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Chinese security attack MP

Written By: - Date published: 1:22 pm, June 18th, 2010 - 162 comments
Categories: greens, International - Tags: , ,

Stuff reports:

Green MP Russel Norman had a Tibetan flag torn from his hands by a member of Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping’s entourage when he arrived at Parliament today.

Dr Norman said he believed it was one of the vice president’s security guards.

Arriving in a convoy of around six vehicles with a police escort, the guards initially tried to shield the flag with their bodies and umbrellas before it was torn from Dr Norman’s hand with a member of the vice president’s entourage standing on it as the VIP was rushed through the front entrance of Parliament.

“I think it’s pretty outrageous that Chinese security can come to our country and push around an elected Member of Parliament simply because you’re standing up for democracy and freedom in our own country on our own parliamentary grounds,” Dr Norman said afterwards.

“I mean, the Chinese security guards, they elbowed me out of the way, they put an umbrella over the top of me and they took the flag out of my hands and trampled on it.”

With some blood on his hand following the scuffle, Dr Norman said he had never experienced such treatment on Parliament’s grounds, he said. …

Our Government needs to make a formal protest to China over this incident.

Update: 3 News video here. Parliament’s Speaker is to investigate the incident.

Update: TVNZ footage has much more detail. And from Newstalk ZB:

Political editor Barry Soper, who witnessed the scene, said the security contingent was very rough with Mr Norman and described the incident as ‘quite extraordinary’.

‘Chinese security and there are very large numbers of them roughed (Mr Norman) up in a way that I’ve never seen a member of Parliament treated,’ he said.

Update: John Key says “it is too early to say if the Chinese government should apologise”. Norman has laid an assuault complaint with police.

162 comments on “Chinese security attack MP ”

  1. Croc 1

    Key won’t care.

    Why would he jeopardize closer relations with China and the probable appointment of Xi Jinping as China’s next president. Norman is worthless compared to those big dollar signs.

  2. Jimbo 2

    Democracy is as democracy does.

    • Bob Stanforth 2.1

      Exactly, they should have parked a bus in front of him, much more democratic 🙂

      • Bright Red 2.1.1

        ah. The ‘two wrongs make a right’ plus ‘misdirection’ play. innovative defence, Bob.

        just come out and say you support thugs doing whatever they like in the name of trade and capitalism

        • Bob Stanforth

          LMAO, right, because I dont immediately leap to the support of Russel Norman and his right to protest, I’m a supporter of thugs. Isnt that assumption on your behalf almost as bad as removing Russel Normans right to protest? A la George Bush, that great defender of all things freedom, if you aint for us your agin us?

          So, does that also mean I cant hold a contrarian viewpoint, or point out that left and right wing governments of the last 15 years have BOTH sought strong trade relations with China? Or that when Pete Hodgson manhandled a protester in 2008, he was wrong as well? Yes, AS WELL.

          Can I do any of this without fear that you will resort to calling me a supporter of thugs? Don’t tell me, let me guess, Im a climate sceptic / fruitloop / gay hater as well? Nice strength of argument. What next, rocks?

          Gain some grip. Did you, pray tell me, please, become as affronted when Pete Hodgson did the same in 2008? Really?

          • Bright Red

            Yup. i was affronted by Hodgson’s behaviour.

            Now do you want to talk about what happened today or are you still going to try to misdirect because you slavishly believe that trade with China is more important than our democracy and our sovereign rights?

            notice you’re very quick to bring up trade as if China’s dictators attacking our MPs in our Parliament is jsut aprt of the price we pay for being able to sell them more milk and wood.

            • Bob Stanforth

              Nice to see you were affronted – did you post anything about it? Just asking is all 🙂

              Happy to discuss todays events, particularly when the facts become clear, rather than the emotive crap the media is running at the moment. (The same media that has been pilloried on here for the last few weeks, I would point out). If a finger has been laid on the fearless Green Leader, then an investigation towards assault charges should indeed commence, of that there is no doubt.

              Its interesting, again, to note your language. How is it that you can make such a huge leap to my support of China from not (in your words) slavishly condemning ‘China’s dictators’? I do not support the lack of freedom the individual has (or does not have) in China, but I also know that one of the very best ways to bring about sustained and valuable change is through establishing meaningful relationships, be it trade or arts, sports, whatever.

              So, instead of spouting your tired slogans and names at me, maybe think of the bigger picture. I am a slave to no man, nor any ideology, and I do not fear someone who has an alternate opinion, nor, as in this case, am I afraid to temper my criticism of the current PM with the fact that an MP of the last Government did (potentially) exactly the same as some Chinese guard did today. Lets see what the PM has to say before we condemn.

              And just for a moment, consider, which might be worse – one of our duly elected representatives or a Chinese guard, both laying hands on (not assaulting, never and not yet proven, in the aforementioned cases) people legitimately protesting.

              Try and have a discussion without filling it with mindless slogans, it might be fun 🙂

              • Bright Red

                “And just for a moment, consider, which might be worse one of our duly elected representatives or a Chinese guard, both laying hands on (not assaulting, never and not yet proven, in the aforementioned cases) people legitimately protesting.”

                It’s not a matter of which is worse.

                I’m really puzzled by your bizarre attempt to downplay and distract from this

                • Bob Stanforth

                  Thats because Im not downplaying or distracting – Im also not buying in to your shouting of slogans that are meaningless and silly. Im starting a grown up discussion / debate about this, and comparing with the actions of others, to try and find common ground, or expose frailty.

                  But you dont seem prepared for such discourse, so feel free to shout another slogan at me and ignore me 🙂

                  • r0b

                    and comparing with the actions of others, to try and find common ground, or expose frailty

                    Say Bob, as long as we’re making irrelevant historical comparisons, make sure you include Gerry Brownlee assaulting a pensioner in your sample.

                    • Bob Stanforth

                      Thats funny, I thought Gerry liked them younger than that, but Ive been wrong before 🙂

                    • Bright Red

                      “Thats funny, I thought Gerry liked them younger than that”

                      Bob. That wasn’t assault. The whalerider was a consenting participant. 😉

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Bob, the comparisons are different things. If a citizen is assaulted by an MP from his own country, there are a number of things that can be done, with plenty of time to do them in. And it is an entirely domestic affair.

                    Not so today.

        • Mac1

          Bright Red, I don’t think your irony detector is switched on.

          Bob S’s comment ironically links the assault on Norman with the way an earlier pro-Tibet demonstration for a visiting Chinese delegation was masked with a bus. Neither was democratic and that is what I understood Bob to be saying. The further irony is that the bus parking was authorised by a supposedly democratic government.

          Bob is not of the left but is certainly not a fruitloop RWNJ either. He engaged with me in a respectful and considered way on another topic. He deserves the same.

          Anti-spam word ‘identify’ – freaky.

          • Bob Stanforth

            Why thank you Mac1, thats appreciated – and my politics might actually surprise you, but they are my own 😉

            AS word: assumptions. How prescient 🙂

            • Puddleglum

              “I also know that one of the very best ways to bring about sustained and valuable change is through establishing meaningful relationships, be it trade or arts, sports, whatever.”

              Hi Bob, how do you know this?

              • Bob Stanforth

                Because when countries and people start talking, trading, sharing and mingling, they stop fighting, abusing and change happens to all concerned, sometimes slowly admittedly, but change happens – just as it is in China today.

                • Lew

                  On these grounds we should simply permit them to do as they please?

                  Pull the other one, chap.


                  • Bob Stanforth

                    And I said that where Lew?

                    What is it with people, whatever happened to not making assumptions about someone based on a statement – instead of making huge leaps and assumptions, why not ask a question about what I have actually said? In fact, I have in this thread noted I don’t support the lack of freedoms the people in China suffer under.

                    Nowhere have I said I support – please correct me if Im wrong. Its called debate, not just flaccid spouting of slogans or making moralistic judgments because you don’t agree with what someone says.

                    And I refuse to pull the other one, got Shane Jones nowhere 🙂

                    AS word: none. Pertaining to the absence of, such as ‘there were none who would debate, only those prepared to nay-say’. That kinda thing 😉

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      But you are not debating, Bob, you’re just playing ‘verbose thread’, and doing so rather poorly I might add.

                      Take if you will, and by way of example, your claim to knowledge that “one of the very best ways to bring about sustained and valuable change is through establishing meaningful relationships, be it trade or arts, sports, whatever.’

                      This may be an interesting hypothesis, it may even be true. But so what? For even if it is true, then what of the other ‘ways’ of achieving same, implicit within the formulation? Shall we just disregard them? You give no reason why we should, and yet complain most tiresomely when people query as to why such a disregarding of other methods, (methods more fitting to our own national psyche, heritage and political norms) should be the preferred course of action. Why sir, It is to laugh! You seek only to bamboozle!

                      If you have the knowledge you claim, then justify it. The trifling restatement of the original postulate that you produced when asked for justification can never suffice. A cads trick. But the question can only arise as to why the trick? I have my suspicions of course, your protestations notwithstanding. The underlying nature of the discourse, verbose and tiresome as you like it, cannot fully hide the actual lack of semantic work being done, if you like. Which is to say my mom got scared and said “You’re moving with your auntie and you uncle in Bel-Air”. I whistled for a cab and when it came near, the license plate said fresh and it had dice in the mirror. If anything I could say that this cab was rare, but I thought, “Nah, forget it. Yo, holmes to Bel-Air!”. I pulled up to the house about seven or eight and I yelled to the cabbie, “Yo holmes smell ya later!”. Looked at my kingdom I was finally there, to sit on my throne as the prince of Bel-Air.

                    • Puddleglum

                      PB, you beat me to it and did it with penache!

                      If I’d tried the same humour no-one would’ve noticed as my – very long – middle name is ‘Blah, blah, blah …’! I’ll use this as a vicarious prod and try to work on being snappier.

                • Puddleglum

                  I don’t think it’s that simple Bob. “Talking, trading, sharing and mingling” happen in very many forms, not all of them leading to your happy endpoint – and it’s not just a matter of speed of (positive) change. Trading, for example, is often pursued by a dominant power over a subordinate one (e.g., the US with client states in South and Central America, China in Africa, Britain with its past colonies, etc.) and there is very little prospect that world peace will eventuate as a consequence. In fact, the exploitation of resources and favourable trade conditions that typically result from such ‘exchanges’ help to provide the ability for the dominant power to resist (positive) change.

                  Conversely, positive change is often brought about by less direct ‘mingling’. It is often argued, for example, that denial of entry to world bodies or their services (IMF, World Bank, EU, etc.) ‘pressure’ countries into (positive) change. Similarly, trade sanctions are often defended as appropriate means of making regimes ‘see sense’. Personally, I think that different cases suggest different means to making positive change so I’d have to see as remarkably simplistic, even ideological, some blanket notion that “the very best” way of making sustainable (positive) change is through some unspecified notion of “mingling”.

                  Sanctions have been or are used against: apartheid South Africa; Cuba; Iran; North Korea; Fiji; Zimbabwe; etc. I agree with some of these and disagree with others. You almost commit yourself to disagreeing with sanctions in all cases. Don’t you?

        • Daveosaurus

          Actually, the “parking a bus” incident was done by the same party that was supposedly on watch when today’s incident occurred, so it’s not really a case of the two wrongs cancelling each other out or anything like that.

          I’m not familiar with the Hodgson incident mentioned elsewhere, but some years earlier he was involved in another incident; the major difference between that one and today’s is that, instead of just passively holding a flag, it is my understanding that Hodgson intervened to prevent a protester assaulting a third party.

  3. That is a shocker.

    • Jim Nald 3.1

      It’s breathtakingly outrageous.
      We respect their laws and norms when we are there; equally and in turn, they respect ours when they are here. That includes respecting our way of legal and peaceful protest.

  4. exbrethren 4

    Watch the Nats kowtow over this and every issue re China.

  5. Bright Red 5

    just wait for the righties to say

    a) Norman had it coming

    b) there’s nothing wrong with what the Chinese did

    I think I prefered them when they were nationalists. Now they’ll sell out anything for money.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Well, some of the RWNJs sell out our country for money but most of them do so because their Authority Figures (the ones selling out our country for money) tell them to.

  6. freedom 6

    Key will do nothing but the media will just stand there and piss themselves knowing they have a real story with international content, but won’t know what to do as telling the truth and demanding responses from our Leader will only jeopardise their positions at the trough

  7. Jim Nald 7

    Will the Key Administration have the balls to provide an appropriate response to this?

    • SHG 7.1

      It’d better. Norman is an elected representative of the people of New Zealand exercising the rights of a New Zealand citizen.

      This is not an incident for Key to be relaxed about.

      • JJ 7.1.1

        I believe that he is not an elected representative. He is a list MP.

        • Daveosaurus

          “He is a list MP.”

          … And as such was elected by the 150,000 or so who voted for the Green Party list. So he is an elected representative.

        • A post with me in it

          Nice attempt at a smearish jibe JJ.

          Even if you held you hidden premise to be due in part or whole (i.e. that list MPs are not elected because the people did not choose the list order etc) this would NEVER apply to the leader of a party.

          All voters know that the leader(s) of the party are at the top of the party list. If a person party voting is not voting for the leader, who ARE they voting for??

          So I would suggest that you smearish stain should be wiped and deposited in the appropriate place and flushed.

          China is as china does. The fact that successive government have been butt licking then for decades does not change the fact. In China Norman would have been arrested, manhandled and deported as has happened to reporters/protestors/etc over the decades.

          At least he was not run over by a tank or shot I guess.

  8. Our Government needs to make a formal protest to China over this incident.

    Nope. They should arrest those responsible and try them for assault. If they have diplomatic immunity, then they should be declared persona non grata and deported.

    The Chinese suppressing freedom of speech is bad enough in their own country. They can’t be allowed to do it here, in the very heart of our democracy.

    • uke 8.1

      “They should arrest those responsible and try them for assault. If they have diplomatic immunity, then they should be declared persona non grata and deported.”

      Ouch – but yes.

      • Tigger 8.1.1

        In fact they MUST arrest them, or try to arrest them. Anything less means we’re second class in our own country..

    • Mac1 8.2

      Agreed I/S.
      Is this another case for Lockwood-Smith as Speaker since the assault occurred on Parliament grounds?

      He would probably rule that visiting dignitaries from China should have to park on the street and walk, like certain TV crews.

      But seriously, a statement from parliament’s speaker, the one who stands for all MPs’ rights would carry a lot of diplomatic clout.

      • Bright Red 8.2.1

        stuff says Lockwood is investigating. He takes Parliament’s rights very seriously too.

        • Cnr Joe

          He does. This should prove interesting as he may set the bar for Key to vault over or limbo under..

          • Jim Nald

            Goodness. You are ambitiously aspirational about him setting the bar and that high. If he does set the bar, some of us would be relentlessly positive that it will be so high that Key can have just enough room to wriggle under.

  9. The Voice of Reason 9

    I imagine the Chinese had seen the footage of TVNZ and TV3 chasing Chris Carter and assumed this sort of behaviour is ok in NZ’s parliament. Still, it could have been much, much worse. Imagine if it was an Israeli polly visiting and Norman turned up with a Palestinian flag.

  10. Anthony C 10

    Even though the Chinese security agent was in the wrong, politically it seems like more of a bad look for Norman for getting into that situation in the first place.

    • Bright Red 10.1


      • Lew 10.1.1

        He must be referring to how Norman looks in China. Because here in a democracy, peacefully exercising his right to free expression in a public place, he was subjected to an attack by a senior offical from a foreign country, and there’s a word for that.


      • Anthony C 10.1.2

        I think it’s one of the weird NZ psyche things…. for plenty of “regular joes” scuffling in a protest isn’t a good look for a MP or party leader. We all know it’s crap and all but I suppose it’s all about perception, and it’s the same negative perception that hung around Sue for far too long in parliament, even though she was an immensely capable and passionate MP probably one of the best we’ve had.

        I don’t know that things like this matter for people like us, but probably does for a party trying to gather more mainstream support.

        • colonel rabuka

          i agree with you, anthony.

          i like the greens alot. my party vote consistently goes to the greens and will at the next election.

          however, i don’t think this is a good look for russel norman. russel shouldn’t be on the front lines of this type of action. it’s naive and damages the political credibility of the party.

          i think this incident rubs against the aspirations of a party that is aiming for 10% of the party vote.

          captcha: manuals. this action is not out of the leader manuals

        • SHG

          I think it’s one of the weird NZ psyche things . for plenty of “regular joes’ scuffling in a protest isn’t a good look for a MP or party leader

          I disagree. I think we’re a pretty egalitarian country, all things considered, and I personally consider MPs and Party Leaders to be my equals. I think the reason the expense-claim issue has caused so much consternation is because it shows certain politicians acting as if they are Better Than Us. And I have no problem whatsoever with Norman scuffling in a protest, or Helen sitting in the crowd at a Gallipoli dawn service with no fuss, or with JK being snapped drinking beer at a barbecue. It’s politicians being treated like quasi-royalty that gives me the shits.

          • felix

            This ^^

          • Anthony C

            SHG, I think you may have missed my point. The difference is that Key at the BBQ and Helen at Anzac day are (generally orchestrated) actions that play to normal people because that’s stuff that normal people do and it’s obviously worked on you to mention it, scuffling at a demo generally isn’t a normal person thing, especially for reserved Kiwis.

            Also Russel Norman just doesn’t have anywhere near the likeability of Key and Helen, I would say if anything he tends towards the unlikeable, so can’t risk looking like a twit.

    • freedom 10.2

      “politically it seems like more of a bad look for Norman for getting into that situation in the first place”

      how exactly? in case you are unaware, we still have a few scraps of free speech left in this country

      What MP Russel Norman did is jump on one of the rare opportunities that the Free Tibet message might possibly be seen by a ‘dignitary’ of the stature of Vice-President Xi Jinping and i applaud him for having the strength of conviction to do so.

      there should follow assault charges on the chinese involved and immediate deportation if diplomatic immunity is pulled. neither of which will of course occur. key will just get on his knees and pucker

  11. gobsmacked 11

    Anybody heard from the Free Speech Coalition?

    What time is the march?

  12. Lew 12

    All of what I/S said.

    And just to add, that security guard is for the chop once he gets home anyway, because he’s done more for the Free Tibet cause in this country in one minute than Keith Locke has done in a lifetime. And Keith Locke’s done quite a lot.

    It ain’t quite the Rainbow Warrior, but this is the sort of symbolic springboard a protest movement lives for.


  13. vidiot 13

    “With some blood on his hand following the scuffle, Dr Norman said he had never experienced such treatment on Parliament’s grounds, he said. ”

    Perhaps he should pick a fight with Tau then ?

  14. john 14

    The Nact Government won’t make a protest to the Chinese Government because it toadies up for trade reasons and behaves as a vassal state towards the US and Japan on the Whaling issue for trade and security reasons.They also have sold us out on the neo-liberal privatization agenda, the failed economic political ideology imported from the failed state of the USA. The USA is a privatized corporatised shell that cannot control its own destiny as shown by the catastrophe of the Gulf of Mexico’s destruction by uncontrollable oil flow which proper government safety imposed standards might have prevented. They sold out to the Corporations and look how it’s paid them back. All their good jobs have been exported to China so share holders can cash in more dividends from profit from low dirt cheap wages, while American workers are on food stamps and Wall Street makes huge profits from a revolving door with the White House. This Government is selling New Zealand pride and self respect and sovereignty to the highest bidder. The Chinese communist government is infamous for the invasion of Tibet, Tianamen Square and the cruel persecution of the Falong Gong spiritual movement(Easily equivalent to to the persecution of Christians in ancient Rome). The National Party which subverted the democratic system here in NZ by standing down in Epsom to allow the extreme right ring Act party to win and then pretended it couldn’t effectively govern without implementing this Act party’s extreme anti-public agenda-all a massive con! The Chinese must be told this is not Tianamen Square keep your hands off legitimate democratic protest!

  15. ghostwhowalksnz 15

    Russell should have a Tibetan flag made into a suit jacket, by a chinese tailor of course . I think it would get many wearings, maybe in parliaments debating chamber as well.

  16. zimmer 16

    commies bashing commies, i like it.
    $ more imp than RN.

    • Bright Red 16.1

      $ more important than free speech, eh zimmer?

      And neither of Chinese or Norman are communists

    • john 16.2

      The Green Party is not Communist. The Communist system is a failure as is the privatization neo-liberal system practised by the Nact Government.The difference is that most people are not aware of the massive failure and bankruptsy of the second which is continued nevertheless as a self serving system for the rich of Aotearoa.

      • Jim Nald 16.2.1

        … that could more specifically be rephrased as the ‘rich elites, and their cronies, of Aotearoa’.

      • axeman 16.2.2

        No the trouble with the hopeless and hapless Greens is they claim to be green because they’re too yellow to admit that they’re red.

  17. kriswgtn 17

    Just wait until the Chinese demand the Dalai Lama’ be detained on his next visit
    This isnt on

    This IS not a Chinese outpost ,This is NZ and you obey OUR laws or pay the price
    The guard must be sent home and an apology made

    Dont and wont see this happen as Nacts will make sure it lands on The Greens
    (they sorta deserve it for selling out)

    It is assault and I dare Russell to make a police complaint

    hahahhaha Doubt that as well

  18. tsmithfield 18

    Firstly, I think Norman has probably done the Tibetan cause a lot of good because this incident will attract a lot of attention internationally. To that extent, the Chinese have scored an own goal.

    On the other hand, though, I don’t agree with MP’s doing this sort of thing in their capacity as MPs. As MP’s I think they need to be careful about their behaviour and how it may reflect on the NZ parliament generally. If they want to protest on any issue, then IMO they should do it as a public citizen, rather than as an MP. If this had been the case here, Norman would have had to protest in the designated areas for protestors/supporters.

    In this situation, the Chinese security people may not have realised that Norman was a politician and have thought he was someone who had infiltrated the security net and as such was a threat.

    Despite what I have just said though, I am still pleased that this incident will bring the world attention to the Tibetan situation as I do deplore China’s behaviour with respect to Tibet.

    • Bright Red 18.1

      “If they want to protest on any issue, then IMO they should do it as a public citizen, rather than as an MP.”

      How do you tell the difference? Does the mysterious Green Co-leader take off his MP cape and tights becoming mild-mannered citizen Russel Norman?

      You’re just trying to find some way to attack Norman.

      • tsmithfield 18.1.1

        No. I would have said the same thing about Arden and the tractor incident.

        Its a case of not abusing the position of being an MP for protesting about personal beliefs. In this case, Norman got into a position to protest he never could have unless he was an MP. In the same way Arden probably would not have made it onto the steps of parliament unless he had been an MP.

        • Lew

          Ardern committed an offence by driving his tractor up the steps (though the charges were dropped). What offence did Norman commit?


    • Lew 18.2

      Surely that would be a matter for a party leader or whips to decide?

      The PM has no authority to govern MPs outside his own caucus. Parliament (the Speaker) has — and should have — no authority to govern MPs’ behavious outside the Cabinet Manual and other such regulations. You’re not seriously suggesting that he be given the authority to arbitrarily rule out the statement and demonstration of certain views, are you?

      I mean, I know you’re a righty and one with authoritarian tendencies, but surely even you can see the chilling implications of such a course of action.


      • tsmithfield 18.2.1

        No problem with him protesting. But within the agreed security parameters for protesters. In this case, he has probably sprung a surprise on both the Chinese and also our own security people. It is possible to conceive of situations where this sort of behaviour could result in a much more serious reaction from security people than what has occurred here if the security people misinterpret the situation as a security threat because it appears the agreed security parameters have been breached.

        • Lew

          See my reply to Name below regarding the security matter. Simply put: security is a concern for the host government, not the visitors. If the shoe had been on the other foot, the likely result wouldn’t be an investigation by the Speaker.


    • freedom 18.3

      ts, so you don’t agree that an elected representative of a democracy should support free speech?

      • tsmithfield 18.3.1

        Thats not what I have said at all. I have said it is fine for him to protest, but within the security parameters that have been agreed for this purpose, the same as everyone else. But in his role as an MP he has a responsibility to respect the security measures that are taken to protect him and others. Conceivably, in this situation other people could have been hurt due to Normans actions.
        He has acted as a loose cannon here IMO.

        Having said that, I do agree with his point of view on Tibet, admire his courage to stand up in this way, and applaud any positive outcomes that arise for the Tibetan people as a result.

        • freedom

          If you look at the footage (from the link posted below) it is plainly visible that Norman is off to one side and in no way attempted to impede the arrival of the delegation.

          If you must find a point to criticize then at a stretch you might say his vocal protest was possibly unbecoming of an MP on Parliament grounds, but that is one hell of a stretch.

          He simply and rightly exercised a democratic freedom. The right to express an opinion.

  19. Bright Red 19

    Check out the tv3 footage http://www.scoop.co.nz/multimedia/tv/politics/37530.html and Norman speaks very well about the principles at stake

  20. Roflcopter 20

    He shouldn’t have been standing where he wasn’t supposed to be.

    • john 20.1

      The democracy protesters of Tiananmen Square should not have been standing where they stood.Should Russell have been treated the same way?

      • Roflcopter 20.1.1

        Yes, running him over would have been icing on the cake.

        • Bright Red

          the likes of Roflcopter have cheered on a hundred authoritarian coups. It’s all right they think, because they think they are on the side of the bullies, so they don’t need to worry about attacks on rights.

          • Roflcopter

            Where did I say anything about his rights? He had a right to protest as loud as he wanted.

            What showed him to be the pillock he is, is that he thought it was OK to use his position of importance to be unduly situated where no other protester would have allowed to have been… in the security corridor from the car to the door.

            • felix

              Hahahaha! Priceless!

              “Speak freely over there where no-one can see or hear you”. That’s how they do it in China, dickhead.

              God forbid the very important dictators should see or hear any dissent.

    • toad 20.2

      WTF? If an MP isn’t allowed to stand outside Parliament, who the hell is?

  21. Name 21

    I doubt the ‘security guard’ or whatever he was recognised that Norman was a Member of Parliament, which makes his comment about Chinese security coming “to our country and push around an elected Member of Parliament simply because you’re standing up for democracy and freedom in our own country on our own parliamentary grounds,” absolute rubbish. However members of the Chinese delegation have no more right that anyone else to push anyone around and action should be taken accordingly.

    I’ve no doubt this will embarrass the Chinese, and will embarrass the New Zealand government and diplomatic corps for embarrassing the Chinese as the Chinese feel embarrassment far more deeply than we do.

    But Norman was way out of line. As an MP he has far more responsibilities than the average member of the public to consider the effect of his actions on New Zealand. If he is going to claim, as he did, that he was there “as an elected Member of Parliament” the Chinese are now quite entitled to believe, and claim, that his views on Tibet are regarded as legitimate by the Parliament which represents New Zealanders as a whole – ie it is an official view – rather than Norman’s personal beliefs.

    This childish immaturity displayed by so many Green MPs is the reason it lost my constituency and Party vote several elections ago.

    • Croc 21.1

      But Norman was way out of line. As an MP he has far more responsibilities than the average member of the public to consider the effect of his actions on New Zealand. If he is going to claim, as he did, that he was there “as an elected Member of Parliament’ the Chinese are now quite entitled to believe, and claim, that his views on Tibet are regarded as legitimate by the Parliament which represents New Zealanders as a whole ie it is an official view rather than Norman’s personal beliefs.

      Bullshit. He represents the people who elected him, ie Green Party supporters who would most likely support his actions. The Chinese can believe what they like, RN did what the people who voted for him would have expected him to do.

    • Lew 21.2

      The views are regarded as legitimate by the Parliament. Parliament recognises the rights of MPs to express whatever lawful views they and their constituents hold.

      If a government member had been waving a flag, you’d have a point. But the fact that one MP representing a minor opposition party holds a view is no reflection on the government, and the implication that any one MP can reasonably give the impression of New Zealand as a whole is absurd. Only a political and diplomatic neophyte would think such a thing, and the Chinese are anything but. They know this isn’t a one-party state

      From a Chinese perspective, you could argue that this does cast the NZ government in a poor light for failing to run a smooth operation in which the VP and his entourage were not confronted by any views with which they might disagree — but that’s democracy. It ain’t always smooth. The Chinese get that — and considerably more — in virtually every democratic country they visit (and it’s part of the reason they think of us as barbarians). But I’d rather be thought a barbarian than be a confirmed authoritarian.

      As for the security guard — he was taking the piss, and relying on our squishy liberal goodwill. If a member of any such delegation — especially an armed member of the security detail — manhandled a senior Chinese official on the steps of the Great Hall of the People during such an important occasion as this, the response would be swift and overwhelmingly brutal. All I’m requesting of our government is that it be swift and firm.


    • kriswgtn 21.3

      I doubt the ‘security guard’ or whatever he was recognised that Norman was a Member of Parliament, which makes his comment about Chinese security coming “to our country and push around an elected Member of Parliament simply because you’re standing up for democracy and freedom in our own country on our own parliamentary grounds,

      Errr He isnt in his country or on Chinese soil and has NO right to do what he did.
      Its Assault plain and simple.

  22. mcflock 22

    let’s see:

    JK will try to avoid taking any action and maybe bargain a bit lower on the trade agreement to placate an affronted Chinese govt, but he won’t really care about the effect on NZ that’ll have;

    The Chinese will jump up & down but not really give a crap, other than appearing affronted at the next negotiation round (see above);

    Smith *might* declare the Chinese guy png, but by that time he’ll have left the country anyway. And he looked strong for the Chinese media, so that’s cool for him (what do they care about – the opinions of a billion citizens or the opinions of a few million liberals sprinkled across the West/North?);

    Russell Norman has banked a bit more in the Greens’ “ooo we’re really hip activists and not sell-outs at all” credibility account, so has probably boosted their vote and can probably afford to wuss out on another environmental or social issue;

    and nothing substantial has been achieved for Tibet – claiming a cut on the hand as Chinese oppression is like whining that somebody stood on your toe while spectating at a boxing match. These guys videotape bulk executions.

    • felix 22.1

      (what do they care about the opinions of a billion citizens or the opinions of a few million liberals sprinkled across the West/North?)

      Um, neither?

      • McFlock 22.1.1

        ha – fair call. Although every dictatorship looks to it’s local popularity, if being substantially smaller and more select than in a democracy. The magna carta being a case in point.

  23. tc 23

    To me it shows up a few things:
    Norman’s judgement isn’t as good as it should be for a co-leader ……like standing in Mt Abert etc
    China can do what it likes, where it likes as it’s well on the way to running the worlds manufacturing.
    Key’s lot will cower in the corner and beg forgiveness from our honoured chinese guests and offer their backs as doormats.

    Geez I remember when we had bollocks and stood up to bullying behaviour from other countries….seems so long ago now.

    • Akldnut 23.1

      Yep we kicked out the Russians, and American nuclear boats.
      Morally we used to do the right thing and feel prod of our Govt because we couldn’t be pushed around or forced to do anything we didn’t want to do.

      Oh…. the good old days!

  24. gobsmacked 24

    Newstalk ZB reports:

    Political editor Barry Soper, who witnessed the scene, said the security contingent was very rough with Mr Norman and described the incident as “quite extraordinary”.

    “Chinese security – and there are very large numbers of them – roughed (Mr Norman) up in a way that I’ve never seen a member of Parliament treated,” he said.

    For those who say it’s “not a good look”, if Soper’s view is shared by the rest of the media, it sounds like John Key is the one who needs to worry about looks. He can’t just pretend this didn’t happen.

  25. freedom 25

    and of course the PM won’t be available to comment as he is winging it to south Africa with his son to watch the footy.
    off topic, but…Who pays for his son’s flight, hotel and sundry expenses by the way?

    • Fisiani 25.1

      Reported last week that John Key is personally picking up the tab for all his son’s expenses of course. Did you really not know that are are you just in training for JK smear fail #46?

      • freedom 25.1.1

        it was an honest inquiry. i had not seen the reported cover and had sumised he would say all expenses were personally covered. As for falling victim to a JK smear, unlikely. How can one smear one such annointed?

  26. vto 26

    Norman should have decked the prick

    • felix 26.1

      From twitter: “Sue Bradford wouldn’t have taken any shit off a few nancy boy security guards”

  27. Cactus Kate 27

    Yep, of course it’s ok for Russel Norman to shove the security guard out of the way and berate him for the crime of standing in front of him?
    Security guards have a job of getting between their subjects and protestors. Norman knows that and deliberately pushed in front of him to get a reaction.

    There is a difference between NZ and China in this regard. If Norman was in China he’d be getting beaten in jail right now. He can be thankful he’s in NZ for that.

    • gobsmacked 27.1

      Where were you standing when this happened, Kate? Did you have a better view than Barry Soper, so you could bring us this eye-witness account?

    • kriswgtn 27.2

      There is a difference between NZ and China in this regard. If Norman was in China he’d be getting beaten in jail right now. He can be thankful he’s in NZ for that.

      For how long>>?

      The Chinese Govt obviously influence Nact 🙂 especially in NACTS policy area 🙂

      Wait until our right to protest gets taken away.It isnt that far off IMO

      • Bob Stanforth 27.2.1

        “Wait until our right to protest gets taken away.It isnt that far off IMO”

        Based on what?

    • Bright Red 27.3

      Cactus just loves the idea of state power being used against people she thinks are scum… of course, she’s a libertarian, but all libertarians are authoritarian feudalists at heart.

    • toad 27.4

      If Norman was in China he’d be getting beaten in jail right now.

      He probably would be. And you condone that, CK?

    • Bored 27.5

      So true Cactus, thats the beauty of living in a democracy. So nice too that the tanks dont run you over first or your body organs get used to pay the penalty.

  28. Zaphod Beeblebrox 28

    This guy could be deputy PM or a senior member of the government when the Maori Party/Greens/Labour get the majority vote. Could be interesting when they ask to buy more dairy farms.

  29. Tigger 29

    Key says it was a ‘sad’ incident. What was ‘sad’ about it John? It wasn’t sad, it was inappropriate.

    • vto 29.1

      Sad? Sad? ha ha, how on earth does Key manage to find ‘sad’ a description for that?

      Bloody hell, what’s sad is Key’s description of it as sad.

      • Jim Nald 29.1.1

        Might he be trying to generate the headline like: “Sad Key attempts a feeble response” ?

    • felix 29.2

      Key isn’t very littrit. He pretty much has to describe things using an even more simplified version of the Donnie Darko “fear – love” scale.

      • Armchair Critic 29.2.1

        Key isn’t very littrit.
        I felt so reassured when he said we have freedom of rights in NZ, though.

  30. Seti 30

    When I first heard this on the radio I was outraged that anyone, let alone a sitting MP, had been assaulted by the Chinese security contingent. However watching TVNZ’s footage there has barely been an incident, let alone an assault. If anything Norman shoved the Chinese goon who stood in front of him before the VP even turned up.

    Suppose this was Obama arriving at parliament, and the Secret Service detail had been assured those inside the outer security cordon had been vetted as accredited media and parliamentarians. Then as the President’s limo pulls up an excited individual approaches within a few feet of Obama as he alights from the vehicle, frantically waving a flag and shouting some slogan. What would happen?

    • felix 30.1

      Wrong question. The correct one to ask is “What should happen?”

      And the answer is the same, regardless of the nationality of the visitor or the cause of the protester.

      • Seti 30.1.1

        Should = idealism
        Would = realism

        • felix

          So you’re quite happy for the Chinese govt, the American govt, and presumably any other govt to make their own rules on our soil?

        • Puddleglum

          Should = why we have balls
          Would = why we make use of them

    • Craig Glen Eden 30.2

      Norman had a right to be there waving a flag, the guard had no right to touch Norman or obstruct him in any way or take Normans property.

      The Chinese Officials personal safety was never at risk so your example is a nonsense. Personally I have no time for Norman but he has a right to protest and that guard should be arrested and deported.

  31. butnahyeahnah 31

    I think he was out of line with his protest – out of line enough to negate his right to peaceful protest when he decided to do it ‘within the security dome’ rather than over off camera with the thirty opposing pro china ?promoters? were.
    Though I certainly don’t agree with ‘video taped mass executions’, I think the free Tibet movement takes an overtly simplistic view of things China and is almost suspect of alphabet soup involvement.
    Those poor security guards man, will the Dr. be happy enough if they are punished as far as they can be? What ever happened to – You’re a Rep of the Peps Man, we pay you to arrange meetings with everybody else, why chuck out the rules and decorum and start shouting because we have a very important guest?
    If it was the Americans he would have been roughed up a lot worse, we’ve all watched COPS.
    Quite funny I was very close to voting Green, this has really made question that.
    Captcha:- avoiding 🙂

  32. Fred 32

    I just watched the clip on the TV3 website. I don’t support China in Tibet, but my feeling on seeing Russel Norman MP waving his flag on front of the Chinese delegation was this:

    What a complete prat

    • felix 32.1

      So what? Prat is about the nicest word I’ve ever had to say about Norman.

      What does that have to do with the assault?

      • Seti 32.1.1

        The assault? The more I see it the more I’m convinced nothing happened, unless grabbing his flag consitutes assault.

        Nothing to see here, move along.

        • felix

          I’m guessing you don’t know what assault means then.

          That aside, what do you think about “grabbing his flag”?

          Acceptable? If so, why? (note: “cos he’s a prat” doesn’t count)

          • Seti

            Explain what assault means then, with a view to it being worthy of a prosecution.

            He was about three feet from the Chinese Vice President. I expect anyone acting belligerently so close to a visiting state leader is going to be sanctioned, although our own constabulary should’ve metered it out. If snatching his flag was the only penalty he suffered then he can consider himself fortunate.

  33. Seti 33

    Its like talking to my cat.

    Nothing happened, aside from the DPS abdicating their responsibilities.

    • Pascal's bookie 33.1

      You reckon the DPS should have shot a member of the Chinese VP’s security detail? Big call.

    • felix 33.2

      Your cat probably thinks you’re a bit slow then.

      What would you think if instead of a foreign security force and a member of parliament it were You and I?

      What if I grabbed your flag off of you, shoved an umbrella in your face, and gave you a bit of a push to get you out of the way? And all you were doing was waving a flag and calling out “Free Sandwiches Now” (or “acting belligerently” as you might say).

      Still acceptable or not? Also, can you give some “why” and “why not” data in your answers please? So far you haven’t really explained your position except to say you don’t like Norman.

      • nehnehneh 33.2.1

        What a ginga looser.

        Give me back my flag give me back my flag wah wah wah ……. phone Chris Carter for a group hug.

  34. Sanctuary 34

    Speaking of the Mohini case, New Zealand is supposed to be opposed to the death penalty. Clearly, continuing to prosecute this case in China will see a death sentence passed in the case of a guilty verdict. If the Chinese refuse to extradite this man to proper juristiction for his trial – New Zealand – then if we are truly opposed to the death penalty we should withdraw all cooperation with Chinese authorities on the matter of this case.

    Effectively, to my mind Mr. Mohini’s killer should go free rather than see NZ complicit in the judicial murder of another person. And the people to blame for allowing a killer to walk free are the Chinese authorities who refuse to extradite this man to New Zealand.

    If he cannot be extradicted then to do anything else than drop charges would make our opposition to the death penalty a hollow joke.

  35. Rharn 35

    Key’s comment that “it is too early to say if the Chinese government should apologise’ defies belief. It truly is one of the most shameful utterances that has emerged from the mouth of our Prime Minister since he took office. This is not only a fellow New Zealander who was assaulted but one of Keys colleagues and a leader of political party as well.
    As Russell has laid a complaint with the police over this incident and the fact that the Chinese delegation is leaving New Zealand tomorrow Key’s response can only be interpreted as a message to the Police. DO NOTHING.

    It does not take a rocket scientist to understand how the international community will interpret Key’s response and confirm how far this country has sunk in respect to the standing that we once had in international affairs.

  36. felix 36

    I’m finding it amusing that these idiots screamed and wailed for years about Clark the dictator, Clark the commie, Clark the oppressor of our freedomz…

    Yet when confronted by an ACTUAL COMMIE DICTATOR who appears to be quite keen on ACTUALLY oppressing our freedomz, they’re suddenly quite keen on it.

    Funny old world, innit?

  37. odysseus 37

    Just been watching the Russians at the 900 day siege of Leningrad on Prime tv ; then turned to Russell wanting his flag back. Kinda puts it into perspective.

    • felix 37.1

      Perspective, scale, call it what you like. It’s still either ok or it’s not.

      • odysseus 37.1.1

        Or nothin’ much at all

        • Marty G

          you seem to think that because Norman wasn’t seriously hurt it’s OK.

          That’s not how rights work. Would it be ok if I punched you in the back in the street as long as you weren’t seriously hurt? What about if I took your bag and threw it away?

          That would be cool with you eh?

          Assault is assault, there’s no severity test .”The force may be the merest touch”

          And it’s more than that. This is an elected representative of our country on the grounds of our parliament being assaulted by the security guards of a foreigner.

  38. M 38

    It seems rather minor to be turned into such a big deal

    We stopped nuclear ships to make a stand against ‘mutual destruction insurance’

    now: a tiny scratch & shove and we yell preserving democracy’ and ‘human rights’


    what a small world.

    we say ‘bully’ but if you were 300 times the size of somthing… i just hope you haven’t ever stood on any ants before.

    And i also find it odd that an MP, by himself, comes along with a a in-your-face protest.
    seems a bit attention seeking to me. but thats not a crime

    • felix 38.1

      now: a tiny scratch & shove and we yell preserving democracy’ and ‘human rights’


      Umm, that’s because it’s ok to say you support authoritarian govt.

      And it’s ok to say you approve of foreign security forces shutting down dissent.

      But you can’t do that and support democratic freedom. Your choice.

  39. McFlock 39

    somewhat intrigued, based on watching the footage on TV1 night news:
    Tactically, the NZ DPS guy seemed to be operating on the priority of separating Norman from chinese security.

    Everybody was amped up, including after the fact shot of (DPS guy?) saying “I thought I was protecting you from them” to Norman (ISTR from TV1) – personally Key/Smith/DPS should have extended safe area much farther away so Norman’s protest was tactically negligible, and a bit of comms between NZ DPS and chinese security would have calmed everybody down. I stand by my statement that it won’t affect a damned thing other than to reassure hippies that the Greens haven’t sold out (Ha!).

    • felix 39.1

      “I stand by my statement that it won’t affect a damned thing other than to reassure hippies that the Greens haven’t sold out (Ha!).”

      I reckon that’s probably (at least in part) his cunning plan. I have my doubts as to whether it’ll work for him though – he kinda looked like a giant douche to me, despite my sympathy toward the views he was expressing.

      It’s possible that I might be a bit more cynical than the average green supporter though.

  40. really 40

    Russel Norman took thousands of Labour voters into the Green fold today. Ka pai Russel.

  41. May be the point is:
    It’s not so much what you do that is the most important, but how you do it.
    Norman has every right to protest – but getting in another individuals face & invading their personal space is inviting a reaction.
    Especially so if that person happens to be a security guard, detailed to physically protect their VIP.
    Norman wanted a reaction – and he got one. May be not the one he originally wanted, may be an even better one than even he could have anticipated.
    Staged theatrics!

  42. May be the point is:
    It’s not so much what you do that is the most important, but how you do it.
    Norman has every right to protest but getting in another individuals face & invading their personal space is inviting a reaction.
    Especially so if that person happens to be a security guard, detailed to physically protect their VIP.
    Norman wanted a reaction and he got one. May be not the one he originally wanted, may be an even better one than even he could have anticipated.
    Staged theatrics!

  43. kriswgtn 43

    Now i wonder who coerced the filth to not lay charges???


    Come to NZ rough up people== nothing will be done as insufficient evidence

    what a disgrace and a joke

  44. Oh Dear 44

    Norman was acting like a prize pillock. He’s an embarrassment to this country. Leaders of political parties should act with more dignity. Standing within a metre of a world leader and chanting and shouting slogans in order to provoke an incident is the sort of thing I would expect from university students, not political leaders. Norman’s lucky he got away with a grazed hand.

    What the hell were the nz police doing allowing Norman to get so close to the chinese leader.

    • felix 44.1

      Remember when you used to complain about Clark being an oppressive commie dictator?

      What’s changed to make you switch sides and stick up for the, um, oppressive commie dictators?

  45. Bill 45

    Did he actually and cynically mean it when he said he was standing up for democracy and freedom in this country?

    I’d like to think so, but suspect he was just indulging in the tired old freedom and democracy for Tibet bullshit.

    Which really needs to be challenged. What movement for democracy in Tibet is he talking about? Is there one?

    And whose freedoms is he concerned about? The nasty fucks who ran the fiefdom that was Tibet…ie the monks and the llamas? Or the peasants who are much, much better off under the fucked up occupation of the Chinese than they were under the rule of the monasteries?

    Many a protester has been biffed or roughed up for far better thought out and meaningful protests than Normans wee stunt, be they foreign business owners and shareholders using our cops to rough us up or foreigners hiring private security to spy on us and/or rough us up.

    Don’t remember ever hearing a squeak about those things though. Oh well, it’s not as though people are knee jerking over the old Chinese bogey man again or anything, is it?

  46. freedom 46

    Bill, you are either doing a deliberate wind up becuase your own life is so incredibly sad and unfulfilled, or you are a complete copralite.

    either way, your moronic statements above only highlight how ignorance is a very debilitating disease and is rampant in New Zealand. What part of freedom to express an opinion do you have trouble with? You obviously relish the opportunity to express yours and even though ( i hope and pray) most find your neanderthal leanings somewhat annoying you do make some interesting points about corporate sponsored attacks on democracy. All well and good, but it has nothing to do with the event of this discussion.

    A foreign official’s entourage exercised their political strong arm tactics on our parliamentary grounds. This is just wrong no matter how you look at it and if it were reversed the repercussions would be enormous for all concerned.

    On a personal note i find your comments about the Monks of Tibet to be incredibly offensive and utterly devoid of fact, relevance and sadly without a shred of basic karmic awareness.

    • Bill 46.1

      Freedom, How much karmic awareness do you think the copralite of a Neandethal could contain? And do you think the Dahli Llama might have first hand knowledge on that front given that he’s a persistently recurring wee shit…by the admission of his own myth… who supports a primitive and brutal expression of human society that he longs to preside over a resurrected version of?

      Meanwhile, why you take comments about the erstwhile bad bastard elites of Tibet personally is your business I guess and of no concern to me.

      Here’s that informative link on Tibet…again. Read it.


      edit. Wonder if those bombs dropping all over Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere come with a ‘please’ and a ‘thank-you’. Must do. ‘We’ are so civilised and respectful of human rights after all.

  47. Malcolm 47

    ‘basic karmic awareness”!


    • Bill 47.1

      Something that very old shits don’t have. Apparently. If I read young ‘Freedom’ correctly.

      Must have something to do with the drying process or something.

      • freedom 47.1.1

        lol, see freedom of speech has its rewards

        i agree that basically things are stuffed and even those groups which have had promise eventually screw it all up.

        and btw, i may not quite be over the hill but i can see it from here

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