E tū condemns arrests of Hong Kong democracy activists

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E tū has joined New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister, global unions and others in condemning the arrest this week of over 50 prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy activists.

Among those arrested was aviation worker Carol Ng, the chair of the Hong Kong Council of Trade Unions and former general secretary of the British Airways Hong Kong International Cabin Crew Association. Carol was released last night but the arrests are part of an ongoing and escalating intimidation of the democracy movement in Hong Kong.

E tū spokesperson Sam Huggard says the union extends its solidarity to Carol and other trade union and democracy activists.

“An attack on democracy is an attack on ordinary working people and communities and cannot be tolerated. We join with others in condemning this move and call on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to stop this intimidation immediately,” Sam says.

The detentions were made by local police, under the controversial National Security Law, for trying to “overthrow” the government by holding primary elections for pro-democracy candidates in last year’s postponed elections.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. because of a relationship , Jacinda can speak to China about any reservations she may have with them .
    this influence , wouldn’t be possible if NZ were to cease trade with China .

    i think an excellent take is prof . Anne-Marie Brady’s position on independant trade from China
    she should be brought onboard to oversee trade & foreign affairs strategy and to help ensure there are no failures .
    ” a quiet but determined independence . . ‘ – Anne – Marie Brady .
    i think would be preferred to the , tumultuous exchanges OZ are having with China .

    https://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/108394/while-australia-chooses-muscular-relationship-newly-aggressive-china-ours-quiet

    Trump rhetoric over social media appears to have done FA for Hong Kong
    so unfortunately has turned turned out to be no more than hollow gesturing , and inflammatory empty ‘ tweeting , possibly making the situation worse .

    inciting threats of sorts wouldn’t do much good either – NZ – likely to get nailed .

    China say ” killing the chicken to scare the monkey ‘

    well here’s a reply in kind from ‘ fortress Aotearoa

    let sleeping dogs lie for a while longer

    • Hemi: “….Jacinda can speak to China about any reservations she may have with them .”

      If we in NZ wish China not to interfere in this country’s internal affairs, the PM should keep her nose out of China’s internal affairs. Quid pro quo. Even assuming that she knew what’s going on there – which I very much doubt – she should refrain from commenting.

      “…Anne-Marie Brady’s position on independant trade from China…”

      I wonder if you’ve read her piece “Magic Weapons”. I have. And, like others who’ve read it, I found nothing in it that was exceptionable on China’s part. China seeks to have influence in other countries: so what’s new? All polities do that. I’ll take influence China-style over what the US does, any day, thanks. In my view, Brady should stay in academia, where she belongs.

      I was talking recently to a family member who lives in Australia; said family member is thoroughly brassed off with the Oz PM opening his mouth and inserting his hoof regarding China. I gather that many Australians feel the same. It’s played merry hell with their trade, as you’ll be aware.

      “Trump rhetoric over social media appears to have done FA for Hong Kong…”

      Trump has merely reiterated the Washington Establishment line. No doubt you’re aware of HK’s history as a British colony. It was never a democracy before the UK handed it back. But ever since, both the UK and the US have been stirring things up there.

      Note that Macau – formerly a Portuguese possession – was handed back to the PRC at about the same time as HK. Do we hear about pro-democracy agitation from Macau? We do not: the Portuguese packed up and left at handover. They didn’t hang around to make trouble, as have the UK and the US.

      Note further the US – and the West generally – reaction to recent events in Washington. So: storming Congress is an attempted coup, an insurrection. But when similar events happen in places like HK and other non-Western countries, it’s democracy in action? Hypocrisy: that’s what it is.

      • “No doubt you’re aware of HK’s history as a British colony. It was never a democracy before the UK handed it back.”

        Exactly. Under the Sino-British joint declaration, China promised to allow Hong Kong to keep its capitalist system and way of life for 50 years. Since democracy did not exist in Hong Kong prior to the handover, it does not seem fair to accuse China of violating the joint declaration for not allowing democracy in Hong Kong.

        Although not a democracy per se, Hong Kong consistently ranks among the top three on the Human Freedom Index, which measures every region’s level of personal, civil, and economic freedom. It is even higher placed than neighbouring democratic Taiwan and the world’s supposedly beacon of democracy (US). This achievement is not possible if China had constantly meddled with Hong Kong’s freedom over the years:

        https://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/2020-12/human-freedom-index-country-profile-2020s.pdf

        However, China’s recent national security law on Hong Kong may impact its future performance on the index. This is unfortunate, but a necessary measure to restore stability. The law curtails at least one aspect of freedom that some were seeking in Hong Kong often under the guise of democracy, which is the freedom from Chinese rule. Without it, there is no legal tool to enforce the “one country” part of the “one country, two systems” principle enshrined in the joint declaration.

        • Fumikin: “Hong Kong consistently ranks among the top three on the Human Freedom Index, which measures every region’s level of personal, civil, and economic freedom. It is even higher placed than neighbouring democratic Taiwan and the world’s supposedly beacon of democracy (US).”

          Exactly so. I’ve commented elsewhere that, thanks to the PRC, HK citizens have more democratic rights and freedoms now than they ever did when it was a British colony.

      • “No doubt you’re aware of HK’s history as a British colony. It was never a democracy before the UK handed it back.”

        Exactly. Under the Sino-British joint declaration, China promised to allow Hong Kong to keep its capitalist system and way of life for 50 years. Since democracy did not exist in Hong Kong prior to the handover, it does not seem fair to accuse China of violating the joint declaration for not allowing democracy in Hong Kong.

        Although not a democracy per se, Hong Kong consistently ranks among the top three on the Human Freedom Index, which measures every region’s level of personal, civil, and economic freedom. It is even higher placed than neighbouring democratic Taiwan and the world’s supposedly beacon of democracy (US). This achievement is not possible if China had constantly meddled with Hong Kong’s freedom over the years:

        https://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/2020-12/human-freedom-index-country-profile-2020s.pdf

        However, China’s recent national security law on Hong Kong may impact its future performance on the index. This is unfortunate, but a necessary measure to restore stability. The law curtails at least one aspect of freedom that some were seeking in Hong Kong often under the guise of democracy, which is the freedom from Chinese rule. Without it, there is no legal tool to enforce the “one country” part of the “one country, two systems” principle enshrined in the joint declaration.

    • D’Esterre human rights need to be spoken for and are of no less importance . the trade relationship NZ have with China gives an albeit ‘ meagre platform to be heard on about any concerns .

      but there is a time and place eg . –
      https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2020/07/jacinda-ardern-s-calling-out-of-china-over-uighur-muslims-shows-new-zealand-won-t-engage-in-master-servant-relationship-international-relations-expert.html

      i believe NZ’s position is already known in that it does not condone human rights abuse in China . this was achieved in part by the above – speaking out – but at the right times not all , the time .

      and so another comment i heard recently from Jacinda and this tweet from Nanaia i think is stretching it a bit

      hence a call for Anne-Marie / expert that can help govt . into knowing when not to speak out for the sake of ‘ speaking out – or otherwise virtue signalling

      that last sentence maybe somewhat cynical but not if things here go the way your family member has said .

      • Hemi: “….human rights need to be spoken for and are of no less importance.”

        I disagree, chiefly because in the first instance, what’s characterised as “human rights” is what the US and UK in particular tell the rest of us it is. Do those holier-than-thou American and British talking heads ever look behind their own borders, to see how they treat their own citizens? Nope.

        I know that there’s been an Islamist uprising in Xinjiang (which you’ll never hear about from the usual Western suspects): many Uighur men went to Syria to fight with various jihadist groups.

        I simply don’t believe anything that I hear out of the US or UK about China, and neither should anybody else: those polities have made an art form out of propaganda over pretty much all of my lifetime.

        Secondly, are we in NZ prepared to be lectured by other countries, including China, on our own human rights record? I suspect we’d see it as unwarranted interference in our internal affairs, and we’d be correct. So we ought to refrain from doing it to China.

        Thanks for the link you posted. I read it. Christ….it very neatly exemplifies the PM’s ignorance about Chinese history and politics. Or – put another way – the extent to which her worldview has been shaped by propaganda. And there’s no excuse for it in her case: unlike my generation, she’s grown up alongside the rise of that great debunker of myth and propaganda, the internet.

        As for Mahuta: I haven’t seen what she’s said on the topic, but since she hasn’t got the chops for that job, I doubt it’ll be anything useful. She’s more likely to damage than assist the NZ cause, in my view.

        And Patman: oh please, no! I remember him from my uni days. International relations expert: is that what he’s calling himself nowadays? Another who’d be better to stay in academia.

        This country wishes to trade with China and other countries. We should stick to that, and stay out of those countries’ internal affairs. And politely but firmly rebuff any attempts to lecture us.

      • Hemi: I’d add that all of the US and UK handwringing over what they claim are human rights abuses in Xinjiang is aimed at providing support for their “colour” revolution attempt in HK. And that attempt is aimed at undermining the PRC. As, of course, was their previous attempt, in Tiananmen Square, all those years ago

        As I noted above, we never hear pro-democracy agitation from Macau; the Portuguese had the nous to just leave. They haven’t hung around to make trouble for China. Unlike the the former British Empire and the US.

      • of course you’ll say the PM is ignorant about Chinese history and politics , D’Esterre when you dont believe the journalism / source , behind it

        but if you think you’re right , then there should be nothing to worry about .

  2. What if our right wing groups protested in Ponsonby because of some loss of our rights/democracy (eg mandatory lockdown/stay at home) and they started to burn down shops and universities. Wouldn’t our police forcibly arrest them. Therefore good on the HK police. HK will eventually become some cute tourist destination and all business will move to Shanghai. The Brits, Commonwealth and colonial administrators of HK will have return to UK. The protestors were only after a passport to a western country. The foolish UK capitulated. I bet the protestors wont go over to UK at present???

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