We need a bit more of this fortitude back home, as reported by NZPA:
New Zealand’s opposition MPs have congratulated the jailed Chinese winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, but Prime Minister John Key will not yet comment.
The Prime Minister should comment, should congratulate Liu Xiaobo, and should use the opportunity to politely state that our desire is for China to continue its path towards more freedom. Yes it will annoy the Chinese Government, and it may even lead to some sort of temporary sanction against NZ, but we must not let that prevent us from sticking up for what is right.
Opposition MPs can of course say what they want, without fear of adverse consequences for the country. I say this not to defend the lack of comment from the PM, but to point out a different PM could well do the same thing.
Mr Key said yesterday he would not comment about Mr Liu until he received more advice.
“I’m not aware of why he’s in jail and it’s not appropriate for me to comment on what is appropriate in terms of other countries putting people in those facilities.”
With all respect MFAT should have immediately given Ministers a briefing, once the winner was known. And it is entirely appropriate for the Prime Minister to comment on the jailing of political dissidents in other countries.
[DPF: The PM has now congratulated Mr Liu, and in fact did so before this post apppeared. It was time delayed from this morning, and Key congratulated him on the way into Caucus. Of course Liu won’t know this as he is in jail.]