Kevin Rudd announced his arrival to Beijing to his 290 thousand-plus weibo followers today.
The message, which includes a picture of Rudd holding his grand-daughter Josephine, reads:
I arrived in Beijing this afternoon. Tomorrow I’m going to Tianjin to give a speech at Summer Davos. I’m at my son-in-law and daughters home at the moment. My son Marcus is also here. Today is my granddaughter Josephine’s 100th day. Everyone’s very happy. KRudd
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashrafin as well as several other foreign leaders are also expected to attend the ‘Summer Davos’ World Economic Forum event in Tianjin this week.
It’s not known if Mr Rudd will be meeting with any foreign leaders or what he we will be speaking on.
Rudd’s latest foray onto the world stage comes at the same time as Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been forced to leave the APEC forum in Russia following the death of her father.
Since his resignation as foreign minister and subsequent failed challenge for the Prime Ministership last February, Mr Rudd has maintained a busy international schedule.
During the last parliamentary break he made a number of speeches on world affairs in the USA and Canada. On that trip, Mr Rudd announced he had been invited by the World Economic Forum to chair a panel on fragile states.
It’s not known if this World Economic Forum event, also known as the ‘Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2012’, is related to that appointment. UPDATE: According to this schedule at Hexun.com（和讯）, Rudd is attending the forum in his capacity as chair on the panel for fragile states (脆弱国家事务全球议程理事会理事)。
China Central Television International anchorman Rui Chenggang (芮成钢), a close friend of Mr Rudd’s, was one of over 400 people to comment on the weibo post:
Welcome back Lao Lu. The bigger Josephine gets, the more beautiful she is!
Rui is responsible for convincing the former Prime Minister to sign-up to the Chinese micro-blogging service in April this year. The first weibo post Mr Rudd made was to thank Rui for encouraging him to use the service.
Last week Rui announced to his own weibo followers, who number in excess of 5 million, that he would also be attending the forum in Tianjin this week.
At the World Economic Forum in Dalian last September, Rui gained notoriety by asking US Ambassador Gary Locke “I hear you flew here coach. Is that a reminder that US owes China money?”
When interviewed about his book in the Yangcheng Daily News today, Rui had this to say about his friend Mr Rudd:
Although people have their doubts about him, I have enough reason to believe there’s no doubt about his love for the Chinese people and Chinese culture. He already has over 200 thousand fans on weibo. He’s the only foreign dignitary who can write Chinese weibo posts on his own. Personally I think he, like Kissinger, can play an important role in the communication between China and the West.
This weibo post by Rudd in early June includes a photo with Rui, Rudd and his son Marcus:
I spent a happy day with my son Marcus Rudd yesterday. We had lunch with our old friend Rui Chenggang, chatted for a long time. KRudd
Author: Fergus Ryan