Australian MP Back-Pedals Insults to Chinese

Australian mining magnate and parliamentarian Clive Palmer made shocking comments this week that have been condemned by both Australian and Chinese officials. Palmer called the Chinese “mongrels” and “‘bastards’ who shoot their own people and covet Australian resources.” Palmer has since tried to explain himself, reports the Wall Street Journal:

On Wednesday, Mr. Palmer said his comments weren’t aimed at either the Chinese community in Australia or the Chinese government.

“They were directed at one Chinese state-owned company that has failed to honor its agreements,” said Mr. Palmer, who is a member of Australia’s lower house of Parliament. “I have been an admirer of China and its people for many years.”

The lawmaker, whose conservative Palmer United Party wields the balance of power in the upper house of Parliament, has for years been engaged in a legal dispute with Chinese company Citic Pacific over royalties from an iron-ore mine in Western Australia. Mr. Palmer says Citic Pacific, a Hong Kong-listed unit of Chinese state-owned behemoth Citic Group, has failed to pay royalties as stipulated by a 2006 agreement to build and operate the mine.

[…] Asked about the business spat earlier this week on Australian national television, Mr. Palmer said: “I don’t mind standing up against the Chinese bastards and stopping them from doing it. I’m saying that because they’re communist, because they shoot their own people, they haven’t got a justice system and they want to take over this country. We’re not going to let them do it.” [Source]

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman called Palmer’s remarks “completely unreasonable and absurd,” but noted that Palmer does not speak for all of Australia:

The relevant remarks made by Clive Palmer, a member of the House of Representatives of the Australian Federal Parliament, are completely unreasonable and absurd, to which we express our strong condemnation.

We noted that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Foreign Minister Bishop and other senior officials as well as people from all walks of life have publicly refuted Palmer’s words. This shows that Palmer is alone in what he said and did. [Source]

The state-run Global Times, on the other hand, says Palmer’s “rampant rascality serves as a symbol that Australian society has an unfriendly attitude toward China”:

Clive Palmer, an Australian legislator and mining magnate, delivered a scathing harangue in a TV program on Monday, referring to the Chinese government as “bastards,” who “shoot their own people” and want to usurp control of Australia. He called Chinese resources companies “mongrels,” which send workers to destroy the wage system and take over Australian ports and plunder minerals for free.

This is the most vicious attack by one of the Australian elite in recent months.

Not long ago, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Tony Abbott also made bitter remarks against China without any reason, which was quite astonishing. Now Palmer’s “bastards” ravings have intensified this.

[…] China should consider imposing sanctions on Palmer and his companies, cutting off all business contacts with him and forbidding him and his senior executives into China. The sanctions could also be given to any Australian companies which have business dealings with Palmer’s. China must let those prancing provocateurs know how much of a price they pay when they deliberately rile us.

Australian society has been aware that Palmer crossed the red line too far and his remarks, along with those of Bishop and Abbott, pose a direct threat to Australian-Sino relations. Canberra is waiting for China’s reactions, from which they can assess the tenacity of Chinese diplomacy. [Source]

The Global Times makes no mention of Palmer’s later explanation that he only meant to curse Citic Pacific. The newspaper also turned Palmer’s phrase “shoot their own people” into “massacre their own people” (屠杀自己人民). This left room for netizens to speculate on the target of Palmer’s anger. When Sina Comment (新浪评论) posted the Global Times’s story to Weibo, netizens jumped in:

倚天万里须长剑: Massacre their own people? Did that happen? You’re spreading rumors.

屠杀自己人民?有这事吗?造谣吧。

鲁有东师古: How disgusting. When did he see a massacre? Was he there on June 4th?

可恨,他什么时候亲眼看到屠杀了,六四他在场吗?

燃烧吧燕小抗: It turns out the murderers are weak-hearted. Someone curses them and they pout that they aren’t happy.

杀人凶手居然有颗玻璃心,被人骂了还噘嘴不高兴。

Read more netizen reactions at CDT Chinese.