New Zealand and the PRC: links and questions

Anne-Marie Brady has been at the forefront of identifying, and highlighting, the ways in which the People’s Republic of China, through the Communist Party’s United Front work programme, appears to have been attempting to influence, and interfere with, public life in New Zealand –  both among the local ethnic Chinese community, and more generally.  Her Magic Weapons paper remains required reading, and for all that apologists have attempted to brush aside the issues raised in the paper, no one has made any serious efffort to engage with, and refute, the concerns she has raised.

Most other New Zealand academics, with familiarity with the Chinese language, have stayed silent.  But another person –  with Chinese language –  who has written, quite extensively, about the New Zealand situation is the author of the pseudonymous blog Jichang Lulu.    He has a new and substantial piece (if characterised by an idiosyncratic style) on the United Front activities in New Zealand, which is likely to repay reading for anyone interested in these issues.  Whoever the author is, his usual focus is regions far from New Zealand (Nordics) but has been paying a lot of attention to the New Zealand situation in the last year or so and appears to be quite well-connected.   I linked the other day to his detailed piece on PRC efforts to attempt to bring Norway and Mongolia to heel.

Much focus in recent months has been on National Party list MP Jian Yang.  But, of course, National is in Opposition at present. Jichang Lulu has raised specific concerns about senior Labour backbencher Raymond Huo, who also appears to have close connection to the PRC regime.   From his latest post

According to a source with knowledge of the matter, recent requests from a CCP-unfriendly NZ Chinese organisation to have ministers send Chinese New Year greetings were reportedly redirected to Raymond Huo, effectively making the ruling party’s leading United Frontling, whose PRC-consonant views are wellknown, the government’s gatekeeper to contacts with the Chinese community. In contrast, ministers and other politicians didn’t hesitate to attend celebrations with PRC diplomats. In other words, the Party-state, through its local advocates, can vicariously veto official support for something as apolitical as a calendrical festivity, at least when the persons seeking such support happen to have Chinese surnames.

Huo currently chairs Parliament’s justice committee –  responsible for the triennial review of the election, and for handling new electoral legislation more generally.  And the way governments typically turnover their members, there has to be a pretty significant chance that he’ll be a member of the executive before this parliamentary term is out.  Much focus in recent times has been on past and present ties of senior National Party figures to PRC interests.  But with Labour in government –  and their party president an effusive public supporter of Xi Jinping –  it is about time harder questions were asked of the new government.

Another thing worth reading (although behind a paywall) is an article in The Australian today under the heading Cold War: Freeze on China Ties.  It builds on reports last week that

university leaders were concerned about Chinese government attempts to dissuade ­students from coming to Australia to study. In an escalation of the pressure on universities, school visits have been cancelled, senior educational meetings in Beijing have been “postponed” and messages warning of the dangers of studying in Australia have been posted on the website of the ­Chinese embassy in Canberra.

claiming that

China is putting Australia into a diplomatic deep freeze, stalling on ministerial visits, deferring a trip by our top diplomat and putting off a broad range of lower-level ­exchanges to pressure Malcolm Turnbull over the new foreign ­interference laws and naval challenges to disputed Chinese claims in the South China Sea.

Government sources are reported as conceding that “there is a diplomatic and ­bureaucratic stalling over a range of visits, as Beijing voices its ­displeasure at foreign-­interference laws”.

I guess this is the sort of thing that the subservient apologists in our own political, bureaucratic and business establishment worry about.  But perhaps it should prompt them to think again about the nature of the regime they want to cosy up to.    The PRC might have some capacity to hurt individual New Zealand economic sectors –  as, say, the Mafia or organised crime might in other countries – but our prosperity as a nation is simply not based on those firms’ trade with China.   And sometimes, just occasionally, there are advantages to distance: Korea, Vietnam, or the Philippines (let alone Taiwan) have to live with the PRC on their doorstep.  We don’t, and it is surely time to reflect on what manner of regime they abet, whether actively or by silence.

The other day, New Zealand Prime Minister gave her first major foreign policy speech.  As far as I could tell, it was better than it could have been on the PRC.

China’s global influence has grown along with its economic weight.  Its leadership on issues like climate change and trade liberalisation could add momentum to our collective efforts in those areas.

Naturally, there are areas where we do not see eye to eye with China.  My government will speak honestly and openly with our friends in Beijing.  Whether it is about human rights, pursuing our trade interests, or the security and stability of our region.

Taking that approach isn’t about singling countries out, , but about taking a consistent approach on the issues and principles that matter to us.

It wasn’t very grovelly –  none of the nonsense Murray McCully was using just a few months ago about China saving us through the financial crisis of 2008/09 –  although anyone who thinks China is somehow at the forefront of global trade liberalisation hasn’t looked very closely (or doesn’t wish to).

By contrast, here is Julie Bishop quoted in that same Australian article

After Mr Trump said he would “love” Australia to join the US in military passages through Chinese disputed territorial waters, Mr Turnbull refused to say in advance when an operation would take place. Such an operation, which the US has conducted in the past, would contradict ­Beijing’s claims of sovereignty in the South China Sea and assert the right of free passage for international shipping.

In Australia, Ms Bishop said: “We have been traversing the South China Sea for many years in accordance with international law and we will continue to do that. Australia is an upholder and defender of the international rules-based order. We believe strongly in the principle of freedom of navigation and freedom of overflight, and we will continue to traverse the South China Sea as we have in the past”.

I’m no great fan of the current Australian government more generally, but there is a degree of realism about the nature of the regime, and its external threats, that seems deliberately absent from the utterances of our own leaders, of whatever party.

Prompted by the events of the last few days, I wonder whether journalists might consider asking a few questions of some of our political leaders:

  • what do the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign Affairs think of the PRC actions in recent days to remove the term limit on how long Xi Jinping can serve as President?  One might hope that any answers would be somewhat more serious –  more engaged with the level of international unease – than suggesting, say, that, after all, we have no term limits, and our head of state reigns for life.
  • since National Party president Peter Goodfellow and Labour Party president Nigel Haworth (and former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley) have quite recently been effusive in their praise of Xi Jinping and his approach (links in the Jichang Lulu piece), how do they view this latest step?  It is no good attempting to say “oh, we are just party functionaries we do the organising”: if you are willing to praise the foreign leader of an aggressive dictatorial state, that increasingly threatens not only the human rights of its own people but other nations, you owe us your take on this latest step.
  • and since Bill English refused ever to engage seriously on the issue of Jian Yang –  the former PLA intelligence official, who now concedes he misrepresented his past to enter New Zealand, and who maintains very close ties to the PRC authorities –  perhaps they could ask Simon Bridges, the new National Party leader.  Is he comfortable having such a person in his caucus, and (reportedly) as one of the party’s leading fundraisers.   Most likely, Bridges would fob journalists off as English did whenever anyone asked, or fall back on the slurs his shadow Attorney-General has relied on.  But even if he did, at least we would have a clearer steer on the character of the man, and the nature of the new generation of New Zealand’s political leadership.



17 thoughts on “New Zealand and the PRC: links and questions

  1. Interesting. Jichang Lulu. Came across his blog the other day. He has a comprehensive sequential history of the events both pre and post the Refining NZ pipeline fracture at Ruakaka. The responsible authority has investigated the incident and concluded they are unable to bring charges because neither of the two possible digger operators can recall digging in that area. There is only one owner of the land involved that permitted exploration. There was only one principal involved and that was Oravida Kauri Ltd who contracted the exploration. And there were the two digger operators.

    The ease with which the investigation was terminated is testament to the power of the powerful. Its not as if there were 30 people involved. The chain of command is known and yet it has been dealt with unsatisfactorily

    Oravida Kauri Ltd – 外汇交易平台首选克罗斯贝 – Companies Office

    Oravida Kauri changed its name to Kauri Ruakaka Ltd. A google search on the company SERP produces Oravida Kauri Ltd – 外汇交易平台首选克罗斯贝
    No information is available for this page.
    Learn why – Learn Why says
    The page owner blocked this page from Google in a suboptimal way, so we couldn’t create a good page description. If you know the site owners, let them know that “robots.txt is blocking Google and can’t create a site description in search results”.

    Oravida Kauri Limited
    Kauri Ruakaka Limited
    Oravida Kauri Limited
    Kauri Connect Limited
    Kauri NZ Investment Limited
    Kiwi Dairy Industry Limited (see Oravida Property Ltd)

    David Wong-Tung – an inactive director whose contract began on 11 Oct 2012 and was terminated on 01 Jul 2017

    Liked by 2 people

    • What I would be more concerned with and would like to know is, how a muslim born MP like Golriz Ghahraman gets to be MP without declaring clearly that she is a muslim by birth and continue to have this strong faith and the question is whether she has a conflict of interest whenever the issue arises with regards with bringing in more muslim refugees. She has a clear agenda towards bringing in more muslims and to increase those numbers to 5000 muslim refugees a year. Given her strong character and legal background defending corrupt and brutal leaders in brutal regimes, it is unclear how that strong influence plays out within the Green Party.


    • Perhaps Winston Peters should expend his legal team efforts pursuing this line of enquiry of importance rather than wasting his time with the unfortunate release of his private details of overpayments which would not amount to much as his reputation was not damaged anyway.

      The problem with Winston Peters is the inability to prioritise important issues.


  2. The Economist today has an article “How the West got China Wrong”. It argues that the strategy employed by the West for the past 25 years has been to encourage trade and market liberalization in China, with the hope that as the people became wealthier they would push for more democratic freedoms.
    In particular, they say “To counter China’s sharp power, Western societies should seek to shed light on links between independent foundations, even student groups, and the Chinese state. ”

    It sounds like Professor Brady is on the right track. Now governments just need to start listening.


    • I think that is rather kind version of Western morality. The West got greedy and saw an opportunity to use cheap labour by the plentiful to increase corporate profitability. China used that Western greed to transfer wealth and technology benefitting China.


  3. The whole thing is that the left see everyone dissolving into a new raceless/ethnicless society where their primary orientation is the goodness of the new society. On the other hand those who benefit directly join the new religion.
    Notice the BNZ (Mai Chen on the board) advert. Images merge: a woman in the outdoors and then a man(?) who looks like the woman kissing a women; two women and a baby; old fogey white New Zealanders; typical Nwe Zealand names like Keiko etc Nothing in an ad is accidental.


    • The Bank of New Zealand or more correctly National Australia Bank where New Zealanders are profit stripped and Australians are the recipients of billion dollar dividend payments.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Things are changing fast in this country with originals becoming “majority minority” (as we experts call it) and Asians out numbering Maori. Paul Spoonley and Julie Hsu (GreenParty) agree that Maori are what make NZ unique and are the only authentic part of NZ that needs preserving (Outspoken Auckland Issues RNZ). Could this be why we have morphed from Maori language Day to Maori language week to Maori language everyday on RNZ?
    Out on Otago Peninsula I drive past the Fletcher House (the first house built by Fletcher Construction ), now I see Fletchers are in trouble and China construction are taking over. We have the Human Rights Commission and Race Relations office; in their class rooms a student makes a speech: “we Chinese are one family”.


    • Whites make up 70% of the population and Maori barely make 15% of the population but Whites behave like 15% of the population and Maori behave like they make up 70% of the population. I think Whites have become rather spineless in their efforts to forget the extremes of the colonial era.


      • Which ever way you cut the colonial experience (maximize or minimise), Maori didn’t want diversity (so called) as Ranginui Walker pointed out. Nevertheless the colonizing experience is exploited by those who want to deligitimise the settlers who arrived in the 1840s and built this country. It’s been down hill since the 1980s. Not to mention that of the 15% most have varying degrees of European ancestry.


      • That is also the general gist of Sir Roberts Jones satire which is a true reflection of the current situation that most Maori are white mixed and therefore should celebrate a Maori gratitude day, doing chores like cleaning, washing and serving to remember the past.


  5. I think Winston was saying we should be worried about China. He said we aren’t in the same league (power) and pointed out that we have lost control of infant formula when China would have bought it anyway.; Letting so many Chinese immigrate here is letting in a virtual army – we now have a new political reality without a preceding battle.


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