- Date published:
8:26 am, January 17th, 2020 - 51 comments
Categories: China, human rights, International, national, political parties, same old national, United Nations - Tags: Jian Yang, lang lin, Todd mcclay, yikon zhang
There has this week been the release of an interesting report by Freedom House, an independent US watchdog that provides reports on trends and changes in freedom and democracy throughout the world.
From Zane Small at Stuff:
National MP Todd McClay has been accused of “echoing” the Chinese government to “justify mass detentions” in Xinjiang, in a damning new report about China’s growing global influence.
McClay is criticised in the report for how he has characterised facilities in China’s Xinjiang region – often described as “detention camps” – where it’s understood millions of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are detained.
“New Zealand lawmaker Todd McClay recently referred to the forced indoctrination camps for Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as ‘vocational training centers,’ echoing the terminology used by the Chinese government and state media to justify the mass detentions.”
China says its ‘vocational training centres’ provide counter-terrorism training and psychological counselling for those affected by “extremist thoughts”, but former detainees have spoken of torture and brainwashing.
The new report, by US government-funded Freedom House, also mentions McClay’s attendance in December 2017 at a dialogue in Beijing organised by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s International Liaison Department.
McClay has denied the allegations and said that the report had linked two discrete events and that his full response which was referred to was that abuses of human rights are a concern wherever they occur and that if credible evidence of human rights abuses came to light, National would expect the Government to make representations to China through formal channels.
Talk about having a bob each way. Of course the forced imprisonment of a million people is vocational retraining but if it is proved that it is not then it is wrong? And how about the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination as a credible source?
McClay’s pro China stance has also attracted the attention of erstwhile National supporters. Michael Reddell posted in Newsroom how in his view National had “binned any sense of decency, integrity, or values when it comes to Chinese Communist Party-ruled China”.
He also said this:
A few months ago we had the egregious former Minister of Trade, and foreign affairs spokesperson, Todd McClay plumbing new depths. In an interview with Stuff, he championed the PRC regime interpretation of the mass internment of Uighurs in Xinjiang, noting that “the existence and purpose of vocational training centres is a domestic matter for the Chinese government.”
If he’d just kept quiet at least there might have been some doubt about his decency, but he opened his mouth and left no doubt. He was spinning for the CCP regime in Beijing.
Since then even the regime in Beijing has more or less admitted that, of course, that line isn’t true. But we’ve heard nothing more – and certainly no apology – from Mr McClay or his leaders.
McClay was also heavily involved in at least one donation from a Chinese Businessman to the National Party, that of Lang Lin who made the donation via the interestingly named Inner Mongolia Rider Horse Industry (NZ) Ltd and by using a locally incorporated company neatly sidestepped the restrictions of foreign funding of local political parties.
There is also the ongoing issue of Jian Yang whose links to the Chinese Communist Party are significant, whose last interview to mainstream local media was two years ago, and who is apparently a significant organiser of donations for the party. To be fair to Yang he has not really hidden his background. He was recently in Beijing for the Communist Party’s 70th anniversary as a special guest. He was travelling with Zhang Yikun, he who parceled up a $100,000 donation to the party into neat parcels that avoided the need for National to disclose his identity.
It is extraordinary that the National Party which has been so vehemently anti communist for so much of its existence should be so friendly and deferential to the Chinese Communist Party. It makes you wonder if this conversation where it is claimed that National President Peter Goodfellow remarked that the Chinese were more important than the farms, because they don’t complain and they pay up is actually true.