– Is China in contempt of Parliament?

Christian Kerr writes:

The People’s Republic of China is an unpleasant dictatorship
– with scant regard for democracy in Australia, it appears. Scant regard
for democracy – and a few well placed agents of influence happy to collude
with its human rights abuses.

Two prominent political figures, vice-president
of the European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott and former Canadian minister
David Kilgour, are visiting Australia promoting their report that the Chinese
government has executed thousands of Falun Gong dissidents and harvested their

Victorian state parliamentarian Victor Perton was asked to host
a meeting at Parliament House for McMillan-Scott and Kilgour – only to find
every room booked up. Another venue was located and an email invitation issued
to all Victorian state MPs.

A day later the Chinese consul-general wrote
to all lower house MPs – except Perton – criticising the meeting and
belittling the McMillan-Scott/Kilgour report.

Perton tells Crikey that some
of his colleagues are wondering out loud if there’s been a breach of privilege
in this chain of events. And he finds it noteworthy that one of his parliamentary
colleagues has felt compelled to pass on his invitation to the Chinese Consulate.

appears than an MP felt that it was in their interests to pass on the email to
Chinese government representatives in Australia – a reminder of the warning
from former Chinese diplomat and defector Chen Yonglin that the People’s Republic
has many agents of influence working in Australia.

China, of course, is
noted for the hospitality it dishes out to visiting delegations of parliamentarians
and political wannabes.

Perton reports that colleagues have joked that he
won’t be enjoying any of that now. But he also notes that the gags seem to be
a tacit acknowledgement of the compromises required in dealing with a nation with
China’s abysmal human rights record.

Perton says this is the first time
China has used its diplomats to respond to the claims, which are coming under
closer scrutiny.

Both Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and his opposition
counterpart, Kevin Rudd, backed calls for an independent inquiry into the allegations
of organ harvesting on Lateline last week.

Kilgour has responded to China’s
dismissal of his claims and Perton has welcomed the consul-general’s decision
to buy into the debate.

“I have invited him to join today’s panel on
the allegations of organ harvesting and to take questions from the audience,”
Perton says. “It will be interesting to see if he accepts the invitation.”

Posting date: 21/Aug/2006
Original article date: 20/Aug/2006
Media Report


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