Ai Weiwei: the Australian Government line

Dear Nigel

Thank you for your email about Ai Weiwei’s detention.

The Government is aware of reports that Ai Weiwei is under investigation for suspected economic crimes. We expect it will take some time before the full facts of the case are known.

This does not detract from our broader concern about reports that individuals are being detained or otherwise harassed by Chinese authorities for expressing their political views

Chinese society is more free and open today than at any time in the last 50 years. However, we are still seriously concerned about human rights there, including freedom of speech, the media, and religious worship; open and transparent trials; the use of the death penalty; and in relation to minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang.

We raise our concerns with China through bilateral exchanges with senior political leaders and officials, through diplomatic channels, and through the Australia-China Human Rights Dialogue (HRD) frank private discussion and support for the domestic constituencies that exist to reform elements of human rights is the most effective way of encouraging Chinese compliance with international human rights norms.

Thank you for raising this important issue with me.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Leigh

PS. I spoke in parliament last year about human rights in China.


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