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Free Tibet

First Published on merrilyn hope.com 18th June 2010.
On Freeing Tibet. Please note: Chinese people in Auckland have contributed so much to the culture and the life of the city. This article is more about the politics of China which threaten our democracy here as we know it. For years we have disliked American politics and values, because their big country has overwhelmed many a little country. Now, many of us in New Zealand see China as being more of a threat to the little countries than America, although I doubt I would have that opinion if I was an Iranian, or from Afghanistan or an Iraq, or I was a Palestinian. The overtaking of Tibet by China is one of the saddest examples of Chinese communist tactics. Yesterday, as I went about my business of playing piano at a couple of residences for the elderly, I was alarmed to see a great many Chinese people holding large red flags up in Symonds Street, Auckland New Zealand. I wondered whether they had bought the lovely old historic building which the Church of Scientology used to own. The fact that so many Chinese, obviously Chinese communist-nationalists, were to be seen in force in such a predominate spot, where city traffic joins the southern motorway, and just along from the university, bothered me, and it occurred to me that their presence here might be rued one day by all those lovers of free speech and democracy who live in New Zealand. I really hoped that these red flag-holders weren’t in the process of setting up an embassy in this strategically important location. Tonight, on the Channel One news, I learned that the same day, on the 17th June, the Greens co-leader Russell Norman was roughed up in Wellington, right outside parliament, by Chinese communist heavy-weight security people. These chinese security people were here to accompany the visiting Chinese vice president. My guess is that there were Chinese officials staying in the large hotel in Symonds street, where large red flags were being carried by many Chinese up the street. Russell was reported as saying that the incident was an effort by foreigners to silence free speech in New Zealand. He also said that these Chinese security officials behaved, in OUR country, as if they had the same rights as our own police. A brave Russell Norman was the sole protestor outside Parliament. He was holding his own flag – presumably a Tibetan flag. He was filmed holding the flag, calling out ‘Freedom for the people of Tibet. Freedom for the people of Tibet.’ His flag was whipped away from him by these Chinese security people. Russell did manage to get back his flag, but not without a tussle. Democracy is surely under threat in New Zealand: Whilst Russell’s flag was whipped away from him, and trampled on in Wellington, in Auckland no-one was seen to stop the wielding of many large red flags which represented the Chinese communist regime. Is this what we want? Where are the protestors? This red-flag wielding was just up the road from Auckland University. This would never have been allowed to occur without some form of visible protest from the students in the 1970’s. Do most New Zealanders support the Chinese government in their aweful attocities? The Chinese government can get away with anything – murdering 1000’s of Buddhist monks and common people in Tibet, destroying their monasteries and taking over the country, torturing people from the Falun gong religion, and killing the opponents to their regime in their own country, an example being the dreadful 1989 Ti ‘ananmen square demonstration, where many Chinese people were shot and run down. Phil Goff, the leader of the Labour party, was shown on the news tonight, speaking to the vice president of China, explaining that peaceful protest was part of our political tradition in New Zealand. Good on you Phil, your words were certainly more brave than those of the prime minister, though I feel this little talk would have fallen on deaf ears: I doubt it was the first time the Chinese vice president has ever heard of the idea of freedom of speech and peaceful demonstration. The prime minister John Key, leader of the National party in New Zealand, was lame to say the least. As would be expected, his interests, which represent his party, are more concerned with making dollars at the expense of any human rights, or environmental considerations. John Key was reported on the Channel 3 news later in the evening, saying that while he supported freedom of speech, he hoped the incident would not jeopodise trade agreements with the Chinese government. No mention was made by the New Zealand prime minister about chinese human rights attrocities: we don’t want to anger the tiger. We should not be trading with such a corrupt government. What has just happened to Russell Norman, who was simply making a non-violent one-man stand for the people of Tibet, is an omen of things to come. Another alarming news item featured on the same news, and that was that the murderer of a New Zealand taxi driver in January this year was to be tried in CHINA instead of New Zealand. The murderer is a Chinese national, and so the chinese government say that he should be tried in China. Unprotesting, our government quietly sits by. This might set an ominous precedent in New Zealand. It could mean further erosion of the concept of ‘free’ speech in New Zealand: people who protest about chinese communist attrocities in New Zealand could be murdered, just as this poor taxi driver was. As long as the purpetrators of any future crimes have fled New Zealand back to China BEFORE they can be arrested here, then New Zealand justice will not be served – Chinese justice will be served instead, whatever that means. Or we might see a situation arising where New Zealand ‘offenders’ get safely removed to China ‘to be trialled’. This murderer should most definitely face the New Zealand justice system. The news item said that he ‘might face the death penalty in China’, which was meant to be some sort of consolation to the family of the murdered taxi driver. Apart from the fact that we do not support capital punishmnent in New Zealand, the issue is really that the crime was done here – justice should be done here. Otherwise, we have to ask ourselves ‘Is a precedent being set whereby chinese nationals might answer for their New Zealand crimes back in China?’ This is potentially a very dangerous situation, not only for the preservation of democracy, free-speech and a fair judicial system, but for the safety of all those who cross the chinese government. to beontinued

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