Never thought I would be approvingly quoting from a Judy Turner speech, but hers was the highlight regarding China and Tibet. Turner is the second United Future MP. Some extracts:
However, it is sadly obvious that the Labour Government has bigger fish to fry than to uphold an oppressed people’s political freedoms and fundamental human rights. Worst still, it appears to the world New Zealand’s timid response has simply been bought by Chinese Yuan.
Ouch – and remember this is from a party which supports the Government.
The first response of the Government was to stall, saying more information is needed. Hopefully it will blow over, they are thinking – maybe if the People’s Liberation Army can crush the dissension quickly enough we might be able to sneak over to Beijing, sign on the dotted line and still gain the plaudits for being the first country to sign a bilateral free trade agreement with China.
The initial response was pretty appalling. To be fair the Government’s later position was much better as they talked about the right to peaceful protest.
As a proud New Zealander the very least I would expect is for the Prime Minister to summon the Chinese Ambassador and in no uncertain terms express our nation’s disappointment and disapproval. Or are we so subservient in this relationship that we cannot even do that?
Maybe we just emailed them a press release!
UnitedFuture leader Hon Peter Dunne hosted the Dalai Lama last year, an honour made strange by the fact that the Prime Minister refused to meet with the Tibetan leader. At the time, not a lot was really made of this.
Maybe now we are truly seeing which side of the fence this Labour Government sits on.
Again, this is from a Government ally whose Leader is a Minister.
I don’t go as far as the Greens in calling for there to be no FTA with China, because of what has happened. Let’s be honest – the Greens are against an FTA with anyone – this is just an excuse to oppose the FTA. But by that I don’t mean they are not sincere on the Tibet issue – they have a long and good record on that issue.
We should complete the FTA. But we shouldn’t let the desire for an FTA mean that we self-censor ourselves on fundamental issues such as the right to peaceful protest. Now again this doesn’t mean we get up and call the Chinese Government a bunch of bloody killers – rhetoric like that doesn’t tends to be counter-productive. But we should communicate our views directly to the Chinese Government, and have public statements that clearly support the right of peaceful protest, and condemn the use of force to stop such protests.
China claims that the violence was caused by the protesters. Well that is possible but the trouble is that there is no way to verify this, because of the media restrictions. If they allowed free movement of media, then one could judge independently what has happened. Without that media freedom, it is dangerous to assume the Chinese Government is telling the truth.
UPDATE: John Armstrong also likes Turner’s speech.Tags: China, free speech, free trade agreement, John Armstrong, Judy Turner, Tibet