Times Online - Kevin Rudd, the new Australian Prime Minister, delivered a piece of plain speaking to the authorities in Beijing today warning of “significant” human rights problems in Tibet. Speaking in fluent Mandarin to students at Beijing University, he began by defying his hosts and voicing concern over human rights in the Himalayan region. “Australia, like most other countries, recognises China’s sovereignty over Tibet but we also believe it is necessary to recognise there are significant human rights problems in Tibet,” said Mr Rudd.
“The current situation in Tibet is of concern to Australians. We recognise the need for all parties to avoid violence and find a solution through dialogue." “There are still many problems in China. Problems of poverty, problems of uneven development, problems of pollution. Problems of broader human rights,” he said. The comments caused a flurry of behind-the-scenes diplomatic activity between Beijing and Canberra.I am often quick to criticize the PM and his side of politics but on this occasion he deserves credit for standing up to them on their own ground. He could have just waffled something about peace and dialogue and not raised his concerns at all, but he didn't and for this I applaud him. It might not make any difference to the people of Tibet, hopefully it'll shove China a little in the right direction, but it's about all that he can do really. Image thanks to Patterico's Pontifications