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Goff sermonising China over Tibet

Max Bradford National Foreign Affairs Spokesperson

19 April 2001

Goff sermonising China over Tibet

While Helen Clark is off playing Dowager Empress in the Forbidden City, Phil Goff seems to be conducting a New Age foreign policy on China for the Greens.

"Phil Goff claims to have an open mind about China's presence in Tibet, but forgets that there are four other autonomous regions on the peripheries of China where the same concerns could be raised.

"The Inner Mongolians have been devout lamaist Buddhists as well. There has been an independent Mongolia since the 1920s so if he's looking at Tibet he should investigate that anomaly too.

"Goff's comments that Tibet should receive devolution the same way Scotland has from Britain demonstrates he hasn't done his homework. The Scottish Assembly is comprised of several political parties - I doubt the Chinese Communist Party would allow a 'True Panchen Lama' or 'Dalai Lama' Party to contest elections against its candidates.

"If China grants this kind of devolution to Tibet, it would have to grant it to other Ningxia, Guangxi and Xingjiang Uigur, but then Westerners don't have the same fantasy or interest in those peoples.

"It is commendable Mr Goff wants to investigate human rights abuses in Tibet, and associate New Zealand with the western critique of China in this regard. Is his stitching together of this politically correct stance a way to get on-side with our friends and allies after the after the Hainan Island incident.

"The New Zealand Government feels it has to be on side with its friends, and so it has chosen to selectively sermonise the Chinese over Tibet," Mr Bradford said.

Ends

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