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.