Bravo the Greens

I don’t agree with a huge amount of what the do, but one thing they do that deserves praise is their constant willingness to invite and host in New Zealand dissidents from countries who try and pressure us to lower our own standards of freedom of speech, to meet their own.

The Herald reports:

Exiled Chinese Muslim leader Rebiya Kadeer says she wants to “meet with the enemy” during her New Zealand visit.

“Change can only happen when you change the hearts and minds of those who oppose you,” she said as she arrived in Auckland yesterday for a four-day visit. …

tried to stop Maori TV from screening a Kadeer biopic last month, and despite talks among some Chinese students about staging a protest at the airport yesterday, no one turned up.

“If the Chinese here learn that it is okay to protest peacefully, then they would have learned a valuable lesson about living in a democracy,” Ms Kadeer said.

Meanwhile, following “internal messages of protest” by university staff on the administration’s stopping Ms Kadeer from holding a public meeting on campus, law professor David Williams has invited her to speak at the law faculty at midday instead.

“I hope that university security personnel will not be called upon to prevent the exercise of ,” Professor Williams said. “Rebiya Kadeer is the sort of person whose voice needs to be listened to. Her voice should not be silenced in a university.”

Ms Kadeer was once a successful businesswoman in the northwest Xinjiang region but spent six years in jail after speaking out against Beijing.

China regards her as a criminal who orchestrated the ethnic violence in Xinjiang in July that left nearly 200 dead.

It is opposed to countries providing her with a platform to engage in anti-China separatist activities, a charge she rejects.

Her visit, as a guest of the Green Party, will include meetings with human rights groups, a visit to Parliament and meetings with MPs.

I hope that over time, China will realise it should just accept dissidents will criticise them, and stop trying to pressure other countries to silence them. It just results in their message getting more attention – not less.

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