been there, done that, weakly

According to the SMH, apparently Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has (predictably) dismissed Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s politely expressed concerns about the current purge of Ai Weiwei and others. And in another SMH article, Philip Dorling accesses Wikileaks to assert “China Laughs off human rights concerns.”

“I did express to Premier Wen my concern and Australia’s concern about the treatment of ethnic minorities, about the question of religious freedom and about recent reports in relation to human rights activists,” Ms Gillard said.

“I indicated to Premier Wen that Australia hopes this is not a backwards step being taken by China on progress on human rights.”

But despite widespread evidence that China had launched a brutal crackdown on dissidents in the wake of the popular uprisings in the Middle East, Premier Wen dismissed Ms Gillard’s concerns.

“He did indicate his view that China has not taken a backwards step on human rights,” Ms Gillard said.

Asked if she was comfortable with that response, Ms Gillard said: “I think the appropriate thing for me to do, as the Australian prime minister in discussions with Premier Wen in this country, is to raise Australia’s perspectives. I’ve done that.”

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