China says outspoken Australian lawmakers should repent

By Lidia Kelly

Two Australian lawmakers who were denied entry to China for a study tour because of their outspoken criticism of Beijing must "repent and redress their mistakes" if they want to visit the country, China's embassy in Canberra said.

Andrew Hastie and James Paterson were to visit China next month on a trip organised by China Matters think-tank, but they said they had been barred because of their "frankness about the Chinese Communist Party".

The two conservative members of parliament have been increasingly critical of the Chinese regime, its attempts to exert influence in Australia and of Beijing's handling of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

In August, China condemned Hastie for an opinion piece in Australian newspapers in which he warned about China's influence, comparing Beijing's rise to the threat from Nazi Germany.

Hastie is not a minister but is an influential member of Australia's ruling Liberal-National coalition, and is the chair of parliament's intelligence and security committee, which is privy to classified information.

Late on Saturday, the Chinese embassy in Canberra issued a statement saying Beijing will remain open to dialogue as long as"the people concerned genuinely repent and redress their mistakes".

"The Chinese people do not welcome those who make unwarranted attacks, wantonly exert pressure on China ... " the embassy's spokesperson said in the statement. "China will never yield to colonization of ideas and values."

Hastie said no apologies will be coming.

"Let me be very clear, we will not repent for standing up for Australian sovereignty, our values, our interests, and for those who cannot speak for themselves," he said in televised remarks.

Australia's overall relations with China, its most important trading partner, have deteriorated in recent years amid accusations that China is meddling in domestic affairs. Canberra also fears China is seeking undue influence in the Pacific region.

China Matters, an Australia-based think-tank which describes itself as working to advance "sound" China policy, said the goal of the study tours organised for politicians and business executives is to "facilitate informal discussion with citizens of the People's Republic of China (PRC)".

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I heard Paterson interviewed on ABC News last night. He sure didn't sound like he was going to "repent" any time soon. And I can't imagine Hastie repenting either. This particular incident, if you can call it that, will be just a blip on the radar of China-Australia relations, but it is symptomatic of the deeper unease between the two countries.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

1 million Uyghurs in concentration camps. Who should repent?

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Repent? The overly sensitive Chinese ruling class are so cute, not.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

In the headline replace the word "repent" with "kowtow" to understand China's true intent.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The more China behaves towards other nations the same way it does to it's own citizens, the less the international community feels any comfort with China's growth and undisguised intent of dominance.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

All countries should be up for criticisms, China needs to grow a tougher skin.

And of course, criticizing a country's govt/regime does not mean one is criticizing the peoples of those countries.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The Chinese Government needs to learn to repent for all its wrong actions against both its own citizens and for it wrong attitudes to the free world. The world will never bow to the Chinese Communist party.

Well done to the Australians standing up to their bullying and telling it like it is. China seems allergic to the truth being spoken.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Who says repent? As the PRC is supposed to be atheist, they really should refrain from using such theistic language.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Barred for frankness about the Communist Party?! That would be the same as being barred for being honest. Poor China, the truth hurts.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I guess they ChiCom’s are feeling cocky after succeeding in getting the NBA to repent for their sins.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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