Five Eyes not the right vehicle to challenge China on human rights

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It’s good to see New  Zealand criticising China for undermining democracy in Hong Kong, but we shouldn’t do it via a Five Eyes statement.

It would be much more effective for New Zealand, which has a reasonably good relationship with China, to make any critical statements on its own behalf.

All Five Eyes statements are driven by the United States, which is very hostile to China.

Unlike New Zealand, which sees China as a friend, the US sees China as a “strategic enemy”, in both military and economic terms.

The US is trying to slow the growth of China as a technological superpower by banning the supply of parts to Chinese companies like Huawei. This is economic warfare.

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The US promotes the “de-coupling” of Western economies from China, which would be a disaster for New Zealand, given China is our biggest trading partner.

New Zealand promotes global cooperation, whereas the US practices “America First”.  The new US administration will have a less aggressive economic policy than Trump’s, but President Biden will still put the interests of American corporations first, and openly try to “contain” China.

New Zealand’s interests are not served by the American-led Five Eyes, and we won’t have a truly independent foreign policy while we remain a member.

Surely, the aim of any human rights advocacy is to be heard by citizens of the country being criticised, and we won’t be heard if we just tag along with America.

We are better off making our own statements, or joining a much larger group of countries, or using the United Nations as a platform.

In this blog I’ve made a case for the most principled and effective way to China on human rights. But additional to that, it is in New Zealand’s economic self-interest not to be seen as an American lackey.  Without the Chinese  market for our agricultural produce, New Zealand’s economy would be in very bad shape.  In trade terms New Zealand needs China much more than China needs us. If China cut back on imports of dairy, meat and timber we’d be in serious trouble.

There’s no upside to New Zealand remaining subordinate to America in military and intelligence matters. Thirty five years ago, in 1985,  New Zealanders celebrated our independent foreign policy when the US excluded us from the three-nation ANZUS treaty over our anti-nuclear policy.  That seems to have been largely forgotten by our current government. On Monday Jacinda Ardern invited US President-elect Joe Biden to a 50th anniversary commemoration of the same Cold War ANZUS treaty.  Rather than pursue a fully independent foreign policy, the Labour government seem committed to a new Cold War alliance, the Five Eyes, this time directed at China.

 

22 COMMENTS

  1. ‘If China cut back on imports of dairy, meat and timber we’d be in serious trouble.’

    We ARE in serious trouble as a consequence of emulating the American lifestyle and kowtowing to American economic, cultural and military blustering.

    Now that the US is circling the drain, we certainly need to decouple from it as much as possible, and the government’s actions clearly demonstrate how loopy or cowardly (probably both) our politicians are.

  2. ”All Five Eyes statements are driven by the United States, which is very hostile to China”

    —————-

    True.

    ”The US promotes the “de-coupling” of Western economies from China, which would be a disaster for New Zealand, given China is our biggest trading partner”

    False. There is always Russia, to which we haven’t even bothered with.

    —————-

    ”New Zealand promotes global cooperation, whereas the US practices “America First”. The new US administration will have a less aggressive economic policy than Trump’s, but President Biden will still put the interests of American corporations first, and openly try to “contain” China”

    —————

    False. Trump neither led us into world war three and in fact withdrew support from NATO and told those nations to shoulder their own weight and not bludge on USA resources. He was not willing to antagonize Russia. Something for which we could learn from.

    —————

    ”New Zealand’s interests are not served by the American-led Five Eyes, and we won’t have a truly independent foreign policy while we remain a member”

    —————

    True. Removal from the five eyes agreement would enable us to have our own independent foreign policy’s. Something by which we paid a high price for in the anti nuke days of the Longe administration. And we are still paying for that in many ways in trade restrictions with the USA to this very day. Our problem is we need that trade, the USA needs our strategic placement against China.

    ——————

    ”Surely, the aim of any human rights advocacy is to be heard by citizens of the country being criticised, and we won’t be heard if we just tag along with America”

    —————–

    False. Organ harvesting, persecution of the Falon gong, Uighurs, and other ethnic groups such as those of the Islamic faith along with convicted criminals in summary executions in the Chinese mainland means that China holds the worst human rights record in modern history. Just look at Hong Kong. Yes there is the democratic movement in China but it is infiltrated, monitored and by and large, suppressed to the point of being almost non existent as far as human rights are concerned. Love it or lump it, with all its evils, the west is still leaps ahead in general openness of governance than communist China.

    —————

    ”We are better off making our own statements, or joining a much larger group of countries, or using the United Nations as a platform”

    —————

    False. If Tony Blair and George Bush JR are anything to go by with their unilateral decisions to simply ignore the U.N and invade Iraq on the premise of their fabricated lies of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and the ensuing mass murder and genocide of the peoples targeted in their objectives,… then that demonstrates the impotence of the U.N itself. It is toothless because of its hypocrisy. Hypocrisy because half its members are involved with trade deals in arms and munitions , not food and the transferal of technology and peaceful pursuits.

    —————-

    ”Without the Chinese market for our agricultural produce, New Zealand’s economy would be in very bad shape. In trade terms New Zealand needs China much more than China needs us. If China cut back on imports of dairy, meat and timber we’d be in serious trouble”

    —————-

    False. You are playing on a simplistic ( and actually quite offensive ) notion that the world clock stopped for NZ when Britain ( England ) joined the EEC and that New Zealanders somehow lost their brains when it came to entrepreneurial enterprise. You are implying that we are a feckless, braindead bunch of incompetents that can only trade in basic primary industry products incapable of utilizing and manufacturing value added products.

    —————

    ”There’s no upside to New Zealand remaining subordinate to America in military and intelligence matters”

    —————

    True. We do not need them in the same way we do not need the Chinese. And let us not forget the Chinese also use soft power techniques on us as do the the USA. Russia is our better alternative.

    —————–

    ”Thirty five years ago, in 1985, New Zealanders celebrated our independent foreign policy when the US excluded us from the three-nation ANZUS treaty over our anti-nuclear policy. That seems to have been largely forgotten by our current government. On Monday Jacinda Ardern invited US President-elect Joe Biden to a 50th anniversary commemoration of the same Cold War ANZUS treaty. Rather than pursue a fully independent foreign policy, the Labour government seem committed to a new Cold War alliance, the Five Eyes, this time directed at China”

    ————–

    True. This Labour govt is committed to the free market dogma that is neo liberalism. As such, it will follow both England’s and the USA’s lead. Despite the fact the USA has imposed strict trade ‘sanctions’ against this country as the penalty for daring to challenge its military, industrial and economic hegemony ,- even though we benefit little from its aggressive free market economic stance…

    IN CONCLUSION:

    There is little to be gained by hiding in the shadows of any major military, industrial and economic power. No matter what ideology they hold. Our job as a small trading nation is to not pick sides, but rather to play them off one against the other. We can do that by trade only. Nothing we can do either militarily or ideologically can make a jot of difference. We are too small. And picking sides involves us in geopolitical consequences that are simply beyond our resources.

    The USA wants us as a strategic ‘listening ear’ on China. The Chinese want our resources and our ‘allegiance’ as a servile vassal state tied up with the belt and road/ subservient partner in trade deals.

    May I suggest a more sly yet tactile approach such as exhibited by Sukarno and Suharto of Indonesia in playing one nation off against another to advance our own nations causes despite prejudices ( ie : trade deals with Russia ) for the benefit of our own people, to develop our own independent foreign policy’s whereby we do not pick sides, – and rather we use the foolishness of larger nations and their mutual belligerence to our advantage.

    Sun Tzu would be proud and would approve.

    Of that I am sure.

    Believe me.

      • I am 57 years old, an ex gold miner, holder of an advanced trade certificate of Scn and Technology, when my son was undergoing cancer, a self employed painter decorator with a trade certificate from Unitech, with various sundry horticultural certificates …

        I am a bum, a drifter, a long and grey haired bikie type with a mustache and goatee like Gen George Armstrong Custer.

        And all I ever wanted to see was our women confident of their men bringing home a realistic wage and seeing their children prosper and to see their family’s prosper in a so called ‘first world’ economy.

        I am a simple nationalist that believes in policy’s that put New Zealanders first. And from that collective bounty, can support others with need. No matter their race or creed.

        And that is all.

        https://i.etsystatic.com/6573744/r/il/4f9be1/654139029/il_570xN.654139029_lgdk.jpg

        But to get to the truth,… it would be better to take a leaf from the Southern Irish, and listen to the Pogues….

        The Pogues – Thousands Are Sailing
        https://youtu.be/O-OnS3LPt0w?t=3

        For that’s what drives me.

        The plight of the working class. I want to see them well looked after.

        And that is all.

  3. Eyes are no good as China will poke them out. And its seems we (NZ) at the moment have no eyes, ears or mouth, does that makes us blind, deaf and dumb.

  4. … reading capital in precarious times …

    https://monthlyreview.org/2020/10/01/china-2020-an-introduction/

    “This general strategic shift away from China, designed to weaken it in order to restore U.S. unipolar dominance in the world economy, is coupled with one of the biggest U.S. military buildups in history, with the Trump administration requesting a $705 billion “defense” budget for the fiscal year 2021, directed explicitly against China and Russia. Washington’s focus on China is ideologically justified by the latter’s attempts to dominate the South China Sea (within its regional sphere of interest). But it has its deeper roots in what figures like Peter Navarro, in charge of U.S. trade policy in the Trump administration, openly refers to as coming hegemonic wars with China. In this context, attempts are being made by Washington to bring India firmly into a new Indo-Pacific alliance as a way of militarily constraining China.”

    “Hence, Washington’s attacks on the Chinese economy are couched primarily as attacks on the CCP. The goal is to damage the Party’s credibility, exploiting its external and internal contradictions and weakening the Chinese state. This would allow the United States and global monopoly-finance capital to move in with the support of internal Chinese interests and restructure China’s state and economy in such a way as to ensure continuing U.S. (and Western) dominance—in a variation of the dismantling of the Soviet Union.”

  5. “It’s good to see New Zealand criticising China for undermining democracy in Hong Kong”

    What a misreading of the Hong Kong situation. Rather than clap when the US / UK instigate unrest how about actually reading into the history of Hong Kong.
    Britain finally got kicked out of China after a long period of damage to the Chinese people with trade instigated in opium.
    As a part of the British swan song a deal was done for Britain to hold onto Hong Kong for a 100 years.
    During that 100 years there was NO DEMOCRACY nor representative elected for the Hong Kong people. NONE!
    Hong Kong was ruled from London and the British masters employed Indians to administer Hong Kong leaving the native Chinese as third class citizens.
    When China took back Hong Kong they set up elections to establish representative input into the governance and running of Hong Kong.

    So China gave Hong Kong the first taste of democracy they had in 100 years.
    So what’s the pro democracy riots about
    .
    The US had established a congress funded CIA run “NGO” called NED, as installed in dozens of countries to promote unrest and destabilise governments.

    Rather than NZ MSM report what is happening during these planned outbreaks of unrest among mainly students and NED paid agitators and student body recruiters, NZ gets the US based propaganda and not including reports on the organised attack on police and locals who oppose the US made “riots”
    Even USA flags were used.

    China had not made preparation for such planned infiltration and foreign organised and funded disruption to Hong Kong life. Leaders of the riots were based in the UK. USA and various US funded organisations in Hong Kong including newspapers.
    China passed laws to stop this nonsense happening within their own sovereign territory, and to protect the police and members of the Hong Kong public.
    China has installed democracy in Hong Kong some time ago.
    Its new laws are to protect the people from foreign organised and funded disruption involving attacking Police and patriotic locals.

    So do your homework and get information based on what is behind the so called unrest.

    • John W: “….planned outbreaks of unrest among mainly students and NED paid agitators and student body recruiters, NZ gets the US based propaganda and not including reports on the organised attack on police and locals who oppose the US made “riots”
      Even USA flags were used.”

      Exactly. News footage showed all the protest signs being in English. This is how the viewer could tell who was behind the protests: the US (and the UK). Had they been genuinely homegrown, absolutely all the signs would have been in Chinese.

  6. Good article in parts, but every country has the right to run its own affairs as it sees fit.

    Can China interfere in New Zealand’s criminal justice system because of Maori incarceration rates? Of course not.

    So Locke should really get off his high horse.

    • “Good article in parts, but every country has the right to run its own affairs as it sees fit.”

      So Nazi Germany had the right to continue with the Holocaust? The Soviets with the Gulags?

      As you are so pro PRC Mark can you please enlighten us as to why?

      • James Brown: “So Nazi Germany had the right to continue with the Holocaust? The Soviets with the Gulags?”

        Do you know your history? Sounds as if you don’t.

        I remind you that the Allies didn’t go to war with the Nazis because of the Holocaust, which hadn’t actually begun at that stage.

        As to the USSR: the existence of the gulags (labour camps: occupants mostly criminals, not dissenters, as claimed by the West) wasn’t why the Nazis invaded.

        Given that none of us – including you – has a good handle on what’s actually happening in China, we’d do well to keep our opinions to ourselves.

        Yes indeed, every country has the right to run its own affairs, without being lectured by other countries. Especially when all that holier-than-thou stuff comes from the US and the UK.

        • D’Esterre – Thank you but yes I do know my history and at no point did I state that the Allies ‘went to war’ because of the Holocaust or Germany invaded the USSR because of the Gulags.

          • James Brown: but going to war is exactly what the US has been angling for with China: hence the critique. It’s difficult to figure out why the US could be so all-fired dumb as to think it could invade a country of that size, but there you have it. Uncle Sam’s foreign policy isn’t noted for sophisticated analysis.

            This is its modus operandi: seen it all before, in my longish life: Afghanistan, Iraq (notoriously), Libya, Syria (luckily, Obama was too cowardly to launch a full-scale invasion there), just about anywhere in central and south America, the Caribbean. And that’s why this country should stay the hell out of it.

            With regard to the Holocaust: there was persecution of Jews in Germany before WW2, yet sundry Western nations were signally unwilling to give shelter to fleeing Jews. Including, of course, the US, which in fact took in more Nazis post-war than it ever did Jews pre-war.

            I’m a boomer, born shortly after the war. My late parents were very interested in politics and in the progress of the war, naturally. My mother said that there were rumours only of what was happening to the Jews: no concrete evidence.

        • James Brown: It looks as if my previous message was posted unfinished. Very annoying.

          My late mother said that during the war, there were only unconfirmed rumours about the concentration camps.

          We had family who were in central Europe during the war: even they heard only rumours. Such were the times.

          The extent of the extermination programme wasn’t known about until the Red Army began liberating the camps on the march to Berlin. Then of course the Allies also liberated camps.

          There was international outrage, of course, but it was after the fact. And the Holocaust has, as we all know, become a byword for evil.

          In the name of which, unfortunately, further evils have been perpetrated.

          As to the gulags: most of what we’ve heard has been propaganda. Best that the US in particular refrains from pontificating about them, so long as it has the horrors of its own prison system; and Gitmo; and Abu Ghraib.

          Though I wouldn’t put it past the US to attempt to use the notion of “liberating the gulags” as an excuse for an invasion of Russia. They are just dumb enough to try a stunt like that.

      • The “right of a nation to run its own affairs” is questionable if that statement reduces to “the right of any government, however it came to power, to do unto the people under its claimed jurisdiction as it sees fit” which is not a moral right in any sense of the term.
        On the other hand it may be simply unwise for any nation, even for the best of motives, to intervene in the affairs of another.
        Foreign intervention usually doesn’t work. There are often unintended consequences, and those who suffer oppression under their own government more often than not find their troubles become even greater in the aftermath of intervention by foreign forces.
        Finally, the real motives of those states which interfere in the affairs of other peoples are usually anything but benevolent.
        All this suggests to me that while we should keep obnoxious regimes at arms length we should refrain from directly intervening between those regimes and the people who they claim to represent.

        • Yes Geoff the principles are sound.
          China has legislated to prevent further foreign intervention in their sovereign territory.

          Those from outside who don’t like that would be well advised to look at their motives.

          Just down the road from our Parliament is a large complex called an embassy but its function appears to be much more than trade related matters.
          Much further away is an embassy of our biggest trading partner, a physically about one third of the size.
          Five Eyes and CIA activity in NZ are directed from the US embassy as well as the network of lobbyist who influence the NZ govt and business community. They need a big multi story building with a bunker.
          Being an embassy any arms or weaponry stored on site is immune to NZ govt scrutinee.

  7. To be an effective agent for change one must possess moral fortitude, which has not been a significant element in the political character of Jacinda Ardern ever since her time in the service of Tony Blair.
    By lining up behind Donald Trump (who has no commitment to democratic process and uses murder as an instrument of global politics) and Boris Johnson (who lied his way into power) Jacinda sends the message that power matters more than principle.
    It is no wonder therefore that the message was greeted with derision and anger in Beijing.
    There is an additional element of hypocrisy in Jacinda’s stance. She rightly objects to the Chinese government requiring all Hong Kong legislators to be “patriotic” – in effect, to be acceptable to the Communist Party of China.
    Yet the New Zealand state requires all elected parliamentarians to bear allegiance to the British Crown in New Zealand. That is, while China requires all legislators to be at least ostensibly “patriotic”, the colonial regime in New Zealand bans all those who are genuinely patriotic from enjoying political rights. Is this not a case of the pot calling the kettle black? Or worse?
    If Jacinda is to remain on track as New Zealand’s answer to Evita Peron she will need to break her connection with the murderous gang of thugs that goes by the name of “The Five Eyes”. If she does not, despite her powers of persuasion and her engaging personality she will be remembered as at best ineffectual, at worst a hypocrite, and a leader who ultimately failed her nation.

  8. No Shit Sherlock. Since Peters left Foreign Affairs resembles amateur hour at the OK Coral. The Blairite needs to get involved quickly. There are 60 ships of Aussie Coal sitting in the sea that suggests time is of the essence lest China removes communication with us as well.

    The selection of Mahuta over Parker in FA is appearing at present a strategic fuck up.

  9. Neither is the Useless Nations from my own experience of working on behalf of that Unless & corrupt Organisation. The best thing that NZ can do is get off China’s tit and diversified its export & import markets from China or else NZ will end up like what happen with the UK in 73.

    The late Mike Moore would be rolling in his grave by now at the Stupidity of previous NZG’s and the various Industry bodies that have to have forgotten what happened to NZ in 73 when the UK walked out of the Commonwealth for the useless EU (EEC back then for you young ones).

    If we don’t make a stand on China now, what would it take Taiwan, closure of the SCS which would screw our partners in SEA but also of Japan, Sth Korea Taiwan, but also Australia, Canada and the Satan the USA.

    Keith & the NZ Greens were very quiet about the rape and pillage of the Chinese Fishing Fleet around the Galapagos Islands during the NZ election and even most so about the Chinese Fishing Fleet operating off the Southern end of Tonga’s EEZ who were ducking in and off NZ’s EEZ illegally Nth to Nth East of the Kermadec’s up to a 50 to 100 Km’s.

    • The fishing violation are widespread with Taiwan,China. South Korea, Vietnam and Japan offending at times..
      NZ govt should register a complaint with China and test their response but evidence needs to be clear and concrete.

      Yellow Fin and Big Eye Tuna stocks are dying in the Pacific but bring big dollars per fish in Japan.

      • The main two in our neck of the region is Taiwan and China. The Taiwanese are currently getting caught out more often these days and I believe further research suggests that Taiwanese Fishing boats are operating outside of their Governments various agreements with Sth Pacific Nations to fish inside their respective EEZ’s. Taiwanese are still carrying on like when they were in competition Japan before Japan started to realise this was unsustainable long term.

        China’s Fishing Fleet has become a law in itself of late with no respect for the law of the sea or any nations EEZ’s, even the Chinese Coast Guard now escorting it’s nations fishing fleet after recent clashes with a couple of South America countries who have a shoot first and ask later policy which NZ did have up until 80’s to 90’s. What has most people concern about the Chinese Fleet is they had destroyed their own fishing grounds from over fishing and are slowly move East to towards the weak Sth Pacific Nations with large sums of money etc. The other concern is that the Antarctic Treaty is due to expire on 2047. Given the current trends we would expect to see them heading the Eastern edge of NZ’s EEZ within the next few yrs due to lack over assets that the NZDF have to Patrol it’s EEZ after decades of cuts forcing the NZDF to do more with less while trying to maintain “The Utility of Force”. The NZG has not realising the reality that our Strategic Environment is no longer a “Benign Security Environment”, but a slowly changing to a more active security environment for the last great race for the world’s resources including the Antarctic Continent and not all Nations play by the International Rules Based System which the liberal left middle class toffs of the NZLP or the NZ Greens can’t comprehend or understand the true reality of real life politics.

        The Vietnamese Fishing has been effective pushed out of the SCS due to the actions of the Chinese Fishing Fleet & it’s Coast Guard and I haven’t heard of the Vietnamese Fishing Fleet into the Sth Pacific yet. But I’ll doubt we would ever see them anyway.

        As for Japan they have cleaned up their act and nowadays play by the rules set by the Sth Nations IRT Tuna stocks. Also they tend to deal with local fishermen. There Whaling Fleet is a different kettle of fish and it’s mainly to do with Politics within Japan.

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