Government FTA stance falls short on Tibetan rights

Green Party MP Keith Locke said the Prime Ministers’ post-Cabinet statement is letting down the Tibetan people and selling short the people of New Zealand.

“Ms Clark’s view that the free trade agreement with China has nothing to do with its human rights is amoral and unacceptable,” Green Party’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Mr Locke says.

“There is also a double standard at work, because everyone knows we would not give a preferential deal to Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe or the military rulers of Myanmar.

“Why give one to China, a one-party state that won’t allow any dissent, and massacres Tibetan protesters?

“Ms Clark should be taking a principled stance, publicly siding with the Tibetan people in their hour of need.

“I am disappointed at the timidity of her response to the Chinese clampdown in Tibet. It is probably one of the weakest of any Western government,” Mr Locke says.

“What has happened in Tibet over the past week is clear. The Chinese regime has brutally crushed demonstrators asserting Tibetan rights, and is arresting many people.

“What Tibetans need right now is strong condemnation from the world community and support for their national and cultural rights.

“New Zealand must speak out, whatever the consequences for the free trade agreement to be signed in Beijing next month.

“The absence of human rights in China also makes the free trade agreement quite dangerous to New Zealand. Few Kiwi manufacturers can compete with cheap Chinese goods — made by workers who are paid a pittance and have no rights to join a trade union.”