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Chinese Ambassador Xiao Qian interrupted by several protesters speaking at UTS

Written by Javed Iqbal

Protesters have caused a number of disturbances during a speech in Sydney by China’s ambassador to Australia, Xiao Qian.

The ambassador, who was appointed earlier this year, had started talking about how to improve ties between the two countries when he was interrupted by successive protesters.

A protester described Mr Xiao as a “representative of a dictatorship” and accused the Chinese government of committing genocide against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

He was led out by security guards.

A man was asked to leave the venue prior to the event because he was dressed in a military costume from the era of the Cultural Revolution, which security described as “confrontational”.

Another protester held a sign reading “Free Tibet”.

Another was escorted out after rising up and criticizing China’s censorship, saying that people in Hong Kong and Tibet were unable to express their views freely.

A man holds up a poster during a speech by the Chinese ambassador
Protesters held signs and shouted during Xiao Qian’s speech at a university in Sydney.

The speech was widely seen as an attempt to thaw frost-clear relations between the two countries, in the wake of trade sanctions and a recent “dangerous” encounter between a Chinese fighter jet and Australian maritime surveillance aircraft over the South China Sea.

“How can we keep the momentum and get our relationship back on track,” Mr Xiao told the audience.

“This relationship is mutually beneficial in nature,” he said, adding that “the policy of friendly cooperation” remained unchanged.

But he added that the relationship in recent years had been “difficult”.

“There are undeniably certain areas where China and Australia have different views. These are the areas where we should continue to engage in constructive dialogue.”

More on the way.

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Javed Iqbal

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