Skip to main content

Australian tycoon Clive Palmer 'sorry' for China 'mongrel' rant

By Paul Armstrong, CNN
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 0523 GMT (1323 HKT)
Clive Palmer pictured after speaking at the National Press Club on July 7, 2014 in Canberra, Australia.
Clive Palmer pictured after speaking at the National Press Club on July 7, 2014 in Canberra, Australia.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Clive Palmer called Chinese people "mongrels" during an interview on Australian television
  • He said his words were aimed at the Chinese company he is in dispute with and not Chinese people
  • In a letter to China's Australian ambassador he said he regretted "any hurt or anguish" caused

(CNN) -- Outspoken Australian billionaire tycoon and politician Clive Palmer has apologized for his verbal attack on China during a television interview last week, when he called Chinese people "mongrels" who "shoot their own people."

The leader of the Palmer United Party was appearing on Australian television channel ABC when he was asked about the Chinese state-owned company he is locked in a dispute with.

They're "bastards," he said. "I'm saying that because they're Communist, because they shoot their own people, they haven't got a justice system and they want to take over this country [Australia]."

He later clarified that his comments were meant for the company rather than the Chinese people or their government -- though Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Qin Gang was unimpressed and described Palmer's words as "totally irrational and absurd."

Apology

Then in a letter to China's ambassador to Australia Monday, Palmer apologized for his remarks.

I now come to the realization that what I said on Q&A was an insult to Chinese people everywhere.
Clive Palmer

"I regret any hurt or anguish such comments may have caused any party and I look forward to greater understanding for peace and cooperation in future," he wrote.

"I now come to the realization that what I said on Q&A was an insult to Chinese people everywhere and I wish to assure them they have my most genuine and sincere apology."

He then went on to emphasize his links with China, before referencing Mao Zedong, China's late paramount leader.

"I have had a long involvement with China since first visiting the country in 1962. As Chairman Mao said in Nanjing when celebrating the 45th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution, words to the effect that over 45 years have passed since the 1911 Revolution and China had only sought friendly relations with its neighbors.

"He went on to say that another 45 years would pass and China would continue to seek good relations with its relations and China has. It is in the interest of the whole world that Australia and China have good relations."

In response, China's ambassador to Australia, Ma Zhaoxu, said any remarks that attacked or slandered China would not gain popular support and were doomed to fail, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported Tuesday.

"The healthy and stable relationship between China and Australia is in the fundamental interests of the people of the two countries, and cannot be hindered by any individual," he said.

READ: Mixed response to Palmer outburst

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0551 GMT (1351 HKT)
David McKenzie meets some American teenagers who are spending a year in China to be fully immersed in the culture.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0259 GMT (1059 HKT)
Chinese students show a handmade red ribbon one day ahead of the the World AIDS Day, at a school in Hanshan, east China's Anhui province on November 30, 2009.
The Chinese government pledges to protect a boy with HIV, who was shunned by his entire village in Sichuan, state media reported.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
A Chinese couple allegedly threw hot water on a flight attendant and threatened to blow up the plane.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 0503 GMT (1303 HKT)
China's 1.3 billion citizens may soon find it much harder to belt out their national anthem at will.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 0021 GMT (0821 HKT)
Los Angeles in the last century went through its own smog crisis. The city's mayor says LA's experience delivers valuable lessons for Beijing.
December 6, 2014 -- Updated 0542 GMT (1342 HKT)
At the height of his power, security chief Zhou Yongkang controlled China's police, spy agencies and courts. Now, he's under arrest.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 0826 GMT (1626 HKT)
China says it will end organ transplants from executed prisoners but tradition means that donors are unlikely to make up the shortfall.
December 5, 2014 -- Updated 0648 GMT (1448 HKT)
China's skylines could look a lot more uniform in the years to come, if a statement by a top Beijing official is to believed.
December 3, 2014 -- Updated 0855 GMT (1655 HKT)
Despite a high-profile anti-corruption drive, China's position on an international corruption index has deteriorated in the past year.
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
A daring cross-border raid by one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's associates has -- so far -- yet to sour Sino-Russian relations.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
A 24-hour bookstore in Taipei is a popular hangout for both hipsters and bookworms.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 0153 GMT (0953 HKT)
China is building an island in the South China Sea that could accommodate an airstrip, according to IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
North Korean refugees and defectors face a daunting journey to reach asylum in South Korea, with gangs of smugglers the only option.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and "probably one or two other" countries have the capacity to shut down the nation's power grid and other critical infrastructure.
ADVERTISEMENT