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Commentary: Clive Palmer's apology win for people valuing China-Australia ties
by Zhang Xiaojun, Patrick Whiteley
SYDNEY, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Australian politician MP Clive Palmer's letter of apology to the Chinese ambassador for insulting Chinese is not only a win from a Chinese perspective, it also is a win for those Australians from all walks of life who loudly protested against the irrational comments.
From the Chinese ambassador in Australia and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to the voters in Palmer's own electorate, the people of China and multicultural Australia did not tolerate such offensive remarks, and made their views known that both nations value this important bilateral relationship.
Ma Zhaoxu, Chinese ambassador to Australia, on Tuesday said: " 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."
Australia and China have a very prosperous trading relationship and are about to sign a free trade agreement this year. The economy is only one part of the equation. China and Australia's long diplomatic ties have blossomed through an increasing amount of people-to-people contact between the two nations.
The past days have shown that China and Australia won't allow any irresponsible individual to destroy the bridges that have been built over many years. When this important relationship was threatened, Australians, just like Chinese, stood up together and without hesitation voiced their strong views.
Dozens of protesters took to the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday waving both Australian and Chinese flags. They held signs that read "Clive Palmer must step down" and chanted " Palmer must resign." On Monday, about 100 people protested against Palmer in Perth, Western Australia.
These demonstrations follow a voter backlash in his own Queensland electorate of Fairfax. The people who elected Palmer were not happy with their representative's poor performance.
The grassroots protests echoed comments expressed by Australia' s political and business leaders urging Palmer to correct his wayward comments.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott underlined the importance of Australia's biggest trading partner, saying China's economic boom kept Australia going through the global financial crisis and "that's one of the reasons why what Clive Palmer said the other night was so destructive."
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop slashed Palmer's remarks as "abusive and unnecessary language."
Australian media magnate Kerry Stokes told Palmer to "separate his personal interests from the interests of the Commonwealth" and be responsible for the interests of the people he represents, rather than continually focus on his personal interests.
The pressure from so many different interest groups and the need for his political survival forced Palmer to say sorry and admitted that Australia and China "must work towards a prosperous future by working together."
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Xinhua is China's state-run news agency.
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