In this morning edition of The Age: Insight, there was an article about the PM’s current visit to China. I have to say, I’m impressed. In summary, PM Kevin Rudd upon landing in China went straight to Peking University to deliver a speech in Mandarin! To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t impressed by his Mandarin-speaking skills that were displayed at the visit of the Chinese president sometime last year. However, my impression of him has changed to a degree. I’m still waiting and watching over the next few months to see how he plays his cards but he has done well.
Moreover, his courage in openly and publicly addressing the Tibetan issue has only proved his political prowess. Seemingly having crafted his speech in such a way that it was not the central point but carried the force of criticism against China’s handling of the situation. Unless you are aware of the Asian culture, what Kevin Rudd did was a brave move. To stand up in a public arena which was not addressed to the leadership but students, is a slap in the face, almost going behind the back of the leadership.
However, Kevin Rudd has continued to meet with Chinese leaders and will continue, it seems, to challenge their decisions and actions regarding Tibet. It will be interesting to see how Kevin Rudd comes out the other end.