[As noted below, despite checking several websites, including that of the PRC Embassy, the first part of this post was clearly in error. Accordingly I have updated the title of the post. The second, and more substantive, point stands.]
Like everyone else I guess, I’ve been following pretty closely the coverage of the Christchurch attacks. And in the course of all that I’d noticed various statements of condolence from various overseas governments. Some perhaps perfunctory (it is the sort of thing decent governments do), others genuinely shocked and heartfelt. I found it quite moving that the UK government was flying flags at half-mast on Friday. But there were also statements from the French government, the German government, the Canadian government, various arms of the US government from the President down, the Norwegian government, the EU, the Australian government, the Dutch government, and that was before we even got to various Muslim-majority countries, some of whom had citizens killed in the attacks.
But, it appears, nothing at all from the government of the People’s Republic of China. It is not as if they are unaware of the attacks – when I checked there was a story in the Global Times and, searching for the Dutch response, the story I found was actually on Xinhua. As we are often told, New Zealand firms do more business with firms from the People’s Republic of China than with firms in any other country. There are lots of PRC nationals living here. And barely two years ago, the then government (in the form of Simon Bridges) signed up to some aspirational goal of a “fusion of civilisations” with the PRC (in the Belt and Road MOU). There is lots of talk from both sides – and their champions – about wanting relationships of “mutual respect”. It is has never been clear to me why we would want to respect such an evil regme, but I’m not the Prime Minister, Opposition leader, or the New Zealand China Council. They do. They claim to believe the rhetoric, even though the evidence (globally) is that the PRC has no respect for any other country; just that some are useful to them at times. They seem pretty clear-sighted about that; it is our leaders who are deluded and/or attempt to delude us.
Perhaps I’ve missed some message, but you can check the (typically very useful) PRC Embassy website for yourself. I’d count on the China Council to have tweeted a link to any statement of condolences, but there is nothing there either. There is simply nothing visible. Perhaps (or perhaps not) there was some quiet behind the scenes statement to MFAT, but friends don’t hide messages of condolence in circumstances like these.
(UPDATE: It appears I had missed a statement of condolence. Thanks to the reader who drew this to my attention.)
Of course, the PRC is open to a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” risk. After all, as a matter of official government policy, the PRC authorities currently have interned, in concentration camp conditions, an estimated 1.5 million Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang. People have been physically abused in these camps, denied all rights, and some have even been killed. There are credible reports of the PRC using imprisoned Uighurs as a source for the large-scale PRC organ transplant business. But even with this record, it is still quite a lapse for the PRC to have offered no official condolences on the mass murder of 49 (Muslim) people in New Zealand. One of those small things that helps bring home the sort of regime the PRC is, and they way view a country like New Zealand (hint: not at all as the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition would like us to believe).
(In fact, given that in Tarrant’s manifesto he explicitly states that the country he most admires is the PRC – ethnonationalism and all that I guess – you might have thought the PRC authorities would have been going out of their way to offer condolences. Except that…….they didn’t.)
As I noted the other day, our Police – certainly with the acquiesence of MFAT, and probably with that of the government – has made itself party to aiding and abetting the dreadful abuses in Xinjiang (and elsewhere): their Assistant Commissioner is a 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 Ministry of Public Security does this dreadful stuff, and our Police are signing on to help (not, of course, consciously re that particular aspect, but it is all one organisation, and Police and MFAT know very well what they do – not just in Xinjiang, but as instruments of oppression right across the country).
Perhaps now, once they have a few spare minutes, it might be time for Mike Bush, the Police Commissioner, to reconsider and tell his Assistant Commissioner to pull out of his visiting professor appointment, and stop assisting in the oppression of (inter alia) Muslims in Xinjiang. If he lacks the decency, the imagination, the moral compass to do even that, then it is about time that the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs get the Minister of Police in a room and tell him to instruct the Commissioner to discontinue that relationship.
The New Zealand Police aiding and abetting the PRC (absence of) system of repression was appalling enough a few days ago. With 49 dead Muslims in Christchurch – and not a word from Beijing – it is well past time for our authorities to come to their senses, and completely dissociate ourselves, and our people, from the oppression in Xinjiang.
(Perhaps some belated PRC message will finally come, but it is now 2:15 on Saturday and there is still no sign of anything. Times like these help confirm who your friends really are.)