Almost unbelievable

I was about to settle in for the rest of the afternoon writing a review article of an interesting (but obscure) book on aspects of US monetary policy, when a reader sent me a link to an astonishing article from the New Zealand Police website.   In it we read

As he prepares to bring down the curtain on eight years as our man in Beijing, Assistant Commissioner Hamish McCardle has received a rare honour from his hosts.

He has been appointed Visiting Professor at the People’s Public Security University of China – the first foreigner to hold such a role.

The university is where China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) trains the elite of China’s police. …..

The university and the Royal New Zealand Police College have had a bilateral training relationship since 2016. ……

He says the university appointment is an endorsement of the healthy state of the New Zealand-China bilateral relationship, and “underscores the idea that New Zealand has values and ideas worth considering in the Chinese context”.

It also aligns with the aims and values of the New Zealand-China Friendship Society and the pioneering work of New Zealander Rewi Alley who fostered a life-long friendship with China from the 1930s.

I don’t have any particular problem with Police having a person in our embassy in Beijing.  The day job had “a focus on disrupting the flow of drugs and precursors to New Zealand”.  That sounds fine.

But in accepting this “honour”, have the Police, MFAT, and their political masters lost sight completely any sort of moral compass?

The People’s Republic of China is a country where the Chief Justice himself proclaims that the rule of law is not something for China.  The Party rules.   It is a country where the Ministry for Public Security plays a key role in imprisioning a million or more people in Xinjiang.  I’m sure they do basic policing work as well –  Chinese have road accidents, and break-ins just as we do –  but this is the New Zealand government actively participating –  on a ongoing basis – in making the repressive apparatus of the PRC state better and more effective at doing its job.  A big part of that job is an instrument of systematic repression –  political, religious, or whatever.    Political loyalty –  to the CCP – is, not surprisingly, a key element in recruitment, and presumably even more so at those studying to be “the elite of China’s police”.

And what about that weird stuff in the final paragraph of the quoted excerpt?  The New Zealand-China Friendship Society has been around for decades and long-served as a Beijing front organisation in New Zealand, right through the horrors of the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and on to their total silence today about repression in Xinjiang.    And Rewi Alley?   Well, he lived a fairly comfortable life in Beijing after the CCP took over, navigating this way through the thickets of changing CCP politics, reaching new lows when he published a jointly-authored book near the end of the Cultural Revolution defending the regime at its worst.  What possesses our Police to think these are “aims and values” to champion?   Why not, for example, the aims and values of the Tiananmen protestors, the Falun Gong movement, or the (underground) Catholic church?  But that wouldn’t fit the narrative I guess, of prostrating the New Zealand system before Beijing.

Presumably Mr McCardle is a perfectly decent chap, and probably won’t think of trying to import PRC methods to New Zealand policing on his return?  But did he not in the seven years he has been lecturing at this university already,  or does he not now, feel any qualms of conscience at all about abetting evil?  Because that is a big part of what the Ministry of Public Security, elite and otherwise, actually does.

And what of our subservient and deferential politicians?   Does the Minister of Foreign Affairs really feel comfortable with this “honour”?  ( I assume his officials at MFAT think it is just wonderful).  What about the Minister of Police?  Or the Prime Minister?

Or Simon Bridges or Todd McClay?  Or do all our MPs just think it is totally fine –  quite an honour in fact –  for the New Zealand government to be helping the PRC better repress its citizens, better repress freedom, free expression, free worship, free assembly or whatever?

It is a small thing in a way.  But a succession of individually small things build up to a narrative of a government system –  from the top down –  more interested in getting along, and supporting, this evil regime doing its work –  mercenaries, in effect, for trade deals and political donations –  than in representing the interests, values, and traditions of New Zealanders.   For Mike Bush and the New Zealand Police it seems that the values of the China Friendship Society and Rewi Alley count for more.

That’s shameful.

9 thoughts on “Almost unbelievable

  1. Yes, an eyebrow raising revelation at the least. As you say, I’m sure Hamish McCardle is a decent bloke, who in some liaison role was a contact with the PRC Police and no doubt sort to stem the flow of meth and other drug components to NZ. That said, this is not a good look, or as the American’s might say “the optics don’t look good.” I think in New Zealand we are a little naive with regards to propaganda. The Public Security Bureau in China, don’t give out traffic tickets, they break down doors during the night and lock up political activists, church pastors and others who commit “political crimes”. We don’t have a Political Police force in New Zealand and we certainly shouldn’t be training China’s, or taking awards from it. It would be interesting to know if the NZ Minister of Police or Foreign affairs knew about this “visiting professorship”. If McCardle is still a public servant and not retired from NZ Police, I would think he would need NZ Government approval to take up such a post.
    I seem to recall during the East Timor conflict, there was a suspension by NZ (and Australia) of training Indonesian Army officers, as one particular unit was implicated in human rights abuses in East Timor. So should we supply training staff for Chinese Public Security officers who may also be committing human rights abuses? At the least, the question should be probed.


    • I think we do have a political police force. When Tongans rioted against Chinese shops and other businesses our government sent “anti-racist” police. Also they seem to be required to get with the spirit of hero parades etc. They have become instruments of globalisation, multi-culturalism and social change?


      • Breaking news, shooting in Christchurch.

        A witness said a man wearing a military-style jacket opened fire inside the mosque on Deans Ave.

        A worker in the area said at least 30 people have been injured or killed by a gunman.

        The head of the Federation of Islamic Federations of New Zealand, Dr Mustafa Farouk, told RNZ that up to 500 people were inside the mosque.

        Another witness said they saw at least four people lying on the ground.

        “There was blood everywhere.”

        Police confirmed there was an active shooter and urged people in central Christchurch to stay indoors and report any suspicious behaviour immediately to 111.


  2. McCardle is a serving Assistant Commissioner, based at our embassy in Beijing until now, and now taking up a head office Police role in Wgtn. MFAT will have been well aware of what was going on (altho I suspect they would have been less injudicious in their phrasing).

    Whether ministers were is a question someone might reasonably ask (OIA and all that).

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the point is to show them that policing can be done without brutality. My holiday in Shanghai and 5 provincial cities in China showed that they are very particular about demonstrating that brutality is not their way. Red Party battle hardened soldiers were fully involved in crowd control as it was their weeklong national holiday. The soldiers did an amazing display of marching crowd control. There were no guns or shields or batons present. There was a clear separation of civilian police also unarmed who were the ones in charge with the Red party soldiers assisting. As soon as the crowd started to away the soldiers disappeared from sight.

      Let’s be proud that our police likely showed them a better way.


      • Our police march to Field Marshall [Sportscar Driving Member of Auckland Council for Civil Liberties]


      • I’m sure they can be very gentle with compliant and approved people. But the worrying thing about China and other authoritarian regimes is if you don’t agree with them, or what they do, and stick you head up, they whack it pretty hard. Are you aware of the social grading Chinese citizens get. They get a “Social Credit” score as a “good citizen”. You can lose credit points for what many NZ’er would think trivial reasons, not even criminal acts. Once your Social Credit score dips you have trouble buying a train ticket let alone an airline ticket.
        Would you like to live in such a regimented society? I doubt the Chinese Communist Party are paying much attention to our “better way.”


      • Barry, that sounds like NZ you are describing. Are you aware of the racial grading NZ citizens get. They get a “Maori Preference” score as a “Maori”. If you are not Maori you can lose 33% of your kiwisaver, your business, your farm and your investment property for what many NZ’er would think trivial reasons, not even criminal acts. Would you like to live in such a regimented society?


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