You can’t “close your eyes” on human rights abuses in China: Australian Defense Minister

Australia’s Defense Minister Peter Dutton supports the federal government’s decision to join the diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics, saying Australia wants the Chinese administration to adhere to “basic human rights.” rice field. However, not all senior politicians agree with this move.

“I think people can no longer turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses seen by Uighurs,” Dutton told Nine’s Today Show on Friday morning.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s boycott decision was made after the United States announced that it would not send representatives to Beijing for the February convention. Canada and Great Britain joined the boycott shortly after Australia.

Among the concerns expressed by Dutton is the silence of Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who has rarely been seen in public since the allegations of sexual assault against former Deputy Prime Minister Zhang Gaoli. Awareness of abuse has increased around the world.

“People are of serious concern when there is a female international tennis star who can claim to have been sexually assaulted or raped in 2021. Her social media account has been virtually home-held and put in the script line. “It has been done,” said Dutton. ..

“I don’t think it’s acceptable, so we think it’s right to call it.”

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Peng Shuai of China will provide the ball during a practice session prior to the Australian Open Tennis Tournament to be held in Melbourne on January 13, 2019. (WilliamWest / AFP via Getty Images)

The Women’s Tennis Association announced last week that it will not hold a tournament in China next year as a result of Peng’s treatment.

“I don’t know how to ask athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is unable to communicate freely and appears to be under pressure to contradict allegations of sexual assault.” WTA CEO Steve Simon said in December. One statement.

Prime Minister Morrison also cited the Chinese government’s human rights violations against Uighurs in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of eastern China, including slave labor, among other atrocities.

Following the announcement, Western Australia’s (WA) liberal MP Neil Tomson, Minister of Planning for the State’s Shadow, has been working with the French company Alstom Global to procure half of its components from the Chinese company KTK. Publicly sought to investigate a $ 1.3 billion railroad contract. This is reportedly related to Uighur slave labor.

U.S. government calls KTK 1 of 11 companies Allegedly involved in human rights abuses, including “repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labor, and high-tech surveillance” against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in China.

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Premier of Western Australia Mark Magawan will speak to the media on June 29, 2021 about the new blockade restrictions at the Dumas House in Perth, Australia. (PMatt Jelonek / Getty Images)

Western Australia’s Minister of Transport Rita Saffioti told the Epoch Times that the Government of Western Australia relies on guarantees from Alstom that slave labor and exploitation are not involved in the supply chain.

“In November 2020, Alstom Global conducted a third-party human rights audit of the supply chain by a world-leading external auditing company,” Saffioti said in an email.

“This independent audit did not identify the issue of forced labor that required a supplier change,” she said.

“I asked public transport to closely monitor the situation and work with Alstom to ensure that all suppliers maintain the high standards expected by the WA community.”

Western Australian Premier Mark Magawan, who has long been critical of the federal government’s public position in Beijing, said the boycott felt “unexplainable” given the trade relations between Australia and China.

“I don’t know why I did that. The Olympics should be above politics,” he said Thursday, Sky News Australia reported.

“The federal government has a certain view. They continue to support it. You would have thought more diplomatic language was appropriate.”

McGowan said China was “an important player in our region” and Western Australians benefited from their relationship with the Communist government.

“We obviously have the view that we should be more diplomatic with China. Obviously, this move around the Olympics that I thought I couldn’t quite explain.

“Sports, especially the Olympics, should be better than politics,” he said.

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Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese speaks to the media at a press conference in Sydney, Australia, on October 1, 2021. (AAPImage / Dan Himbrechts)

But the views of state Labor leaders are in stark contrast to the position of national Labor leader Anthony Albanese.

“We support the national government’s call for a diplomatic boycott,” Albanese said.

“China’s human rights records, especially the treatment of Uighurs, as well as other issues, including Hong Kong, do not respect the agreement made in Hong Kong, taking reasonable action to send a message about human rights. It means that it is appropriate to take. “

Albanese said Morrison, following US leadership, stood up “for our own values.”

Morrison has revealed that the diplomatic boycott is still inferior to the athletes who can compete in the match.

“Australia [is a] Being a great sports nation, I am very separate from sports issues and these other political issues, “he said.

Dutton reflects these feelings, Australia wants Olympic athletes to compete in “great games”, and Australia and its allies “very much” in Beijing because China is a “best friend and neighbor”. He said he was sending a “clear message.” “We want to change our practices and protect our basic human rights.”

“I think the Prime Minister made the right decision here and sent a very clear message,” Dutton said.

Cadden Pearson


Caden Pearson is an Australian-based reporter with a background in screen writing and documentary. Contact him at [email protected]