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Stern Hu, sterner China, but meekness from Australia

March 24, 2010 – 12:36 am2 Comments

The Stern Hu trial - making less sense than the "Chewbacca Defense"

By Anthony Frosh

The Stern Hu situation provides a lot of food for thought, both in the media coverage and also the reaction of the Australian Government, or lack thereof.

The Rio Tinto executive has apparently admitted to taking bribes, although under how much duress this admission was made is a question that is rarely asked in the press.  Further questions that seem largely ignored are:

  • Who is Hu accused of taking bribes from?
  • Why aren’t these bribe-givers also on trial?
  • And don’t executives from billion-dollar corporations normally give bribes (to government officials), rather than take them.  It does not require the “Chewbacca Defense” to say “this does not make sense!”

To add insult to injury, in some media coverage, such as in the Fairfax papers, Hu is described as an “Australian passport holder” rather than simply as an “Australian.”  I cannot recall Schapelle Corby, or even David Hicks, suffer such a demotion.  One must question why some Australian citizens are deemed to be true blue Aussies, while others are merely “passport holders.”

Speaking of passports, there’s no sign of the tough talk that we heard from Prime Minister Rudd and Foreign Minister Smith regarding alleged use of Australian passports. And then there was what Greg Sheridan superbly described as “needlessly energetic comments by Foreign Minister Smith condemning Israel over the recent announcement of 1600 new housing units to be built in East Jerusalem.”

However, despite the Chinese government not even allowing Australian diplomats to attend the trial of Hu, Rudd and Smith are expediently staying shtum

Labor backbencher Michael Danby (Federal Member for Melbourne Ports) has spoken out about China’s dubious judicial procedure. Given Danby’s constant differences with government foreign policy (UN votes on Israel, the Dalai Lama, and now the Stern Hu trial), it might be time for him to consider leaving the Labor party and running as an independent.  But that’s a subject for another article.

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