Repent, China tells MPs

Repent, China tells MPs

The Sunday Times – Lanai Scarr – Sunday 17 November

China has called on Morrison Government MPs Andrew Hastie and James Paterson to “genuinely repent and redress their mistakes” and says it will “never yield to the colonisation of ideas and values” of Western powers following revelations it denied the pair visas to visit Beijing.

In a strongly worded statement, the Chinese embassy yesterday said Mr Hastie, the MP for Canning and head of Parliament’s powerful intelligence and security committee, and Senator Paterson, who represents Victoria, were not welcome in China due to their public attacks on it.

But if the pair apologised and showed their respect, entry to China might be considered.

“The Chinese people do not welcome those who make unwarranted attacks, want (to) only exert pressure on China, challenge China’s sovereignty, disrespect China’s dignity and undermine mutual trust between China and Australia,” a Chinese embassy spokesperson said.

“As long as the people concerned genuinely repent and redress their mistakes, view China with objectivity and reason, respect China’s system and mode of development chosen by the Chinese people, the door of dialogue and exchanges will always remain open.”

The West Australian revealed last month Mr Hastie and Senator Paterson had accepted an invitation by China Matters to go to Beijing as part of a study tour with Labor MP Matt Keogh and other business leaders.

The trip was due to take place from December 9-11 with costs covered by the organisation.

But on Friday it was revealed on thewest.com.au that the planned visit had to be postponed because the pair had been denied visas.

In its statement the Chinese embassy said “the colonial days of Western powers are long gone”. “China will never yield to the colonisation of ideas and values”.

Mr Hastie and Senator Paterson were quick to hit back saying they had “nothing to apologise for”.

“We are elected to represent the values, interests and concerns of the Australian people. We have nothing to apologise for,” the pair told The Sunday Times. “We believe there is nothing to fear from dialogue especially with those whom we might disagree.”

Mr Hastie earlier this year penned an opinion piece linking the rise of China and the Western world’s lack of response to that of France towards Nazi Germany before WWII.

Senator Paterson was the first politician to be outspoken against any extradition treaty with China during the Turnbull government and has regularly made public his anti-China views.

China Matters is an independent organisation that seeks to promote better relations between China and Australia. Its advisory council includes former chief of army Peter Leahy.

Labor’s Richard Marles, Tanya Plibersek and the LNP’s Ted O’Brien joined a China Matters tour earlier this year.

The slap down of Mr Hastie and Senator Paterson threatens to risk thawing relations between China and Australia.

Scott Morrison is the first prime minister in recent history to not visit China within 12-months of being in office or shortly after and is yet to receive an invitation from President Xi Jinping.

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