Even hypocrites can be right

Julie Bishop is making the case that Stern Hu – the Rio Tinto executive mysteriously detained in Shanghai – should be released after having been detained for 7 days without charge.

This is just a bit rich, considering her party’s time in government saw:

  1. the excessive detention for months and even years of completely innocent people – asylum seekers who are overwhelmingly genuine refugees; and
  2. the implementation of preventative detention orders, whereby a person can be detained by the AFP for 14 days without charge. (One might argue that terrorism is a lot more serious than whatever it is Stern Hu may or may not be caught up in, but the legal principle of habeus corpus does not make such distinctions.)

She’s basically right this time, of course – better to be inconsistent than consistently nasty – though I’m not sure of the wisdom of making an international incident out of it.

Paul Kelly’s thoughts on this are interesting. For all its centuries of history and accumulated wisdom, this incident seems to suggest that the current Chinese regime is actually somewhat ignorant of the way the world works.