Friday, 18 June 2010

Green co-leader Russel Norman assulted by Chinese goon squad

According to reporters and Russel Norman himself, a dozen Chinese agents surrounded him, shoved him, pulled an umbrella over his head, stole his Tibetan flag and stomped on it, and his hand when he tried to get it back. PM John Key says all this is very ‘disappointing’, but it’s clear he means any embarrassment caused to the Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, not this thugs’ attack on freedom of speech.

There’s a bit of history of this sort of thing. 11 years ago in Christchurch it was the New Zealand police who tried to protect the Chinese premier from the horrifying sight of pro-Tibetan protesters, the cops pushed the protesters back and parked a bus in front of them. They were later found to have abused their powers.

Oddly enough I’ve been thinking and reading a bit about China and Tibet recently, although not because of the VP’s trade delegation.

A recent report on New Zealand agribusiness says Chinese demand saved the economy from the worst of the (first round of) the global economic crisis. How long will this last?

Meanwhile, strikes by Chinese workers have been making the news and prompting debate among socialist bloggers in the UK. UNITYblog readers might be interested in this post by Lenin’s Tomb and this response from sympathetic to China Andy Newman at Socialist Unity.

And on the topic of Tibet, this article in the latest Austrian Green Left Weekly (a paper Mr Norman used to sell) responding to a report in the May 22 Sydney Morning Herald, that the Dalai Lama has declared himself “half Marxist half Buddhist”
– David

Incident outside Parliament – Russel Norman’s statement

The mistreatment of Green Party Co-leader Russel Norman on the grounds of Parliament by Chinese security personnel shows how important it is to stand up for democracy and human rights, the Green Party said today.

Dr Norman was assaulted by Chinese security personnel outside Parliament as he was making a stand against China’s human rights record in Tibet.

“Because John Key’s Government let Chinese security control our Parliament, it stopped being a safe place for democracy,” Dr Norman said.

“I’ve laid a complaint with the Police because New Zealanders need to know they are free to speak without fear of violence or recrimination.”

Dr Norman said the Government needs to defend the right of its citizens to free speech because it is one of the cornerstones of democracy.

“I’m asking that John Key make a clear statement that this sort of behaviour is not acceptable in New Zealand,” Dr Norman said.


Anonymous said...

I can't get over how much the details of this report differ from the video footage of the events that unfolded. Video clearly shows the security personnel surrounding the Chinese delegate and Russel was the one shoving and pushing them. Russel Norman acted in a childish manner and had he been a member of the general public would probably have been detained.

Don Franks said...

Several issues here.

Although carrying no brief at all for the current Chinese government, I do observe that they badly need to get their pr shit together.
Given the scope and sophistication of their many achievements its amazing how fucked up they are in some basic political departments. If they had just walked slowly past Norman and his fluttering flag with a smile the pr points would have been all theirs.

My impression is Russel Norman is a being bit precious.

His call that you can't do this bad shit in our democratic country does not resonate very loud to me. China is a capitalist dictatorship and so is New Zealand. Ok , China is a lot closer to the bone but when workers poke their head up here they get short shift. And no consistent support from the Greens.

But isn't this issue mainly about people's lives in Tibet?

Not in New Zealand I don't think.

The Green party employ none of their considerable resources to make any systematic mass campaign on about Tibet. I get the impression they are just having a punt for the cameras. When the time is right they occasionally hold up their individual Tibetan flags to get media coverage and feel good that they have kept their hands clean.