Chinese embarrassed by deal with New Zealand?
Chinese Dissidents Criticise Free Trade Agreement with 'Racist, Imperialist' New Zealand
Chinese dissidents are condemning the recent Free Trade Agreement between their country and New Zealand - and at least one senior figure within China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs seems to share their views.
Li Ho, a veteran spokesman for China's underground Real Socialism Party, has called the Free Trade Agreement a 'shameful sellout' which will blacken China's international reputation and help New Zealand's government divert attention away from its role in the oppression of indigenous peoples.
'China is a Third World country with a proud history of fighting and defeating imperialist invaders', Li pointed out. 'We fought the British in the nineteenth century, and in the twentieth century we fought the Japanese and the Americans. We inspired and assisted the struggles against white rule in South Africa, Rhodesia, Malaya, and Indonesia, at a time when the Western nations backed the racists. China has never supported an American or European war of aggression', Li pointed out. 'Now, though, we're jumping into bed with the government of a country that was founded on invasion and colonisation, and has a long and ongoing history of supporting Western imperialism'.
Li noted that the New Zealand state only established itself by destroying independent Maori nations in the Waikato, Parihaka, and the Ureweras in a series of nineteenth century wars. In the twentieth century, Maori faced many forms of institutional discrimination: in 1907 their traditional religion was outlawed, for decades their language was banned in schools, and until the 1960s they were forbidden to sit on juries when white people were being tried. New Zealand has also contributed troops to a long list of wars of neo-colonial aggression overseas. 'They fought against the peoples of Korea, Malaya, Borneo, and Vietnam', Li pointed out.
Today, New Zealand troops are part of the bloody and unpopular US-led occupation of Afghanistan, and play a leading role in the occupation of East Timor, Li noted.
At home, the Clark government has reinforced the legacy of the wars of the nineteenth century by 'launching new armed raids on the Tuhoe people' and 'quashing the rule of law and stripping rights to the seabed and foreshore from Maori', Li said. According to Li, New Zealand wants to 'use this agreement to boost its prestige in the Third World' by associating itself with 'the proud anti-imperialist record of China'.
Li was also worried about the role of Chinese companies in the Rugby World Cup scheduled to be held in New Zealand in 2011. 'The rugby balls used in this event will probably be manufactured in China', he said. 'Do we really want to give material support to an event that will be used by the New Zealand government to promote a false sense of national unity that disguises the ongoing oppression of a colonised people?' Li called on the Chinese people 'not to forget New Zealand's racist and imperialist history'.
Li Ho's opposition of the Free Trade Agreement has been echoed by Bin Dao, a senior bureaucrat in China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bin, a controversial figure who regularly represents China at glitzy international summits, says that he will not support the Free Trade Agreement because 'it compromises Chinese sovereignty' by allowing in cheap New Zealand products that could undermine the burgeoining dairy industry in northern Manchuria and Inner Mongolia. Critics are calling on Bin to resign over his remarks, which are widely seen to be unacceptably undiplomatc.
Food for thought?