, the door of dialogue and exchanges will always remain open.”
That offer was rejected outright by Hastie, a former SAS soldier and chair of Parliament’s joint intelligence and security committee.
“Senator James Paterson and I will not repent, let me be very clear,” he said.
“We will not repent for standing up for Australian sovereignty, our values, our interests, and standing up for people who can’t stand up for themselves.”
Hastie said he was “disappointed but not surprised” he was banned from the country.
“They want a one-way conversation, and I believe very deeply in democracy, as does James, and we believe in the exchange of ideas, and that’s what the whole trip was about, so they need to come to the party too.”
He said he remained open to a trip to the country next year: “I suspect unless I repent I won’t be welcome, and there will be no repentance.”
Hastie’s comments were echoed by Senator Paterson.
“There won’t be any repenting,” he said. “I’m elected to represent the Australian people — their values, their concerns, their interests.
“I won’t be repenting on the instruction of any foreign power.”
An estimated one million ethnic Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims are currently detained by the Chinese Communist Party in internment camps in Xinjiang province in north-western China, as Breitbart News reported.