A Cocktail of Conspiracies Delivered Daily

For the Sydney Morning Herald, John Garnaut interviews Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, the sister publication of the People’s Daily:

In our interview he didn’t seem to care whether his missiles were aimed at me personally or my profession, my country or the wider Western world. Australia was too insignificant to lecture China: ”You are driving a cart and we are driving a truck.” Ditto for Japan, given its entire stock of highways was no greater than China could build in a single year. And the New York Times was ”full of lies”.

On the subject of lies, I mentioned that his paper had egregiously misrepresented some of my own stories written in the Herald. He reassured me of his great personal commitment to truth and to pushing the boundaries of free speech. Earlier he had told me that Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel peace prize winner, deserved to be in prison for being ”a liar” who advocated ”Australian-style” democracy.

Now, after a fortnight of WikiLeaks, which reveal that the former prime minister Kevin Rudd was privately talking of containing China while saying the opposite in public, Australian diplomats are glancing nervously at the Global Times for advance warning on how the leadership might react. But Hu’s response to the Rudd revelations seemed more in pity than anger.

Rudd might dream about beating down China, said Hu, but China was not Iraq. ”The reality overwhelms hysterical ideas – can you block your own iron ore ships to China?” he said. ”You feel you are not powerful enough when competing with China in the economy and other fields, right? I am sorry about this.”