Friday, April 27, 2007

Signing the lion

Amnesty International is currently touring New Zealand on a campaign to raise awareness about human rights abuses in China, with a petition in the form of a large, colourful, traditional Chinese parade lion. In towns with a sister city relationship with China, they're inviting Mayors and councilors to sign the lion and raise human rights with their Chinese counterparts.

Today, the lion visited Palmerston North. After sunning itself at Massey University for a while, it ventured into town in search of Mayor Heather Tanguay. Unlike her counterpart in Dunedin, she was willing to sign (though only in a personal capcity).

The lion will be visiting other towns and cities around the North Island over the next week (click here for a map). If anyone is interested, it will be in Auckland on May 4, and apparently at Auckland uni the following Monday. Eventually it will make its way down to Wellington, via the Bay of Plenty, to be presented to the Chinese embassy.


It would seem no one has the "balls" to oppose China in an official capacity and few have them to even do it in a personal capacity. And it will only get worse as China's petty threats turn into cripling black balling or more proactive retaliation.

Posted by Anonymous : 4/28/2007 06:00:00 AM

63The ethnic Chinese mayor of Dunedin refuses to condemn China's human rights record? He has opened himself to questions where his loyalties lie, New Zealand or China. And the only thing he can blame for that is his own cowardly and behaviour, whjic more in keeping with the bullies of Bejing than a representative of a liberal democracy.

Posted by Sanctuary : 4/28/2007 12:02:00 PM

So if the "ethnic English" mayor of Auckland fails to oppose Britain's human rights record, he "opens himself up to questions as to where his loyalties lie"?

Or are you just being racist about New Zealanders of Chinese origin.

Posted by Rich : 4/28/2007 12:38:00 PM

No-one can top Whanganui's mayor, the ever-diplomatic Michael Laws.

Mr Laws was quoted in today's W(h)anganui Chronicle as saying "They are a bunch of idiots, and I don’t respond to idiots."

Amnesty will be in Whanganui on Monday and Mr Laws has refused to meet with them.

Go to for the full story.

Posted by Anne-Marie : 4/28/2007 09:46:00 PM

Sanctuary: I think its more a matter of simply being chickenshit in the face of concerns from the business community. Red Heather and other Mayors signed "in a personal capcity" for exactly that reason - she didn't want to take the political flack from local business leaders, who are more concerned about making money and getting junkets than about human rights.

Eugenie: So Michael Laws is a primadonna. Tell us something we didn't know. And OTOH, he was happy enough to call the former king of Tonga a "fat brown slug" over democracy and human rights, which doesn't give him much space for any sort of "principled" stand.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 4/28/2007 11:14:00 PM

I suppose rich is right. But I get infuriated by the abject surrender of our principles we display in our toward China, with its appalling human right record, in the fawning hope we'll get a free trade deal.

Posted by Sanctuary : 4/29/2007 02:43:00 AM

Don't think getting the free trade deal will magically empower us. If we get a free trade deal we will still have our noses glued to their asses.
China's strategy of being petty and vindictive pays dividends every day. It appears they are jsut smarter at international politics than anyone else.


Posted by Anonymous : 4/29/2007 07:18:00 AM