Tuesday, March 27, 2007



Kowtowing to China

How far is the government willing to go in order to gain a free trade deal with China? All the way, apparently. Last night a New Zealand journalist was evicted from a Beehive signing ceremony involving Chinese Deputy Premier Zeng Peiyan because the Chinese delegation objected to his presence. His "crime"? He published stories about the 15th anniversary of the Tiannamen Square Massacre. His past refusal to follow the party line of a human rights-abusing dictatorship was enough for the Chinese delagation to demand his removal. And predictably, the government and New Zealand police complied. They did not say "sorry, but this is a democracy", they did not say "we have free speech and a free press here" - instead they willingly suppressed the New Zealand media so that things would go "smoothly". And this remember from a government whose leader raised hell over National's treatment of protestors during Jiang Zemin's visit in 1999.

This is absolutely disgraceful, and if it is the price of a free trade agreement or even better diplomatic relations with China, that price is simply too high.

7 comments:

*sigh* At the very least, Madame Speaker should hand down a ruling on whether she's outsourced regulating access to Parliament to foreign embassies. And if the answer is 'yes', then I think it's only fair everyone gets the right to contribute to a blacklist of media outlets and individuals that offend their sensibilities.

I hope - but won't hold my breath waiting - that Michael Cullen is going to get a very public slap in the chops from Madame Speaker.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 3/27/2007 02:09:00 PM

All this outrage and the next time china asks us to do somthing it will be "yes sir, no sir, 3 bags full sir"
GNZ

Posted by Anonymous : 3/27/2007 07:46:00 PM

Actually I think the Speaker's actions in response to this have been great. Wilson has made it clear that she did not order the journo's removal and re-stated the rights of the press gallery. Her planned public statement and letter to the Chinese Embassy are commendable. I agree it was wrong to remove the journo, but wouldn't just assume that Dr Cullen knew what was going on. If he did, he was wrong to allow it.

Posted by Chris : 3/28/2007 01:50:00 AM

Chris:
I agree it was wrong to remove the journo, but wouldn't just assume that Dr Cullen knew what was going on. If he did, he was wrong to allow it.

Well, that's fair enough as far as it goes. It's just funny how often there's sudden attacks of temporary blindness and amnesia in the Beehive when the Chinese try throwing their weight around.

If (as some media reports have it) Zeng Peiyan was so 'agitated' by Wang's presence the signing ceremony was delayed until he was removed, it simply beggars credibility that Cullen didn't know what was going on.

And I stand by my belief that the Deputy Prime Minister should have been publicly reminded that all MPs also play a part in (as you put it) "preserving our own values." I do hope Madame Speaker will be reminding Members that the DPS and Press Gallery aren't the only folks who have a role in upholding those values.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 3/28/2007 10:13:00 AM

You can watch Nick Wang's TV programme "NZ Asia TV" on Thursdays at 7.30pm Triangle TV Wellington

Posted by Uroskin : 3/28/2007 02:09:00 PM

Craig - I seem to recall we have had this debate once or twice before :-)

I didn't see Cullen's comments yesterday about the journo being 'wound up' but it seems a pretty thin excuse to me.

The issue of free speech and Chinese officials visiting NZ has a long history. We should never forget that a bus was conveniently parked in front of a group of protesters while Jenny Shipley was PM...

Posted by Chris : 3/28/2007 09:02:00 PM

__The issue of free speech and Chinese officials visiting NZ has a long history. We should never forget that a bus was conveniently parked in front of a group of protesters while Jenny Shipley was PM...__

Um, yes, Chris... and I remember a few conversations we've had on this topic when we were young and gay and setting the world to rights in the Vic Quad when Mrs. Shipley had the keycard to the Ninth Floor. I don't think my low opinion of the Chinese Government and their domestic enablers had changed one whit over the last decade or so.

And if my memory serves, Shipley was hauled before the privileges committee well after she was 'demoted' to leader of the Opposition, to answer allegations that she had directly interfered in a police operational matter. Care to remind the audience at home what the outcome of that was?

Feel free to disagree with me, but I'm really not sympathetic to charges of partisan hypocrisy on this issue.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 3/29/2007 12:51:00 AM