How much risk and tension is there in Australia’s relationship with China as a result of defecting diplomat Chen Yonglin?

According to someone who worked at China’s Foreign Ministry in the late 90s – and has outlined his fascinating views on the RoadtoSurfdom
blog – Chen’s defection is “a major embarrassment” for China and
because the case has still yet to be reported in China’s official
media, “the most logical solution will be for Australia to quietly
issue Chen a protection visa and both sides move on.”

“despite Alexander Downer’s lofty rhetoric that Australia has always
stood firm against tyranny, the brutal fact is that Australia, as a
middle power, holds little, if any, political clout in its dealings
with China, and any button-pushing on human rights by Australia will be
retaliated by China giving the lucrative resource contracts elsewhere,
a trade weapon China has not hesitated to use before.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey