China – Human Rights

Question 10.

KEITH LOCKE (Green) to the Prime Minister:

What human rights issues, if any, has the Government raised with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao during his visit to New Zealand?

The general matter of human rights was raised in the ministerial discussions this morning.

Keith Locke:

What concerns has the Government expressed to the Chinese Premier during his visit regarding protection of the political, cultural, and religious rights of the Tibetan people?


As I said, the general matter was traversed during discussions this morning. I am not aware — obviously, I have not had time to be briefed by the Prime Minister — of any private discussions so far today.

Keith Locke:

Did the Government discuss the Iranian nuclear programme with the Chinese Premier, and did it agree with him that the best course is dialogue with Iran, not threats of sanctions or military actions as being pushed for by the United States?


In the limited time available we traversed issues of more central importance to New Zealand.

Sue Kedgley:

Why will the Government not come out publicly and call on the Chinese Government to engage in a political dialogue with the Dalai Lama to bring genuine democracy and autonomy for the Tibetan people; is it because this Government is not prepared to do anything — not even to raise our voice on behalf of the Tibetan people — that might ruffle the feathers of the Chinese Government and stand in the way of our craven pursuit of a free-trade deal with China; if not, why not?


Those matters in relation to Tibet have been raised many times with the Chinese Government by the Minister of Foreign of Affairs. We do note that some progress has been made by the Chinese in the civil rights area compared with, say, 25 years ago. We certainly do believe that a free-trade agreement with China would be in the interests of nearly all New Zealanders.