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To be honest, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Mandarin isn’t all that great. But try telling that to the students of Beijing University.
Rudd, 50, made his first trip to China in early April as Australia's head of state. Rudd is an old Beijing hand, having stayed in the Chinese capital for three years in the late 1980s. Not many Chinese, in Beijing or otherwise, had noticed the smiling official from the Australian embassy then. The fact that he could speak fluent Mandarin – in a city where many foreigners are Chinese experts – aroused little interest.