“And not to mention the situation of tens of thousands of others who are in the same position where they are either threatened or their human rights are violated or otherwise, the Uighurs and the rest.
“And so part of my assessment of being honest about these things is that I think that if we want change, and we want China to remain a great power, but to uphold the rule of law, then we must speak. about that. “
Sir. Dutton has been criticized by the federal opposition and some national security experts for his comments about the prospect of a conflict erupting with China in the coming years over Taiwan. This included comments in November in which he said it would be “unthinkable” for Australia not to join the United States if it decided to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack.
Sir. Dutton said his focus was on “ruling peace” in the region, but that he also thought it was important to be “honest and speak honestly with the Australian public”.
“If there were conflicts of any kind in our region, then I do not think the public wants to wake up to that news in the newspaper without having heard something about it or the prospect of it before,” he said. “So I think it’s best to be honest first.”
The #MeToo hashtag has been censored in China, while social media reports on women’s rights activists have been suspended and shut down; some have been subjected to harassment and surveillance.
The Chinese government moved last month to revise its key legislation protecting women’s rights for the first time in nearly 20 years, but activists have warned it does not go near far enough in outlining penalties for perpetrators of violence.
Yaqiu Wang, a senior researcher in China at Human Rights Watch, said women rights activists and victims of sexual abuse in China were confronted with government censorship, harassment, surveillance and even detention for speaking out.
“The women’s rights movement is terribly oppressed. That is why it is very important that the international community is aware of and shows support for women’s rights in China, ”she said.
“I hope feminists in the West can be more aware of women’s rights issues in China, but I understand the reasons for the lack of the same. The Chinese government’s internet censorship and the suppression of international exchanges make it harder for feminists in the West to know the situation in China. . “
Wang said the Chinese government had for years exploited access to the Chinese market to quell international criticism, adding that there was a “collective restraint” in Hollywood to speak out on human rights issues in China.
“Celebrities like Richard Gere – a longtime supporter of the Tibetan cause – paid a high price for openly criticizing the Chinese government,” she said.
“But lately, I’m feeling very encouraged to see stars like Naomi Osaka speak Peng Shuai’s case, even though she knew her commercial interests might be hurt because of it.”
Blair Williams, of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at the Australian National University, said the treatment of women in China was a significant concern, but Australia had to make sure it got its own house in order before lecturing. others on the world stage.
“We have a parliament that has had so many sexual assaults, harassment, abuse and bullying and all the kind of toxic workplace culture that we have seen over the last year,” said Dr. Williams.
“Before we start pointing fingers at someone else’s backyard, we really need to make sure our backyard is clean. We really need to improve the situation in Australian politics.
“This is a global match. This is happening everywhere. And it’s something we have to fight for, instead of making it a political football.”
Veronica Koman, Amnesty International Australia’s campaign strategist, said the Chinese government has a track record in silencing women who made allegations of sexual violence, including repeated attempts to shut down the country’s #MeToo movement.
“While we welcome Peter Dutton’s concerns and agree that more needs to be done regarding China’s treatment of women, we believe that Dutton himself could have done more to ensure that women in Australia are safe, especially those in parliament and the defense forces, “he said. she said.
Ms Koman said next month’s Winter Olympics in Beijing would be a good platform for people to talk about China’s treatment of women as well as other human rights issues.
Australia has launched a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Games over China’s human rights record, meaning no Australian government officials will attend events.
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