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.

Quality news

How’s this for a misleading headline from the ABC: “China may have to bail us out: Rudd“. The user comments below the article howl in derision at the injustice of selling out the country to those funny Mandarin-speakers. No, people, Rudd wants China to bail out the International Monetary Fund, not Australia. The ABC’s article is essentially just a snippet of Rudd’s rhetoric, and fails to explain up front what the actual proposal is: China is to get greater voting rights at IMF in return for more money. See – it’s not that hard. (The idea is that the current arrangement reflects an outdated post-WW2 world, and also that the IMF needs more money to address the global financial crisis.)

I do love the ABC, but sloppiness like this doesn’t inspire confidence in the overall quality of its news reporting.