Tuesday, May 04, 2021

The Greens worry about morality, Labour worries about trade

The Greens have done what was expected of them, and agreed to back ACT's motion on genocide in Xinjiang tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Labour Party is worrying about trade:

Trade Minister Damien O'Connor has warned a parliamentary debate on whether Beijing is committing genocide in Xinjiang would damage trade with China.

Parliamentarians were set to decide on Tuesday morning whether their parties would back a motion in Parliament to label the human rights abuses of the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region of China as an act of "genocide".

Senior ministers in the Labour Government have cautioned the use of the genocide label outside the definition prescribed by the United Nations. National Party leader Judith Collins said the Government should release what information it had on abuses in Xinjiang to MPs, to allow them to decide.

“Clearly the Chinese Government wouldn't like something like that ... I have no doubt it would have some impact [with trade]. That's hardly rocket science,” O’Connor said to reporters, on the way into a Labour caucus meeting on Tuesday .

Its not rocket science, and yet its also irrelevant. Genocide is being committed in Xinjiang. Its a crime under international law, and just fundamentally immoral. When that is happening, worrying that you might offend someone by calling them on their crimes is fundamentally missing the point.

But isn't it so very Labour? Make a lot of noise about their principles ("kindness", "my generation's nuclear free moment", Norman Kirk and David Lange), and then when they are actually tested, turn into whining, snivelling cravens?