Greg Rudd Advises On China

(The Australian)  Goodwill offers a rich yield.  Greg Rudd.  August 25, 2009.

I remember my first girlfriend's father proudly telling me he was born in the house next door, married the girl across the street, bought the house to the right of his parents' place and had happily lived there for 30 years.

He knew everyone in the street and was suspicious of newbies until they'd been to their quota of backyard barbies and passed the local acceptance test, whereupon they were given qualified support.

Today, China has moved into our street. We are suspicious, so it's time for a few backyard barbies to help build the bridge of friendship and understanding.

This journey of friendship and understanding will take decades but it's a journey we should embrace not shy away from. It will enrich us. It will enrich China. It will also protect our children and protect our country.

Friendship and understanding do not always equate to agreement. Show me a marriage where there is constant agreement and I will show you a sham.

Would communism work in Australia? No. Would democracy work in China? No. If you transported Australia's version of democracy to China today you would have 102 different political parties by this time next year and civil war in China by the end of year two. War lords and crime lords would rise to replicate the dismantling of the USSR by the power of 10. And that's not even including the always eager separatist provinces wanting to go their own way. An eco-political tsunami would roll through the world.

Are the Chinese hard handed at times? Yes. It's a tough gig running a country of 1.3 billion people. Better them than me. Have we made hypocrisy an art form in the West? Of course. Call it spin, PR, branding - whatever you want - but deep down we know the truth because we know ourselves. At least the Chinese have the honesty to call their state mouthpiece a Propaganda Department. Not that it should keep that name if it wants to do more business with the West - more subtle spin is required for the Western palate.

Free press is a two-edged sword. I'm always explaining this in China. I used to teach journalism and the fundamental mantra of journalism 101 in the West is that good news is bad news. Harmony doesn't sell newspapers or win ratings.

As in all novels there has to be a villain. I tell my China buddies, who get somewhat peeved at times with Australian press coverage, that it's simply China's turn to be portrayed as the bad guy. Take it on the chin I tell them, but don't take it too seriously. ¡§Other countries have had their turn before you so don't feel special - and we've all got our skeletons in the cupboard. In Australia we can quite comfortably talk about human rights violations elsewhere while many indigenous citizens still live in Third World conditions.¡¨

Above all, I insist at lunches, dinners and meetings in China that everyone keep a sense of humour. Humour has a better chance of saving our planet than carbon sequestration or the UN.
There is no point giving China a hard time. China essentially has a good heart and can make a great contribution to the civilising of humanity. We have to respect China and China has to respect us. We have to educate China about Australia and China has to educate us about its 5000 years of struggle in civilisation.

Compared with our 221 years of post-indigenous civilisation, China has far more interesting, violent, uplifting, tragic and meaning-of-life stories than we can imagine. If stories are the currency of life, then China has a lot to offer.

With few exceptions politicians are not the best bridge-builders when it comes to forging positive and lasting relationships between countries, although Colin Barnett and Simon Crean are doing a fair job. Politicians have many agendas and almost everyone is expendable in their desire for survival. Better to leave the building of lasting friendship bridges to more ordinary people: tourists, artists, architects, educators, students, businesspeople, religious workers or construction workers. More exchange programs should be inaugurated between Australia and its largest trading partner. China is willing to build these links. Australia should be, too.

It's time Australia made a renewed effort in understanding China. We need a long-term win-win situation here, not a short-term finger-pointing episode.

Did China handle the failed Chinalco-Rio Tinto deal well? No. A market economy is always moving - it is not a planned economy - and things are fluid. There needs to be a plan B and plan C, which China didn't have. And was rival suitor BHP really just going to go away after putting in the early hard yards? Not likely. Did Rio and Australia handle the Chinalco deal well? No. Public relations courses will be using it as a case study for years in what not to do when handling cultural sensitivities.

Is it easy for Australian companies to do business in China? No. Is it easy for Chinese businesses to do business in Australia? No. Both find it frustrating.

Eighteen months ago I was asked by the chairman of the China Iron and Steel Association what China could do to stop any takeover of Rio Tinto by BHP. I said: nothing, it's market forces. My advice was to support China's Fortescue Metals Group and the Midwest iron ore investments to provide competitive sources.

Is there a vibrant private sector in China? Yes, entrepreneurs abound. Is the central government an evil control freak? No. Stereotypes are dangerous.

Do Chinese try to rip you off? Of course. It's the basis of their haggling system in every Chinese market that Australian tourists love, the pursuit of the best deal. If you don't haggle, the Chinese lose respect for you. To them it's normal business, built into their psyche, part of their culture.

Should the Opposition Leader in Australia have broken tradition on a bipartisan approach to China in an effort to wedge the Prime Minister, using the argument that ¡§the PM has a close relationship with China, maybe it's too close?¡¨, turning a positive into a negative? No; all politics and no policy never lead to a healthy outcome. But the opposition has spooked the government on China to a degree.

Provincial cities in China are screaming out for Australian trade offices to open up in their patch so as to do business with Australia, but the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade budget allocation is diverted to other less controversial countries. Sure, China is pumping investment dollars into Australia, but the amount is still a small percentage of all foreign investment, so why the fuss?

Once China understands it can't buy resource supply chains to provide cheap returns at Australia's expense, all the better. China is quickly learning that lesson. You'll see far more sophisticated investment vehicles from China soon.

Australia runs the risk of taking China for granted. Not a wise move, as China has other places to invest. Don't look at China today; look at what relationship you want between Australia and China in 20 years. You have to start building that relationship now and it has to be bipartisan.

Should Australia have given US-based Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer a visa to enter Australia to give her version of reality in Xinjiang? Yes. Like it or not, everyone gets a voice in democracy. China has to understand that. But don't lecture the Chinese - explain it to them. Even the most gifted student doesn't always get it the first time.

If China believes Kadeer is a master terrorist, then they should explain that to us, show us the evidence rather than the rhetoric. Democracy also gives China a legitimate voice in Australia and we are willing to listen, but we don't like being lectured to any more than the Chinese. If there is hard evidence, then she won't be back.

My mother taught me when you walk into someone's house you shouldn't be rude. You may not like what you see sometimes, and advice and suggestions can be given in the right spirit and in the right atmosphere, but always remember it is not your house.

When we are in China's house we should show respect and when they are in our house they should show respect. The real relationship should be built around the barbie in the backyard, or the equivalent, in a urbane and civilised way without resorting to threats and painting stereotypes.

A retired Chinese general once said to me, ¡§If there ever was a war between China and the US where would Australia line up?¡¨ I told him that as much as China often says to me the West doesn't understand China, to ask a question like that meant he obviously didn't understand the psyche of most Australians. He cocked an eyebrow for me to explain.

¡§Most Australians would rather have a long weekend, an extra hour in the pub, an afternoon kip or a barbie in the back yard rather than go to war.¡¨

He looked at me and smiled. ¡§Yes, maybe it's time the Cold War is over.¡¨
One can only agree. The Cold War is over so let's keep it that way.

Greg Rudd is managing director of GPR Asia, based in Beijing. It advises on investment and joint ventures.

(  Kevin Rudd, Your Brother Has Hurt Chinese Even More.  By Yang Hengjun.  September 5, 2009.

Lu Kelei (陆§J¹p)Vs. Lu Kewen (陆§J¤å): Is democracy suitable for Chinese people?
Hello Prime Minister Lu Kewen (aka Kevin Rudd): I originally wanted to write this letter in English, but then I remembered that your Chinese is probably better than my English, so I¡¦ll write it in Chinese instead. I am going to send this letter to Australia¡¦s biggest newspaper, in the hope that they¡¦ll make you read it.

Firstly, I would like to apologise to you because this letter isn¡¦t about you, nor is it about me. This letter is about your brother Lu Kelei (Greg Rudd), and of course it also relates to all the Chinese people he mentioned.

Two days ago, your brother Lu Kelei wrote a very shocking article and had it published in The Australian. The next day, the article was translated into Chinese and consequently published as a headliner in mainland China¡¦s Reference News. The headline was written in bold, capitalized letters as follows: Lu Kewen¡¦s Brother Supports Friendly Relations Between Australia and China.

In this article, your brother hinted at the fact that you, the Prime Minister of Australia, don¡¦t understand China as much as your brother. He said that you spite China, create difficulties when it comes to China-Australia relations and that you¡¦ve hurt the feelings of the Chinese people. I think there¡¦s probably something behind what your brother said.

Your brother is the source of the article and it was immediately published in China¡¦s most widely distributed newspaper. Many Chinese people read the headline, glanced over the main body of text and gave your brother a big thumbs up. They praised this white man for putting righteousness above family loyalty, just like the Chinese. He was capable of raising his hand during a time when his own brother hurt Chinese people¡¦s feelings and threatened to hamper Sino-Australian relations. He was able to have a strong sense of righteousness and support Sino-Australian relations.

However¡Kwait a minute! After I read this article I was immediately struck down. Let me quote a sentence from your brother¡¦s article: ¡§Would communism make sense in Australia? No, it wouldn¡¦t. Would a democratic system work in China? No it wouldn¡¦t.¡¨

After coming to this courageous and determined conclusion, your brother also shockingly claimed, ¡§If China were to implement a democratic system, then two civil wars would break out by the end of the year¡Kit only takes the effort of ten people for China to dissolve like the Soviet Union did¡K a geopolitical tsunami would sweep across the globe.¡¨

Prime Minister Lu Kewen, don¡¦t worry. The global ¡§yellow catastrophe¡¨ instigated by China as described above, didn¡¦t come from the mouth of a Communist Party member, but from the mouth of your own brother, Lu Kelei. Clearly this matter cannot be put to rest after Lu Kelei sentenced Chinese democracy to death. And just like his name (Lei, meaning thunder), he will continue to strike us down. He also said that ¡§sometimes Chinese people use extreme measures. Governing a country with a population of 1.3 billion people is by no means easy. They are stronger than us.¡¨ Look at how these shocking words have in an instant imposed a prison sentence on Chinese people¡¦s human rights. The highest-sounding reason I¡¦ve heard so far being: You have 1.3 billion people!

Your Brother Has Hurt Chinese People¡¦s Feelings More Severely Than You
Hello Prime Minister Lu Kewen: Look, your brother wrote so much more in addition, I can¡¦t endure reading any more of it. First and foremost I would like to briefly look back with the Prime Minister of Australia at the US and Australia¡¦s tyranny towards Chinese and black people. It¡¦s a famous piece of history. Prime Minister, please specify clearly, why did Australia advocate a ¡§white Australia policy¡¨ and why did the United States adapt a black slave system?

The underlying reason is actually very simple. It is because the white people established a country, and set up a system. They thought that this system needed to have a culture, to be literate and to have self-controlling people to enjoy and run it. Moreover, in the eyes of your older generation of self-declared superior white people, do black people know how to vote? Were the sick people from China and East Asia, who were sold like piglets or exiled to a far away place, fit enough to enjoy democracy? Were they capable enough of looking after themselves and choose their own responsibilities? They were only fit enough to become slaves it seems. White people are only capable of making decisions for themselves, and for coloured races¡K

All racial discrimination is in fact political and legal discrimination. Now that society has progressed, people¡¦s thoughts have also advanced. But what¡¦s even more important is that America itself has several million overseas Chinese people and Australia has 300,000 people who have blended into the local culture and have thus become citizens of a democratic system. Nowadays, no matter if it¡¦s America¡¦s white people or Australia¡¦s white people, no-one thinks that a democratic system doesn¡¦t suit yellow skin.

Of course, I must admit that it would be extremely difficult for China to suddenly implement a democracy, being the massive country with several thousand years of history and a population of 1.3 billion people that it is. However, looking back on history, which country ever managed to implement democracy trouble-free? The problem is that no matter how big the difficulties are, the two biggest symbols of modern civilization are advanced technology and political democratization. These are the goals pursued by every race and country on Earth.

China¡¦s Premier clearly stated that democracy, freedom and human rights are ¡§the same values pursued by everyone¡¨ and are also the same values pursued by the Chinese people. Our President Hu stresses the respect for human rights and the pursuit of socialism in every single speech he makes. Chinese people from all fields make extraordinary provocations: some suggest that democracy should be implemented within the party first, others suggest to set up a ¡§county democracy¡¨ first (starting by electing leaders from the county seat), yet others say that increasing the role of the National People¡¦s Congress will promote democratization, and then there are some who state that we shouldn¡¦t have western democracy, that we should create a special Chinese one¡K

Prime Minister Lu Kewen, I would like to ask you something after all I¡¦ve said so far. Can you tell me, in all these years when was there ever a Chinese leader as vocal as your brother: ¡§Would a democratic system work in China? No it wouldn¡¦t.¡¨ And when was there ever a Chinese leader who was as adamant as your brother: the implementation of ¡§extreme measures¡¨ and the fact that we have 1.3 billion people is the reason why we harm human rights?

In actual fact, China still uses extreme measures, and what¡¦s more, this is actually quite normal. This is related to our country¡¦s level of development, our delayed political reformation and our high-speed economic development and social transformation. It is related to these persistent changes, therefore we are confident that one day China¡¦s leader will decide to never again use ¡§extreme measures¡¨ or to severely reduce them just like other countries. However, your brother believes that China uses ¡§extreme measures¡¨ to suppress human rights because of its 1.3 billion strongpopulation. Therefore, it is very clear what he means: China¡¦s human rights have no hope unless half, or at least some, of the Chinese population dies.

What else can I say? The article written by your brother was the headline article in China¡¦s most widely distributed newspaper. Moreover, his tone stated that Chinese people¡¦s ¡§democracy and human rights¡¨ are 100% definitely doomed to failure. Furthermore, his unexpected reason for this is this simple. In fact, it¡¦s so simple that it makes me think of America¡¦s black slave system and Australia¡¦s ¡§White Australia Policy¡¨ ¡V Chinese people are not suited to having a democracy and neither are they suited to have human rights.

I am not willing to put your brother Lu Kelei¡¦s words on the same par as racists¡¦, but he has hurt Chinese people¡¦s feelings and you damaged Sino-Australian relations. Yet, then he stands up to support Sino-Australian relations, criticises you and then goes ahead and writes this kind of article nonetheless, one that is extremely racist and discriminatory against yellow skinned Chinese people, which has thus hurt the feelings of Chinese people even more.

Prime Minister Lu Kewen, as a politician you should know very well that purposely insulting China for the purpose of catering to some interest groups that are hostile towards China, doesn¡¦t actually harm China that much. This is because when our two countries are in a war of words with each other, business isn¡¦t as good as usual, is it?

Moreover, everyone knows that China has no way of changing itself when you stress Australia¡¦s values to China, not to mention the implementation of an Australian democratic system (you don¡¦t have this ability, even America and Europe combined don¡¦t possess the ability, so especially not Australia. The only country that does is we ourselves ¡V the Chinese people). What¡¦s very clear is the fact that your speeches about Australia¡¦s values are designed for Australians to hear. It would be just as if our government emphasized the Chinese speciality over and over again. The purpose of this would by no means be an attempt to make Australia adapt communism, or a special Australian socialism. The purpose of it would be to make our Chinese folk remember what kind of country they live in.

However, the mainstream media has portrayed your brother Lu Kelei¡¦s article as one that ¡§supports Sino-Australian relations¡¨, thereby completely insulting Chinese people. He has made Chinese people sound like monsters, like we are the only race on Earth not capable of implementing democracy (I want to reiterate: Up until now, the Chinese government has never once given up on implementing democracy. It just needs to be done one step at a time. You can flick through the leader¡¦s speeches and documents from the last few years). And your brother describes us as a folk of 1.3 billion people only suited to living under ¡§extreme measures¡¨. What about black Americans or native Australians? Or what about the Chinese people who lived in Australia over 60 years ago?