Beijing: China would even prosper more if it embraced democracy and greater legal freedoms, Australia’s opposition leader Tony Abbott said.
According to The Age, in his speech during a three-day visit to China, Abbott said that as prime minister he would hope for China to embark on political reforms to match its economic liberalisation.
"In the long term, China should prosper even more if its people enjoyed freedom under the law and the right to choose a government, despite the difficulty of managing this transition in a country with a tumultuous history,” Abbott told business leaders in Beijing.
Abbott said that Australia and China had very different attitudes to human rights, press freedom and the courts. He said a coalition government would "be a strong voice for human rights", but would push the case for improvements respectfully.
"Whatever disagreements Australia has with China, it`s important to acknowledge the vast improvement in living standards that Chinese people have enjoyed since the 1970s," he said.
He rejected the idea that Australia would one day need to choose between its alliance with the US and commercial relationship with China. He pledged to renew Australia`s free trade talks with China, which have dragged on for seven years.