Why do our politicians ignore PRC influence?

Our leading politicians appear quite unbothered about the rise of China and the way it is happening.   We don’t see emerging an open, free, peaceful, and democratic state  –  as with Taiwan, Korea or Japan.    We don’t even see something that looks like a large Singapore.    Instead we see a very large totalitarian party-state, suppressing most meaningful freedoms for its own people –  in ways reminiscent of the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany –  and increasingly willing to use the combination of size and wealth (not high per capita, but there are a lot of people) to throw its weight around internationally, at times (as in the South China Sea) in flagrant and ongoing violation of international law.  It is increasingly well-documented that that strategy includes attempting to exert control over ethnic Chinese cultural and religious groupings and media outlets in other countries, to suborn (with all sorts of blandishments, whether financial, access, or whatever) key figures in other countries, and to exert influence on the domestic politics of other countries, including encouraging ethnic Chinese in other countries who have suitably close ties to the Communist Party to run for elective office in those countries.

It is easy for the world-weary, and those who want to avoid confronting the issue, to respond “but everyone does it; every country seeks to exert influence”.   And, no doubt to some extent or other, that is true.   And so we need to look to the character of the country, and political regime, in question.  The People’s Republic of China today still looks much like the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, two of the more odious regimes (at least among large countries) in the 20th century.  We –  citizens and governments –  should be treating it as such.

Instead, all our political parties, and their leaders, seem determined to look the other way, to try to pretend –  even though surely they know otherwise –  that China is some sort of normal state.   Why, the party presidents of National and Labour were recently sending warm fraternal greetings on the occasion of the five-yearly Communist Party Congress.     Would they have turned up to the Nuremberg rallies as well?   I guess political fundraising is a difficult business, but you might have hoped that former Foreign Minister Phil Goff would walk away from a $150000 donation to his mayoral campaign from an offshore donor.  Perhaps such donations should be illegal?

And then there are the elected politicians.  We have two elected members of Parliament who left China as adults and settled in New Zealand.    One appears to have misrepresented his past in his residency/citizenship application, and certainly hid it from the public when he first ran for Parliament.  That past: membership of the Communist Party, and being a member of the Chinese military intelligence system, clearly sufficiently in the good graces of the Party to have been allowed to move abroad.  The same MP remains very close to the Chinese Embassy, and has never been heard to utter a word of criticism of Chinese government policy.   And ever since the story broke, just before the election, he has gone very quiet: refusing to account to the voters (at least as represented by the English language media).

The other member of Parliament is a less egregious, but still troubling, case.  Raymond Huo is a Labour MP, also apparently widely known to be very close to the Chinese Embassy.  Of him, Professor Anne-Marie Brady wrote

Raymond Huo霍建强 works very publicly with China’s united front organizations in New Zealand and promotes their policies in English and Chinese. Huo was a Member of Parliament from 2008 to 2014, then returned to Parliament again in 2017 when a list position became vacant. In 2009, at a meeting organized by the Peaceful Reunification of China Association of New Zealand to celebrate Tibetan Serf Liberation Day, Huo said that as a “person from China” (中国人) he would promote China’s Tibet policies to the New Zealand Parliament.

It was Huo who made the decision to translate Labour’s 2017 election campaign slogan “Let’s do it” into a quote from Xi Jinping (撸起袖子加油干, which literally means “roll up your sleeves and work hard”). Huo told journalists at the Labour campaign launch that the Chinese translation “auspiciously equates to a New Year’s message from President Xi Jinping encouraging China to ‘roll its sleeves up’.”  ……    Xi’s catchphrase has been widely satirized in Chinese social media.   Nonetheless, the phrase is now the politically correct slogan for promoting OBOR, both in China and abroad. ……. In 2014, when asked about the issue of Chinese political influence in New Zealand, Huo told RNZ National, “Generally the Chinese community is excited about the prospect of China having more influence in New Zealand” and added, “many Chinese community members told him a powerful China meant a backer, either psychologically or in the real sense.”

So whose interests does Huo represent in our Parliament?  They are quotes from his own speeches/interviews, which I’m not aware that he has contested.  He has also been remarkably quiet since the Brady paper was published in September.

Recall that on TVNZ a few weeks ago, veteran diplomat (and now lobbyist) Charles Finny, who has been keen to stick up for both men and celebrate their membership in our Parliament, explicitly stated that he was always very careful what he said in front of either man, as he knew –  and given his diplomatic/trade background he would know – that they were both close to the Chinese Embassy.   If Finny always takes care what he –  just a private citizen lobbyist now –  says in front of Yang or Huo, how should ministers or senior opposition MPs react?

In fact, their reaction tends to be to pretend there is no issue.  Bill English has simply refused to answer any serious questions, referring journalists to Jian Yang as if he can answer questions about his own suitability for office, even if he were willing to make himself available for journalists.  The previous Attorney-General, and Minister for the GCSB and SIS, tried to pretend that any concerns were just racist or anti-foreigner –  as if no one could tell the difference between, say, Joseph Goebbels and Dietrich Bonhoeffer or between Xi Jinping and Liu Xiaobo.   It was pretty despicable.

Not that there was ever much hope that the Labour Party (or their partners) would be any different.  As Opposition leader, Jacinda Ardern sought to simply avoid the issue –  as, I suppose, you would when you had Huo on your list.  People who live in glasshouses and all that, I suppose.

And so it proves in government.   Last week, Raymond Huo was confirmed as chair of the Justice select committee of Parliament.    They do the triennial inquiry into the conduct of each election.  They handle legislation around such matters as political donations, the electoral system, the rule of law, and so on.    And the government is quite happy to have as chair of that committee, someone known to be close to the embassy of the dreadful People’s Republic of China, a government with little or no regard for the rule of law –  whether domestically or internationally.  Someone who channels quotes from Xi Jinping to win votes for Labour.  Who seems to think that China having more influence in New Zealand is a good thing.

I’d be uncomfortable with an American or a Briton who had become a New Zealand citizen championing greater influence of their country in New Zealand.  But there isn’t a moral equivalence between the UK, the USA, and the People’s Republic China.  The latter is a force for evil.   And you will, it seems, never hear that from Raymond Huo.

But, of course, the National Party seems unbothered.  People in glasshouses, I suppose.

And then as if to bring the last few months full circle, there was an interview on Newsroom last week with the new minister responsible for the GCSB and the SIS (and various other portfolios, including those around electoral law), Andrew Little.  Buried down at the end of a lengthy interview, Little was asked about the issue of Chinese influence

One thing that Little is not concerned about is any perceived growing influence of China in New Zealand.

 

When questioned about the issue and Yang, Little will not reveal if he had received any related briefings but says he has no concerns.

“There’s nothing here that’s alerted me to any Chinese nefarious influence in institutions like universities…I know there’s often the line about political influence but our donations regime is pretty transparent.

“That’s a legitimate public debate right now because it’s [Yang’s background] been revealed, he said he didn’t know he was teaching spies? I can’t recall what his defence is, he’s made it into Parliament because the National party wanted him to be there, people are going to have to form an opinion themselves.”

Asked if Yang should have been allowed to stand for Parliament or if he should have been granted citizenship, Little says he does not have enough background to comment on the latter but was more comfortable with the National MP being an elected official.

“He’s a New Zealand citizen, that entitles him to stand for Parliament. There’s a variety of backgrounds. Sue Bradford, who was a regular radical protestor, took on the police, took on the establishment, she became an MP.

“I’d be very worried about saying there were criteria beyond citizenship that we should add to about whether you can stand for Parliament.”

It doesn’t look to have been the most searching interview ever, with no questions at all about Huo, but at least the journalist asked about some things.  And as he asks, Andrew Little is scampering for cover, and in the process insulting Sue Bradford (of whom I’ve probably never knowingly previously defended). Our minister for the intelligence services compares a former spy, member of the Chinese Communist Party, and someone with close ongoing ties to a heinous regime and its representatives in Wellington (the validity of whose citizenship he doesn’t feel comfortable commenting on), with a domestic activist and protestor exercising –  and perhaps occasionally stepping over –  her rights as a New Zealand citizen.  I’m not aware anyone has ever questioned Sue Bradford’s loyalty.

And even if Jian Yang’s citizenship is securely grounded, is this senior minister really serious about that final sentence?  I don’t suppose anyone is proposing amending the Electoral Act to provide specifically that (unrepentant) members of the Chinese Communist Party, past or present, and past Chinese spies, should be disqualified from Parliament.  I wouldn’t want to amend the Act to legally disqualify a whole bunch of other people either.   If some former apartheid South African BOSS agent had somehow got New Zealand citizenship, s/he might be legally entitled to run for Parliament but –  without some serious exercise in penitence and contrition –  I hope no serious political party would consider nominating him/her.  Graham Capill is probably eligible to run again for Parliament –  and I’m a Christian, and believe in forgiveness and restoration – but no party that nominated him would ever get my vote.  And so on.  The law can’t and shouldn’t try to cover all circumstances.  But decent political parties should be able to draw lines themselves.  Ours don’t seem to anymore  (our version of Roy Moore and John Conyers perhaps?)   There is no way Jian Yang should be in our Parliament at all, and if Raymond Huo won’t distance himself from the PRC –  and call out its evil and abuses, domestic and foreign, neither should he.   Decent parties simply shouldn’t select them (being list MPs, the public have little or no direct effective recourse).

These issues of Chinese influence in other countries aren’t unique to New Zealand  (there is a good recent podcast from an Australian academic on these issues in an Australian context) although from what I’ve read of countries such as Australia, Canada, and the United States, New Zealand is the only country yet with two MPs with these close PRC ties in our national Parliament.

Quite why our politicians aren’t bothered is a bit of a mystery.  There is clearly an element of not upsetting Beijing, and with it a desire not to rock the boat in ways that could have short-term economic cost through the trade ties of some large New Zealand entities with close traditional ties to our governments.   Perhaps the political donations are part of the story as well.   That’s the shameful side of the story.  Is this what it must have been like in the 1930s, when plenty of politicians wanted to smooth things over with Germany, and more egregious abuses just made the cause of appeaement seem more urgent?

But the other side must be that the voters just don’t care very much, if at all (as European populations didn’t for a long time in the 1930s).    Perhaps that is understandable.  There isn’t a lot of foreign news in our papers and other media, and certainly not on stories that deal much with China.  We don’t have good foreign affairs think-tanks, and on the one hand taxpayer money is devoted to keeping the good news stories flowing, and journalists value the opportunity of funded trips to China.  How, then, will the average voter know what our political parties make themselves –  and by extension us –  party to?

It doesn’t make it less shameful though, and it isn’t even clear what our politicians think they achieving in selling out our values, the principles our society is built on, in keeping quiet about China.  There is the mythology that somehow China makes us (or Australia) wealthy.  It’s nonsense of course.  China is a middle-income country with a badly distorted economy.  More to the point, countries almost always make (or break) their own fortunes.  I’ve pointed out before how small a share of GDP is represented by the exports of New Zealand firms to China.  Of course, that trade matters a lot for some firms, but it doesn’t matter that much at all for the nation’s overall prosperity.  Politicians seem to sell out our soul for the financial interests of a small group of exporters, whose interests are not necessarily our own.

No doubt, MFAT advisers periodically remind any minister tempted to acquire some backbone of the potential for China to disrupt the trade of New Zealand firms.   You can read the stories about Mongolia, Norway, the Philippines, and –  most recently – South Korea.  There is some potential for disruption –  the Chinese seem to have been particularly willing to cut off the tourist flow when a country steps “out of line”, and presumably the international student market is also vulnerable.  In both cases, blocking trade hurts the seller (NZ) but doesn’t make much difference to the buyers (Chinese tourists just go to, say, France that year).    But is this the sort of country we want to become, where we quail before the butchers of Bejing, rather than standing for our own values and institutions, and telling anyone who wants to export to China –  to deal with a regime on a par with Soviet Union or Nazi Germany – that they are on their own?   South Korean firms are learning now, having experienced the nature of the Chinese state, that diversification is prudent.

There seems little doubt that Chinese global influence will only increase, and that that of the United States will continue to diminish. Perhaps one day, the Communist Party will be toppled and that influence will be more benign, but that isn’t the prospect for now.  Particularly for a country as far from China as we are, that still leaves us with choices.  I’d rather our politicians (and public) decided to take a stand.  Dealing with the PRC –  dealing with Chinese entities on PRC terms –  on other that proper and limited diplomatic terms, should be no more socially or politically acceptable than pandering to the Germans was in 1939.

Not, of course, that there is any likelihood of our government taking a stand.  Flicking through the Herald over lunch I noticed an advert from a Chinese-government affiliated entity celebrating the “New Zealand China Young Leaders’ Forum” held on Sunday which, we were told, was “setting NZ up for a bright future”.  Just like China you mean?  No political freedom, no religious freedom, no freedom of expression, just the dominance of the Party (and a mediocre economy)?   The Chinese premier, Li Keqiang had, we were told, sent his greetings and the Chinese delegation was led by a Vice-Minister.   And guess who opened this forum?   Well, that was Michael Wood, Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities.  I guess he was about as far down the official food chain as it was possible to get, but one likes to think that the British government wouldn’t have been sending a representative in 1939 to open some joint forum with, say, the Hitler Youth.

Our political leaders, apparently without exceptions (certainly none with the courage to speak out even timidly) disgrace us.

35 thoughts on “Why do our politicians ignore PRC influence?

    • From the little I’ve read about it, perhaps a little unfairly. She was young, and even the Nuremberg defendants got a decent defence. That said, the photo of her posing with one of these genocidal defendants was a bit much.

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      • The problem with the Green Party is that they have sanitized her public image to the complete exclusion of facts that are relevant to a voter ie she defended genocidal dictators and that she is a muslim by birth. She also clearly supports bringing in more unvetted muslim refugees to the tune of 5,000 a year which again gets glossed over by the Green Party public relations machinery.

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      • I think the argument wasn’t that she acted as a defender but rather that she described it all in terms that it appeared she had acted as a prosecutor. She never denied it but attempted to hide the fact so it was little known and therefore didn’t mpact on her standing and the voters opinion of her.

        https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2017/11/ghahraman_defended_not_prosecuted_the_genociders_in_rwanda.html

        https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2017/11/so_where_is_mashdad.html

        Abit more info.

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      • Fair enough. It does look to have been incompetently handled by the Greens – who could have framed her activities in quite a constructive way. It is just that she has probably done worse stuff – eg the attempt at mob rule re the National Front protest – and she will do much more over her career that i disagree with strongly, so I can’t get too excited about this episode.

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      • “This picturIt of Golriz Ghahraman rightly horrifies Rwandans that a New Zealand politician didn’t simply work for war criminals, but went out of her way to do so as a volunteer.

        Not, mind you, volunteering to build homes for widows and orphans. Not working with Rwandan law firms to help build capacity in human rights law. Not spending one moment in the presence of the families whose loved ones were slaughtered at the behest of her clients.

        Instead, she chose to use her time as a volunteer in Africa defending some of the worst criminals of the latter part of last century.

        This picture of a laughing genocidaire and his apologist,” Serge Kamuhinda tweeted from Kigali “just shows how vigilant we all have to be for evil will find friends”.

        “This whole picture is disgusting” said another.

        Turning victims into perpetrators is Exhibit A in the genocide denial playbook and Rwanda is no exception.

        Ghahraman has consistently referenced her work as a human rights lawyer in such a way that audiences would naturally assume her work was with victims and survivors. In both Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, this was not the case.

        https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/99305306/Green-MP-Golriz-Ghahraman-pictured-smiling-in-photograph-alongside-Rwandan-convicted-for-inciting-genocide?cid=app-iPhone

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      • Not too sure why you continuously pick on Jian and Huo who have done no wrong but have completely downplayed a proven mass murderer denial activist and defender of the rights of mass mourderers in Rwanda and also in Yugoslavia like Golriz Ghahraman. She should resign her position as she is far more a threat than Jian or Huo would ever be in parliament.

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      • I do believe in the notion of ensuring that accused people are adequately represented in a fair trial.

        There are plenty of things (almost everything I suspect) that I’d disagree with Ghahraman on, including her party’s official support – the only party with a party position – on the mass murder that is our abortion rate. But disagreeing with someone’s views is an almost inevitable and necessary part of an open democracy. As far as I can see, she has done nothing that should disqualify her from our Parliament.

        As for criticism of her, her conduct here disturbs me more, because it speaks to a lack of regard for freedom of expression, however odious the views might be.
        https://croakingcassandra.com/2017/10/30/ill-omens-for-our-democracy/

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      • Not a ‘little unfairly’ – absolutely unforgivably wrong. I am sure we all have photos standing alongside people we would prefer to forget.
        Without an able defense team law is simply not justice. There are countries where a conspicuous defendant cannot get a fair trial and they are all places we would prefer to avoid.

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      • GGS-ZaneyZane-Kimy – Don’t get so wound up

        Don’t know about “picking on Yang and Huo”

        What is noticeable has been the outpouring of outrage towards Golriz Ghahraman while there has been total public silence towards Yang and Huo who are the face of a regime that practices “involuntary organ donations” on a large scale

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      • Interesting that National town-Cryer David Farrar at Kiwiblog got stuck in and had a crack at golriz ghahraman – has he ever had a crack at Jian Yang? – in the interests of balance of course

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      • Jian taught English in a Chinese Military College.
        Golriz defended mass murderers and co authored a book with a established mass murderer denial activist.

        Jian encourages migrant New Zealanders to contribute funds towards the National Party election campaign
        Golriz wants 5000 muslim refugees a year in NZ

        Jian is a lifetime member of the Communist Red Party but did not disclose that fact
        Golriz is a muslim and a defender of mass murderers but did not disclose that fact

        Jian did not mention it was a military college he taught english at. But it was a job.
        Golriz did not mention she defended mass murderers in a volunteer capacity. Not as part of her job. She volunteered!!

        Can’t yet see why Jian has been targetted over Golriz Ghahraman? We have a already seen her effect on parliament with our Speaker of the House dropping references to Jesus and Queen from his official dictum.

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      • I could go thru that point by point, but the biggest issue (to my mind) is that Jian Yang and Raymond Huo are symptomatic of a structural problem in NZ politics, a threat to our effective independence and self-respect, in a way that Ghahraman (of whom I’m no fan) is not. And on that “symptomatic point”, in many ways I’m more worried about Bill English, Chris FInlayson, Jacinda Ardern, Andrew Little, Winston Peters and James Shaw (who actually make policy), and about people like Jenny Shipley, John Key, and Don McKinnon.

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  1. I think NZ politicians, big business and some of the population have accepted that NZ is some sort of tributary state of China. While ostensibly an independent country, increasingly any public statement or political decision needs to be moderated in case it angers our masters in Beijing. I note that while Dr Yang never fronts up to any English language media, he is happy to make regular appearances in the Chinese media

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  2. The South China Sea Dispute was peacefully resolved with the Phillipines with both parties in dialogue and compensation paid by China to the Phillipines in joint projects to the benefit of both parties. It was the US under ex President Obama that escalated tensions in the South China Sea region. Can’t blame the Chinese for any war mongering intentions when all the growling came from the USA.

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  3. Paul Spoonley RNZ *Smart Talkers* at the Auckland Museum

    The thing which really annoys me at the moment is the way immigration is framed as a problem. It goes to Alis point [the arguments against immigration are unsustainable] It’s a very simple and inaccurate response to what’s happening in the world. We are globalising; we are part of a new era of globalisation and this country is actually transitioned into that, particularly with it’s connections to the Pacific and Asia in a way that is quite impressive in many, many ways but at the same time we really need to reframe what is happening or *provide* an understanding and that’s what frustrates me at the moment.
    ….
    But in a sense there’s economic reasons why immigration is so important to it, but there’s also sort of personal and national reasons and I think what has been invoked in part of this election campaign is that sort of angst over, you know, what this country is becoming. It’s as though politicians are wanting to stand up and say “this is not what we thought this country would look like in 2017”
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/smarttalk/20170813

    This might be interesting too
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/smarttalk/20171112
    ……..
    He provides no evidence that globalisation is good for New Zealanders
    ……..
    “Our story of bus drivers reveals the existence of the proverbial elephant in the room. It shows that the living standards of the huge majority of people in rich countries critically depend on the existence of the most draconian control over their labour markets – immigration control. Despite this, immigration control is invisible to many and deliberately ignored by others, when they talk about the virtues of the free market.” 
    ― Ha-Joon Chang, Twenty-Three Things They Don’t Tell You about Capitalism
    ………
    Globalization as the abrogation of social contracts
    https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/162/27995.html

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  4. Presumably you would be equally, if not more concerned, about the National governments dealings with Saudi Arabia over the live sheep export fiasco and Murray McCully’s subsequent “compensation” package?

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    • Yes, and the idea of an FTA with Saudi does nothing for me. The sheep deal seemed little more than corruption by the NZ govt.

      That said, one important difference between Saudi and China is that the former has no means of effective influence over NZ, and prob no desire for such influence either.

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  5. For a fleeting moment, Michael, when I read your headline, I thought you were talking about my influence (my middle initial is “R”).
    But no such luck 😦
    Interestingly some commenters on social media are drawing attention to the (perceived) equal or unequal treatment of MPs foreign adventurism being less that adequately/accurately described in CV.
    Have you read Tom Scott’s Drawn Out? An excellent read and reminder of robust times in our political history. The Tom Scott test could be applied to the PRC version of NZ: would his cartoons be published without fear or favour in PRCNZ?
    If not, we are in trouble!

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  6. I really appreciate your posts on China, there aren’t many others brave enough to speak out like this. I lived for many years in the country, and although I enjoyed my time there I share many of your views on this subject. I agree that there are some very significant differences between China and Western countries that are constantly ignored by our politicians, presumably because of money.

    I think some people are unaware that the Chinese people have quite a different world view from Westerners, There is a very palpable division of the world into Chinese and foreign, which is weakening perhaps but still very strong. It is so strong in fact that I often hear Chinese immigrants in New Zealand refer to the locals as “foreigners”, forgetting perhaps that strictly speaking the word might be better applied to themselves.

    Mr. Huo and Mr. Yang may have lived in NZ for years but most likely still have their primary allegiance to China, and Chinese people would expect nothing less from them. In much the same way, none of the Westerners I knew in China felt Chinese or were loyal to China even after being there for many years. There is a gap between our cultures that was developed over thousands of years and is not easily bridged.

    That said, the USA’s foreign policy over the past century has been quite heinous at times too.

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    • Re your final para, indeed – altho i will push back against a false moral equivalence.

      When the US debate gets transfixed with concern about Russia’s involvement in trying to influence last year’s US election, it is salutary to recall the many examples of rather more direct US influence in other countries’ elections. No doubt, our own politicians and diplomats have a go around eg elections in the Cooks. I don’t generally approve, but not all causes are equal.

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    • Hamish: I know little about China and quite a lot about PNG where I lived for 14 years. The latter is a country that has many wonderful unique features and remarkable people however if I meet someone about to travel to PNG for the first time I have to warn them of the physical dangers to strangers and the difficulties running a PNG business honestly.
      However whatever happens in PNG is very tangential to NZ whereas China is large and its economy is entangled with NZ.
      There are obvious advantages to trading with China – we can sell timber and milk and buy tools and toys – both countries benefit. On the other hand there are Cassandras pointing out the dangers of dealing with the Government of China. What sways my thinking is that the people who actually chose to live in China and therefore have on balance positive feelings about the country are the ones who give the warnings; the warnings are about the government and its hold over the people of China.
      Conclusion – NZ should endeavour to keep as untangled as possible; yes to trade and tourism but steer clear of ex-politicians on boards of Chinese companies and universities that are too economically involved with Chinese organisations to be able to assert the truth when necessary.

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  7. I have only read this post closely now 2 days after it was posted. You may note that I had contributed comments after merely skimming it and rushing on to the ’27 thoughts’ (same as reading the Herald with the letters page the centre of attention).

    Having just read it word for word and fairly slowly I have to say it was really good. A serious matter that is being swept under the carpet. The comparisons with Nazi Germany and appeasement were apt and thought provoking. The tone of controlled outrage is appropriate.

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  8. Hi Michael, I have just caught up with this excellent column. I share your concerns and it is good that you are keeping these issues in public view. I am afraid these days New Zealand’s foreign policy is an unattractive blend of puffery and venality. New Zealand has gradually, almost imperceptibly, been tipping towards China’s camp. Perhaps it began with Stephen Joyce’s hyperbole during the GFC that “without China we’re buggered”. So much for the vaunted “independent foreign policy”, in fact our politicians and elites crave dependence and the rewards and “relevance” it brings them.

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    • Thanks. Winston Peters is speaking this morning at the VUW/NZIIA seminar marking the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations with the PRC. Will be interesting whether he just ends up adopting the same old deference as his predecessors.

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      • It will be carefully scripted by MFAT to celebrate the wonderful relationship. He will not say anything to put the Chinese Government on notice about interfering in our domestic affairs, or about China’s aggressive behaviour in the South China Sea or its failure to contain its client North Korea. 1930s retro.

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