SYDNEY: Australian politician Clive Palmer on Tuesday apologized to the Chinese embassy in Canberra for calling Chinese “bastards” and “mongrels” in a media interview.
In a written statement, Palmer said: “I most sincerely apologize for any insult to the Chinese people caused by any of the language I used during my appearance on the ABC television program Q&A. “... what I said on Q&A was an insult to Chinese people everywhere and I wish to assure them they have my most genuine and sincere apology, that I am sorry that I said the things I said on the program.”
After receiving Palmer’s apology, Chinese Ambassador Ma Zhaoxu emphasized that any remarks attacking or slandering China would not gain popular support and were doomed to fail.
“The healthy and stable relationship between China and Australia is in the fundamental interests of the people of the two countries, and cannot be hindered by any individual,” he said.
The Chinese government has expressed its strong indignation and severe condemnation against Palmer’s insults. The overseas Chinese and Chinese people in Australia have also lodged a strong protest. The Australian government and people from all walks of life also expressed their strong condemnation and emphasized that Palmer’s remarks insulting China were not on behalf of the Australian people.
Palmer’s apology follows protests on Monday from the Chinese community in Western Australia demanding Palmer and his fellow Palmer United party member Senator Jacqui Lambie resign if they did not apologize for their insulting comments about China. After Palmer’s insults, Lambie said Australia was facing an invasion from the Chinese army. About 100 people from the Chinese community protested outside another Palmer United politician Senator Dio Wang’s office. Co-founder of the Shandong Association WA Eddie Hwang told Xinhua that the Chinese community had worked diligently to forge strong ties between China and Australia and Palmer’s comments were destroying these links.
“We have to condemn his activities. He is using his political position to further his own business interests,” he said.
Palmer’s comments last week caused widespread condemnation from Australian politicians, business leaders and the general public, while sparking protests from the Chinese community in Australia. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was quick to rebuke Palmer saying the comments were destructive and counter-productive.
Abbott underlined the importance of Australia’s biggest trading partner and said China’s economic boom kept Australia going through the global financial crisis.
“It’s one of the reasons why we want to maintain a very strong relationship with China, one of the reasons why what Clive Palmer said the other night was so destructive, and really it’s very hard to understand why someone who wants to be influential in our nation’s life would be so simplistic and counter-productive,” Abbott said.
In a statement released after the prime minister’s rebuke, Palmer said his comments were not aimed at the Chinese people, or the government, but were directed at the Chinese state-owned company Citic, in which he has a bitter legal dispute over mining royalties. Citic has also accused Palmer of siphoning off millions of dollars from a business bank account to fund his election campaign, an allegation he denies. On last week’s television interview, Palmer referred to Chinese as “mongrels” and “bastards” who shoot their own people. “I don’t mind standing up against the Chinese bastards and stopping them from doing it,” he said. “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.”
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the Australian Parliament does not share Palmer’s “abusive” views. “It is abusive and unnecessary language, and Mr. Palmer is in the middle of a bitter legal dispute with China, with a Chinese company and I don’t think he should use his public position as a Member of Parliament to insult one of our major strategic and trading partners,” Bishop said.
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