Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


NZ Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong

By John Braddock, Socialist Equality Group
31 July 2020, original url: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/31/nzho-j31.html

New Zealand’s Labour Party-led government has suspended the country’s extradition treaty with Hong Kong, saying it could no longer trust that the city’s justice system is independent of China. New Zealand will no longer deport any citizen to Hong Kong if charged with a crime.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters, who leads the right-wing nationalist NZ First Party in the governing coalition, said New Zealand would also change how it controls the trade of sensitive goods—such as technology that could have military applications—with Hong Kong.

Australia, Canada and the UK—all members of the US-led Five Eyes intelligence-gathering network along with NZ—had suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong earlier this month. US President Trump ended preferential economic treatment for Hong Kong and in a highly provocative move shut down China’s consulate in Houston.

Peters told Radio NZ on July 29 that he had not spoken to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo specifically about the issue, but “he would know exactly what we think, as a country that respects New Zealand’s independent political stance and our willingness to state what our beliefs are.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told media that Hong Kong’s security legislation did not “sit well with New Zealand’s principles,” which she described as the “basic freedom of association and the right to take a political view.”

All this is sheer hypocrisy. The Ardern-led government has strengthened New Zealand’s integration into US war preparations since assuming office. A 2018 defence policy statement labelled China and Russia the main “threats” to the global order, echoing the Pentagon. It has also ramped up military spending and recruitment.

Ardern meanwhile has been leading the call internationally for measures to censor the internet, purportedly to suppress “hate speech.” Nor has the Labour government raised the slightest protest over the Trump administration’s assault on basic democratic rights in Portland and other US cities, which are under virtual martial law enforced by armed federal agents dispatched to suppress protests against police violence.

China’s embassy in Wellington responded to Peters’ announcement by charging the government with a “gross interference in China’s internal affairs,” and describing the move as a “serious violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations.”

The standoff follows rising diplomatic tensions between the two countries, in line with the increasingly aggressive moves by Washington and Canberra to confront China diplomatically and militarily, including in the South China Sea.

At the annual NZ-China Business Summit in Auckland on July 20, Ardern told the 500 delegates that the bilateral relationship was in “good shape.” But she then declared that New Zealand had a “direct and resounding interest” in Hong Kong’s new security law, as well as the situation of China’s Uyghur people and Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organisation.

This prompted a sharp response from Ambassador Wu Xi, who told the gathering: “Issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet all touch on China’s sovereignty and security and these are all China’s internal affairs.”

New Zealand’s ruling elite is caught between the demands of Washington and its militaristic confrontation with Beijing on the one hand, and the importance of the Chinese trading relationship, NZ’s largest export market. Referring to these tensions, Wu warned “the future lies in cooperation rather than confrontation.”

Underpinning the deepening rift, a long-running anti-Chinese propaganda campaign continues to gather momentum. A July 21 car crash on a highway near the town of Tokoroa that killed two Chinese dissidents was seized upon by their supporters to raise accusations of “sabotage” against Beijing, without the slightest evidence.

The collision killed Xi Weiguo, Federation of Chinese Democracy NZ chair and Wang Lecheng, a member of the Independent Chinese PEN Centre. A third victim, Yu Hongming, is in Waikato Hospital along with two New Zealanders from another car. The three men were among a group of 10 “activists” travelling to Wellington to petition parliament over so-called “infiltration” by the Chinese Communist Party in New Zealand politics.

Police said their initial assessment indicated that a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction had crossed the centre line, glanced a second car and collided head-on with the vehicle containing the Chinese occupants.

Chen Weijian, publisher of a Chinese-language newspaper Beijing Spring, called the men “martyrs of democracy and freedom,” while Falun Gong practitioner Daisy Lee said the deaths and injuries would cause “vital damage for the Chinese democracy movement organisations in overseas China.”

Pro-US academic Anne-Marie Brady, from the University of Canterbury (UC), wasted no time upping the ante. She told parliament’s Justice Select Committee two days later that people were “very, very worried that there could have been sabotage involved in the accident” and demanded the Security Intelligence Security (SIS) investigate.

Brady’s previous allegations, heavily promoted in the media, that Chinese agents “sabotaged” her own car and broke into her office have not been substantiated by police.

Security analyst and former US State Department operative Paul Buchanan also joined in. He told Radio NZ that “independent Chinese voices in NZ regularly experienced intimidation by pro-Beijing groups”, and it was legitimate for them to suspect “more sinister causes than a mere accident.”

On July 27, Buchanan went on to target UC over its partnership with a Chinese institute that he claims has military links. In 2018, the university signed an agreement with Harbin Institute of Technology to collaborate on teaching and research on renewable energy generation, marine science, engineering and international finance and trade. In May, Washington targeted Harbin for tighter “controls” over its activities.

Brady recently published a paper attacking UC and every other New Zealand university for collaborating with Chinese institutions on research that “may have potential military applications.” The same paper notes approvingly New Zealand’s much more extensive military collaboration with NATO and the US, including its membership in the Five Eyes intelligence network.

Prior to the 2017 election, Brady branded National Party MP Jian Yang and Labour MP Raymond Huo, without any evidence, as Chinese Communist Party “agents.” Both MPs recently announced that they will retire from politics after the September 2020 election, following an intense campaign particularly against Yang by Brady, NZ First, much of the corporate media, the trade union-backed Daily Blog and the fascist group Action Zealandia.

In fact, the influence wielded by individuals such as Brady and Buchanan points to the fact that the most significant “interference” in New Zealand politics comes not from China but from the US and its allies. Ardern’s government was formed in 2017 as a coalition with NZ First following the unprecedented intervention of US Ambassador Scott Brown who publicly indicated that Washington wanted the next government to take a firmer stand against China.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Pike River Recovery: Loader Driven By Russell Smith Recovered

A loader driven by former miner Russell Smith at the time of the Pike River Mine explosion has now been recovered from 1581m up the 2.3km drift access tunnel.
The recovery of the loader went smoothly and to plan. Pike River families were able to witness it being towed to a storage area, Chief Operations Officer Dinghy Pattinson says.
“We reached the loader at the end of last week, and then conducted a very deliberate and exacting forensic examination of the vehicle and operational zone... More>>


E-Cigarettes: Vaping Legislation Passes

Landmark legislation passed today puts New Zealand on track to saving thousands of lives and having a smokefree generation sooner rather than later, Associate Health Minister, Jenny Salesa says. The Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) ... More>>


Housing: Government Delivers On Rental Reforms Promise

The Government has delivered on its promise to New Zealanders to modernise tenancy laws with the passing of the Residential Tenancies Amendment (RTA) Bill 2020 today, says Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing), Kris Faafoi. “The Residential ... More>>


National: $4 Billion Investment To End Wellington’s Congestion Woes

A National Government will invest another $4 billion in transport infrastructure across Wellington, igniting the economy and delivering the congestion-busting solutions the region has long been crying out for, National Party Leader Judith Collins says. ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Virtues (and Fluffed Opportunities) Of The Operation Burnham Report

One unspoken rule of thumb in any official public inquiry is : whatever you do, don’t conclude you were made to listen to “a litany of lies” even if the evidence of a deliberate cover-up is right there under your nose. In that respect, the report ... More>>


Office Of The Speaker: Parliament Is Revamping Its Rules

Today, the Standing Orders Committee’s report on the review of Standing Orders was presented to the House. The Speaker of the House, the Rt Hon Trevor Mallard, chairs the committee. He said today that the 2020 review will make our rules more ... More>>

Your Vote 2020: Bringing Election Coverage To Viewers Across TVNZ Channels And Platforms

As New Zealand gets ready to head to the ballot box this September, 1 NEWS is bringing voters comprehensive coverage and analysis of this year’s General Election. TVNZ’s coverage will draw on the depth of experience held across the 1 NEWS team, says Graeme ... More>>

Economy: 30% Believe Households Worse Off, 298,000 Expect To Lose Jobs

64% of New Zealanders feel the economic position of their households is the same or better than a year ago – and 30% think it is worse or much worse, while 298,000 think they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months. Households’ perceptions ... More>>

State Services Commission: Findings Of Investigation Into COVID-19 Active Cases Privacy Breach

Deputy State Services Commissioner Helene Quilter has today announced the findings of an investigation into a breach of privacy regarding sensitive personal information. The investigation looked into who or what caused the disclosure of the information, ... More>>

International Security: New Zealand Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong

The New Zealand Government has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes in light of China’s decision to pass a national security law for Hong Kong, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. More>>


Energy: 100% Renewable Electricity Grid Explored With Pumped Storage ‘battery’

The Government is taking a significant step toward its goal for 100% renewable electricity generation in a move that could be a game changer for consumers and the creation of a low-emissions economy, Energy & Resources Minister Megan Woods said. ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels