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New Zealand Should Remain In US Camp On China


17 April 2001

Robin Corner

Foreign Affairs


Helen Clark should not be distancing New Zealand from the US in the current spat between China and the US, says Christian Heritage. The carefully crafted portrayal of New Zealand as “friend’, not “ally’, of the US signals a thinking which attempts to take a neutral line, and which may ultimately become a pro-China line.

Any thinking that supposes that China, under its current regime, is just going to be assimilated into the international community, is naive. In many ways, the Chinese government reminds us that its fundamental philosophy is totally alien and opposed to the freedoms that we have and should cherish in the “west’. While there are many abuses of power in the USA (and for that matter in New Zealand), nothing in our two countries approaches the flagrant disregard for human rights and values by the Chinese government.

The recent police shooting of Timothy Thomas in Ohio serves as an example. The shooting may well have been unjustified - time will tell - but at least we know about it because of free press. It will be investigated and considered by a grand jury. If it had happened in China, we would probably never know, unless someone smuggled information out of the country at great personal risk, and certainly a free jury would not be considering it.

Current Chinese policy still includes:

- Renewed crackdown on religious freedom

- The “Strike Hard’ campaign, which targets political and philosophical dissidents as well as criminals

- On-going torture and detainment after trials far below an acceptable standard of fairness

- Suppressed press

- Savage repression and state propaganda in Tibet

- Forced abortion

- Militant expansionism in foreign policy

During her visit to Beijing in March this year, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, Mary Robinson, publicly condemned the Chinese crackdown on free expression, freedom of religion and freedom of association.

The Chinese are a wonderful people, themselves victims of their own repressive regime. The vast majority of New Zealanders, including Chinese New Zealanders, especially when presented with the facts, would surely prefer us to stay firmly in the camp of our proven allies, the US.

Contact: Mr Robin Corner on (04) 934 6087 or (025) 523 373

Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766

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