By Lincoln Tan
Labour's Chinese MP, Raymond Huo, is facing fierce criticism for defending Chinese rule over Tibet on a Labour Party website.
New Zealand’s Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman displays Tibetan National Flag during his one-man protest outside the Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand, Friday, June 18, 2010. Norman was later assaulted by Chinese security personnel as he was making a stand against China’s human rights record in Tibet as Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping arrived at the parliament for a meeting with officials. “The mistreatment of Norman on the grounds of Parliament by Chinese security personnel shows how important it is to stand up for democracy and human rights,” the Green Party said after the incident. (Photo: Scoop.co.nz)
Criticising Green Party co-leader Russel Norman's Tibetan flag protest in front of visiting Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping, Mr Huo wrote: "What Westerners do not know, or do not want to know ... is what level of cruelty the theocratic serfdom under the Dalai Lama had to offer."
(Read: Why I Was Attacked By Chinese Security Guards - Dr Russel Norman
Mr Huo has come under strong criticism for his blog, which appears on Labour's Red Alert website. Two days after the posting, the blog had received more than 70 responses.
"Reading this has made me feel sick to my stomach," wrote Velvetine.
Sprout said: "To think I spent all those years supporting Labour. I can't believe this post appears under the Labour banner."
A Facebook user also gave Mr Huo a mock "community co puckered lips" award.
A set of puckered lips was placed over Mr Huo's image on the Facebook site with the following citation: "Awarded to Raymond Huo for making Labour just that little more red for his defence of the indefensible.
CCID: 36498 | adwidth=300
For kissing Chinese ass."
Mr Huo said an exhibition in New Lynn last year displayed Tibetan lamaism worship instruments made from human body parts, a flute made from human leg-bone and serfs' eyes gouged out for punishment.
"The problem Dr Norman has ... is that he wanted to teach the visiting Chinese leader a lesson but without understanding the history of the region," the MP said.
"It is true that for too long many Kiwis were exposed to only one side of the story."
Mr Huo said if New Zealand was "an open court", then New Zealanders should "hear what other party or parties have to say on this issue".
Chinese troops entered Tibet in 1950, a move Beijing said was to "liberate" it from feudal rule. A failed uprising against Chinese rule resulted in many Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, fleeing into exile.
David Farrar said on Kiwiblog: "I am surprised Raymond is not calling for [the Dalai Lama] to be prosecuted in the International Court of Justice ... it is extraordinary to see a New Zealand MP repeat such propaganda."
Mr Huo said his blog was not meant to support China or to put down the Dalai Lama, but rather to "open up discussion" on the issue.
"My job as an MP is to promote harmony and understanding, but based on these nasty and unreasonable comments, you find how ignorant sometimes people are," he said.
"What I have done is no more than call for people to listen to both sides of the story."
Thuten Kesang, spokesman for the local Tibetan community, said it was "regrettable" a New Zealand MP was "promoting communist China propaganda" on his party's website.
He said Tibetans would make a formal complaint to Labour Party leader Phil Goff.