Friday, June 18, 2010

Chinese bodyguards attack NZ MP in Parliament grounds

From Stuff:

Green MP Russel Norman had a Tibetan flag torn from his hands by a member of Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping's entourage when he arrived at Parliament today.

Dr Norman said he believed it was one of the vice president's security guards.

Arriving in a convoy or around six vehicles with a police escort, the guards initially tried to shield the flag with their bodies and umbrellas before it was torn from Dr Norman's hand with a member of the vice president's entourage standing on it as the VIP was rushed through the front entrance of Parliament.

This is absolutely outrageous - not just that it is a blatant suppression of freedom of speech by an undemocratic visitor, but that they feel they can do it to an MP in the heart of our democracy. Protests are just something the Chinese have to put up with when they visit New Zealand - and if they don't want to, then they shouldn't come here.

Those bodyguards almost certainly have diplomatic immunity, so they can't be prosecuted for assault, or for contempt of Parliament (which they have shown in abundance). But we can at the least declare them persona non grata and eject them. They've committed a crime in this country and they need to go, now.

But I expect John Key is "relaxed" about the whole thing, right?