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Don't Let Beijing Duck Human Rights At Dinner

27 May 2005

Don't let Beijing duck human rights at tonight's dinner

Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald has sent a copy of Amnesty International's just-released Annual Human Rights Report to Helen Clark so she can raise the latest abuses in China at her dinner with Wu Bangguo tonight.

The report, which was published yesterday, will provide the Prime Minister with the most up-to-date information on human rights issues in China.

"Rather than polite chit chat over free trade agreements, Miss Clark could discuss her concerns over the numerous human rights abuses recorded in China," said Mr Donald, the Greens' Trade Spokesperson.

"If she only has time to look at the report's introduction on China, she would at least be able to discuss, over pre-dinner drinks, the tens of thousands of people imprisoned in violation of their fundamental human rights, the thousands sentenced to death or executed and the many people forced off their land.

"If she reads more, Miss Clark could politely comment over her soup that those in China who tried to speak out against the Government were harassed, detained and imprisoned for documenting human rights abuses, campaigning for reform or attempting to obtain redress for victims of violations.

"Over the main course, they could discuss in depth the at least 3400 people who were executed by the Chinese Government last year - possibly up to 10,000, if a member of Mr. Bangguo's own National People's Congress is to be believed.

"Over dessert they could talk about the more than 100 Tibetan prisoners of conscience who remain locked away. Three of those, two monks and a layman, who were sentenced to three years last year for simply putting up posters promoting Tibetan independence. Following this, she could ask him why China continues to occupy Tibet and oppress its people.

"And finally over coffee, they could share a gem from another part of the report - the United States' statement that they won't return some Chinese prisoners from lock-up at the notorious Guantanamo Bay 'detention centre' - not because they think they are terrorists but because they feared they will be executed if they are returned to China."

Mr Donald said Miss Clark should reflect on what she said in Parliament on 18 November 1998 about Jenny Shipley: "Instead, we have had this pitiful simpering about there being a distinction between business issues and issues of human rights and democracy. If that value had been applied in 19th century England and North America, then we would still have slavery, because the representatives of those who employed slaves would claim that there was no connection between that issue and their business values."

The China section of Amnesty International's Annual Report is at http://web.amnesty.org/web/web.nsf/print/C581C897D28151ED80256FE1005BF772

ENDS

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