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Chinese Govt tries to suppress free speech

26 May 2005

Chinese Govt tries to suppress free speech at Parliament

Green Co-Leader Rod Donald says it's a disgrace that the Chinese Government tried to prevent him from protesting on the steps of Parliament this morning.

Mr Donald was conducting a silent vigil holding the Tibetan flag this morning as Mr Wu Bangguo, the chair of China's Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, arrived at Parliament. The head of Chinese security tried to force New Zealand police to move him.

"The Chinese Government needs to understand that they are in New Zealand, not Tiananmen Square," Mr Donald said. "We're a democracy, not a police state."

"New Zealand prides itself on protecting the freedom of speech of its citizens. The way the Chinese Government suppresses free speech should not be acceptable anywhere, but it's illegal in our country. I posed no threat to Mr Wu, and my protest was discreet and respectful. Clearly, my silent vigil holding the Tibetan flag was a more powerful criticism of the Chinese regime that I realised.

"I'd like to thank the Speaker of the House, Margaret Wilson, for allowing me to exercise my right as an MP to stand on Parliament's forecourt, and to the New Zealand head of security for refusing to bow to pressure from Chinese security guards to have me removed."


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