A human rights partnership with China has been suspended after two decades amid the detention of Uighurs and the barring of two Australian politicians.
The prime minister has labeled China’s decision to ban two members of the Australian government from visiting the country very disappointing.
Scott Morrison said it was up to Chinese authorities to explain the move and defended the right of Liberal colleagues Andrew Hastie and James Paterson to speak out about human rights.
They were denied visas, which I think was very disappointing, Mr. Morrison told Adelaide radio FiveAA on Monday.
The response by Senator Paterson and Andrew Hastie I thought was spot on. I thought it was very measured, it was very strong, I thought it was very appropriate.
It’s for others to explain why they took the view that they did – the Chinese authorities. But we’re an open democracy, we speak our minds as individuals and certainly James and Andrew have always been known for that, we will always are who we are.
The pair have been blocked from entering China until they repent for criticizing Beijing.
They have each spoken out against Chinese attempts to exert influence in Australia, the detention of Chinese-Australian writer Yang Hengjun, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and the mass detention of Uighurs.
Neither man intends to scale back their criticism.
I am not really the repenting type, I am agnostic but even if I was I wouldn’t be following the commands of foreign powers to repent on my political views, Senator Paterson told ABC Radio.
Even if I wanted to change my views and soften them, I feel like it’s impossible for me to do so now that I’ve been issued such a demand from the Chinese embassy.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said the visa ban was unfortunate.
We support freedom of expression here in Australia, Mr. Albanese told Sky News.
There are genuine and legitimate concerns about human rights in China, particularly what we hear about the treatment of the Uighurs and the concerns about what is happening in Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, Australia has quietly discontinued a human rights program in China after more than two decades.
It wasn’t getting the job done, Mr. Morrison said.
The prime minister said human rights concerns would be raised with China through a range of other channels.
Asked whether China respected Australia’s democracy, Mr. Morrison said: They respect our sovereignty, I mean, they have a different system to us.
We are not looking to adopt their system and they’re not looking to adopt ours, according to dailymail report.