New Zealand should be challenging Chinese propaganda


The line “Anyone who offends China, no matter how remote, must be exterminated” might sound like something from a movie or a computer game. Except that it is not. It is a line from a Chinese propaganda film that has been made with New Zealand Government assistance.

It is not an acceptable use of taxpayer money to be funding Chinese propaganda films. Whilst the Chinese Government did not directly make the film, a state owned company called Bona was responsible for its production. The film qualified for N.Z.$243,000 in a rebate on theĀ  $1.2 million spent in New Zealand making it.

Propaganda is not necessarily accurate as Xinhua News Agency would have found out recently. A few days ago it broadcast that New Zealand was softening up on its official stance relating to the telecommunications 5G upgrade that is meant to be happening. Not so, as the New Zealand Secret Intelligence Service came out strongly and said nothing had changed.

Huawei, a company suspected to have Chinese Government influence and a significant supplier of cellphone technology in New Zealand – I have a Huawei device myself, had been in line to install a 5G network here. Since concerns over whether telecommunications giant Huawei’s potential to compromise the New Zealand telecommunications system popped up, a hard line has been taken against the Chinese company, which was black listed by the Australian and United States Governments.

When pro-democracy protests broke out in Hong Kong five months ago, pro-Beijing Chinese students in Auckland tore down posters. When they escalated in August pro-China students angrily confronted Hong Kong Chinese over their support for the protesters. “Traitors”, “anti-Chinese”, “rioters”, among other allegations were hurled. Considerably more serious was a physical confrontation where a Hong Kong student was pushed to the ground. The Chinese Government Consul General in Auckland congratulated the pro-Beijing students for their strong response. It also attacked New Zealand media for showing bias and portraying China in a negative light.

I and several others responded to criticism published by way of a letter to the Editor of The Press of the Hong Kong protests by pointing out that Beijing’s version of “the law”, where arbitrary detention, unfair trials and executions, are the norm, were hardly fair. No counter reply was received, but I do not imagine our allegations went down well.

And then there is Xinjiang, a Chinese province near Tibet, which has been virtually locked down because its large Muslim population are accusing Beijing of grave human rights abuses. Camps with the consistency of gulags are alleged to have been set up. Amnesty International has been documenting abuses that have gone on there. Massive numbers of Uighur Muslims have been detained arbitrarily, and allegations of torture, slave labour and other activities that are contrary to universal human rights have been logged. China denies everything and says that it is a western beat up – which fails to explain why one person who has lost a relative in a round-up says nothing inflammable can be brought in Xinjiang, the internet is down.

So, if this is not Chinese propaganda, why are they so antsy about western journalists going to have a look? Why are pro-Beijing students resorting to knocking people over?