Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Billionaire's racist talk can't derail ties

By Wang Hui (China Daily) Updated: 2014-08-21 06:51

Australian billionaire-turned legislator Clive Palmer's TV rant against China has naturally met with strong condemnation from both China and Australia. Palmer's insulting remarks only lay himself bare as a man of low character and a politician with no sense of responsibility.

During a TV show on Monday, Palmer, a mining tycoon and Member of Parliament, abused the Chinese government and even called Chinese "mongrels" and "bastards". In the face of pressure after his remarks on the Australia Broadcasting Company program, he "clarified" his position on Twitter on Tuesday morning, alleging that his comments were not intended to refer to Chinese people but to a Chinese company which he says is taking Australian resources and not paying.

As a big beneficiary of Australia-China trade - Chinese investments in Australia have turned Palmer into one of the country's richest men, Palmer used to sing the praises of China. In 2011, he accused the Australian government of "racially" discriminating against Chinese investment, urging that Chinese people and the government should be treated with "the dignity they deserve".

His resentment toward China this time might stem from an increasingly bitter legal dispute with the Chinese-owned Citic Pacific over financial issues. Palmer has been accused of illegally taking more than 12 million Australian dollars ($11.2 million) from his Chinese mining partner's bank account to use for his personal election campaign. He is also involved in a multi-million dollar legal battle with the same Chinese company over mining royalties.

Palmer has now revealed his real face as a selfish businessman who puts his own interests above anything else. His biased and racist remarks should not be tolerated by any civilized society.

Australian political and business leaders as well as ordinary Australians lost no time in pouring criticism on Palmer. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Palmer's comments were "over the top, shrill and wrong".

The China boom kept Australia going through the worst of the global financial crisis, Abbott said.

"It's one of the reasons why we want to maintain a strong relationship with China, one of the reasons why what Clive Palmer said the other night was so destructive," he told ABC radio.

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