Thursday, April 24, 2008


There is little likelihood that Julia Irwin would have been seen demonstrating against Chinese huiman rights abuses in Canberra today as the Olympic Torch wound its way around the nation's capital today.

Last month, Irwin was the lone ALP member who boycotted the Prime Minister's speech congratulating Israel on its 60th Anniversary in protest against what she described as "Israel's treatment of the Palestinians". This is what she told the Canberra Times:

"I find it hard to congratulate a country which carries out human rights abuses every day," she said.

"As we did 60 years ago, Australia must speak out against human rights abuses where ever they occur."

Of course, Irwin remained reticent about the gross human rights violations of the Palestinian leadership which openly encourages and, in some cases, somes unspeakable terrorist atrocities. Not just against Israelis, but against their own people. In Gaza, children's TV encouragessuicide bombing, and Hamas thugs murder their opposition. The Palestinian leadership in both Gaza and the West Bank have engaged in ethnic cleansing of ancient Jewish, Druze, Samaritan and Baha'i populations while Christian communities havebeen dramatically diminished in places like Bethlehem where they were once in the majority. Many of these oppressed communitieshave been given a home in Israel, which gives full legal and democratic rights to all irrespective of religion or ethnicity.

You may ask, where does this champion of human rights stand in the case of the world’s longest running occupation – the fifty year occupation of Tibet by China? For half a century, the Chinese have murdered hundreds of thousands of Tibetans and settled millions of Chinese in new cities inside Tibet. The oppression continues to this day, but of course, we haven’t seen a single Tibetan suicide bomber and no Tibetan leader has thereatened to wipe China off the map or to murder the Chinese people as a whole.

The answer to the question about Irwin can be found in Hansard. She supports the Chinese occupation of China and, when she had the opportunity to slam the Chinese for their human rights abuses in Tibet and elsewhere, she stayed shtum. Obviously, the Chinese can count themselves lucky that they’re not Jews. Here’s what the hypocrite said in Federal Parliament on the occasion of her visit to China in 1999 to take part in its 50th Anniversary celebrations:

Mrs. IRWIN (Fowler) (1.06 p.m.)—This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National People's Congress of China. On this occasion an invitation was extended to the Australia-China Parliamentary Friendship Group to visit China and meet with the national and provincial officials of the National People's Congress. In the light of world events during and since the visit, the delegation was able to gain valuable insights into developments in the world's most populous country. Ten members of the House took part in the delegation, led by the honourable member for Aston. The delegation visited Beijing and met with foreign ministry officials and members of the China-Australia Friendship Group of the National People's Congress.

A highlight of the visit to Beijing was a frank but friendly meeting with China's Premier Zhu Rongji. The meeting took place the day before the Premier departed for his visit to the United States. The Premier was confident of a positive outcome from his talks in the US concerning China's entry into the World Trade Organisation and other issues. The Premier expressed confidence in continuing good relations between Australia and China. As the delegation was to visit Tibet, the issue of the future status of Tibet and the role of the Dalai Lama was raised by the delegation. Premier Zhu restated the position that Tibet was part of China and pointed to the level of aid provided to the Tibet Autonomous Region by the central government. The Premier disputed statements by the Dalai Lama, suggesting that the Dalai Lama was free to return to Tibet as a religious leader but not as a leader of an independence movement.

Extensive discussions were held with the National People's Congress China-Australia Friendship Group on a broad range of issues including the progress being made with the reform of state owned enterprises, environmental issues, the status of Tibet and the Dalai Lama, the process of legislation in the National People's Congress, relations with Taiwan, developments in human rights in China and China's relationship with Australia. The group was particularly interested in the delegation's visit to Tibet, and again stressed China's position that Tibet is the inalienable territory of China and that the government of China is the legitimate government.

With regard to reconciliation with the Dalai Lama, the delegation was told that this would require the Dalai Lama to give up any claims for independence for Tibet and to stop separatist activities. As for Tibetans living abroad, the delegation was told that they were free to enter and leave Tibet and that some 10,000 had done so in recent years, with 2,000 resettling in Tibet. En route to Tibet the delegation visited Chengdu, taking the opportunity to meet with representatives of their congress. Chengdu is pursuing the development of high technology industries. The province enjoys some advantages due to its more modern infrastructure and equipment."


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