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Greens won't be silenced by Chinese officials

15 April 2008

Greens won't be silenced by Chinese officials

The Green Party is sending a clear message to China that its MPs won't be intimidated from speaking out for Tibetan rights and democracy in China.

Yesterday, in a public session of the Interparliamentary Union conference in Capetown, a Chinese delegate asked that Nandor Tanczos' comments on Tibet be expunged from the conference record.

"It is shocking that even when abroad Chinese officials are trying to censor anyone standing up for Tibet," said Keith Locke, Green Party's Foreign Affairs Spokesperson says.

"In the House today, I raised the issue with the Speaker, Margaret Wilson, and suggested she convey to her counterpart, the Chair of the Chinese National People's Congress, our repugnance at this attempt to violate a New Zealand MP's right to free speech.

"Also disturbing is the renewed efforts by Chinese diplomats in Auckland to stop VIPs from attending the Divine Performing Arts Chinese Spectacular in Auckland this weekend, on the grounds that it is associated with the Falun Gong, which is brutally suppressed in China.

"Correspondence from the Chinese Consulate-General in Auckland claims that 'the hidden purpose of the so-called Divine Performing Arts is to smear the Chinese Government'.

"This is a repeat of the pressure exerted last year to stop Mayors from attending.

"Partly to show that we will not be silenced, I will be attending the concert in Auckland on Friday.

"We must tell Beijing that all its attempts to stop New Zealanders from supporting Chinese dissent, or Tibetan activists, will fail. Censorship might work in China, because of long prison terms for anyone breaching it, but New Zealanders cherish their right to freedom of expression.


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