Saturday 16 Oct 2021 | 01:45 | SYDNEY
Saturday 16 Oct 2021 | 01:45 | SYDNEY

More on Rudd view of China


Sam Roggeveen


31 March 2009 07:50

A caveat to what I wrote last night. The central point, regarding Rudd's ambivalence about China, stands, but I don't want to give the impression that Rudd deserves no criticism for his recent handling of events. Last night's Media Watch put a pretty good case that Rudd was less than open with the Australian media about his meeting with Chinese propaganda chief Li Changchun.

That undermines my argument that Rudd has shown no 'hypersensitivity' about China, and also suggests some strange and rather dated media-management thinking in the PM's office. Did they just hope that no Australian journalist would pick up this story via the Chinese media?

Also, I said I knew of no evidence that Australian journos were complaining that the PM refused to talk to them about China, but in an article I cited later in the post, you read exactly that complaint from reporter Rowan Callick:

But since becoming Prime Minister, he has mostly preferred to confine his views on China to Chinese audiences, perhaps out of concern about being viewed in Australia as a Manchurian candidate. This despite the intense and growing debate about investments sought by Chinese state-owned companies in Australian resources. When Rudd visited Beijing for the Olympic Games last August, he made only cursory contact with Australian journalists, but gave a lengthy interview to Hu Shuli, editor-in-chief of Chinese business magazine Caijing...Rudd has recently talked little about China's role within Australia, but has at the same time amplified his longstanding interest in China's broader global role.

Callick may be right about Rudd's reluctance to talk to Australian journalists about China, but my argment in the previous post was that this is not related to any 'Manchurian candidate' fears.