(Updates with Palmer losing another legal fight against CITIC)
BEIJING/SYDNEY Aug 20 An influential Chinese
newspaper called for retaliation against Australia on Wednesday
after Australian mining mogul and politician Clive Palmer
described China's government as "bastards" who shoot their own
The Australian government has rebuked Palmer for his
comments, and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she planned to
contact the Chinese embassy to stress that the Australian
parliament does not share Palmer's "abusive" views.
While the Chinese government has yet to publicly comment, a
prominent Chinese newspaper, the state-run Global Times tabloid,
weighed into the controversy, saying Australia should be taught
"China cannot let him off, or show petty kindness just
because the Australian government has condemned him," the
newspaper said in an editorial in its Chinese and English
"China must be aware that Palmer's rampant rascality serves
as a symbol that Australian society has an unfriendly attitude
The Global Times is published by the ruling Communist
Party's official People's Daily, and though it does not have the
same mouthpiece function of its mother publication, its words
can carry weight in government circles.
However, the government-run Xinhua news agency took a softer
line, saying in a commentary that "one rotten apple" should not
be allowed to ruin relations, noting that the Chinese embassy
had received emails of support from Australian people who felt
embarrassed by Palmer.
Palmer, who holds the balance of power in the Australian
parliament's upper house, is locked in a legal battle with
Chinese firm CITIC Pacific Ltd over cost blowouts and
disputed royalty payments at the Sino Iron project in Western
Australia, China's biggest offshore mining investment.
The outspoken businessman lost two parts of that legal fight
on Wednesday. The Federal Court of Australia ruled that the
government was wrong to have appointed Palmer's private company
Mineralogy Pty Ltd as operator of Cape Preston port, where Sino
Iron is exporting its ore.
In a separate case, a federal judge ruled that the
government had the right to approve CITIC Pacific's security
plan for the port facilities at Cape Preston.
Mineralogy had challenged the approval in an attempt to
block CITIC Pacific, controlled by state-owned CITIC Group Corp
, from exporting iron ore from the $8 billion project.
CITIC bought the rights to the ore from Palmer and began
shipments last December, more than three years behind schedule
at nearly quadruple the original cost.
A further court challenge over some A$200 million ($185
million) in royalties is going on.
'RANTING AND RAVING'
Palmer has already said his comments were not intended to
refer to the Chinese people, and on Wednesday issued another
statement saying he had been a "major supporter of the Chinese"
for a long time.
"What is unacceptable is a Chinese state-owned enterprise
that abuses the legal system for commercial gain in a global
strategic effort to control resources," Palmer said.
China is Australia's biggest trade partner with two-way
trade approaching $150 billion, representing more than 20
percent of Australia's total trade.
Nev Power, chief executive of Fortescue Metals Group Ltd
, which sold $11.8 billion worth of Australian iron ore
to China in fiscal 2014, said he did not think the remarks would
have an impact on bilateral relations.
"Clearly, they are not helpful comments. It sounded like a
bit of ranting and raving. I'm sure that the Chinese will
dismiss them for what they are," he told reporters.
But the Global Times said China should consider putting
sanctions on Palmer and his companies and banning him and his
senior executives from China.
"China must let those prancing provocateurs know how much of
a price they pay when they deliberately rile us," it said,
adding that Australia "must be marginalized in China's global
The newspaper implied that Australia did not mean that much
to China in any case.
"Australia is a remote business partner, and a place where
the Chinese can take a trip and learn some English."
(1 US dollar = 1.0771 Australian dollar)
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard in BEIJING, Jane Wardell in SYDNEY
and Sonali Paul in MELBOURNE; Editing by Robert Birsel)