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China formally lodges protest over Aus PM's comment on Tibet
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April 09, 2008 09:04 IST

China has formally lodged a protest against Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's statement on Tibet and the Olympic Games, before the touring prime minister lands in Beijing on Wednesday.

Before Rudd's scheduled arrival in Beijing on a four-day visit, China had lodged formal complaints both in Canberra and with the Australian embassy in Beijing about Rudd's statement, media reports said.

The complaints followed Rudd's comments at his press conference with the United States President George Bush in Washington, during which he condemned human rights abuses in Tibet and called on China to engage in talks with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

"It is absolutely clear that there are human rights abuses in Tibet. That's clear-cut; we need to be upfront and absolutely straight about what's going on," Rudd had said.

While Chinese ambassador to Australia, Zhang Junsai, conveyed his country's reaction to a foreign affairs official in Canberra, Chinese authorities also echoed similar views to the Australian ambassador in Beijing.

Meanwhile, Rudd, who left Britain for Beijing on Tuesday, had said at the London School of Economics that China, like everybody else, was operating in a free market.

"The market, while driving up the price of ore and coal, had given China a bargain on Australian liquefied natural gas," Rudd said, adding it had been guaranteed a long-term supply at a third of the current market rate.

In 2002, China secured a $25 billion contract for supply of LNG for 25 years, which had no provision for renegotiation of price, which has since soared.

"China did very well out of that deal," Rudd said.

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