By Phuntsok Yangchen
New Zealand’s Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman displays Tibetan National Flag outside the Parliament. Norman was later assaulted by Chinese security personnel as he was making a stand against China’s human rights record in Tibet. 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 yesterday after the incident. (june 19, 2010 File Photo: Scoop.co.nz)
DHARAMSHALA, November 20: As Chinese President Xi Jinping mets with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key today, Green Party leader Dr Russel Norman called on Prime Minster Key to raise the issue of Tibet with Xi.
Speaking to 3 News, Dr Russel Norman, who was manhandled by Xi's security personnel during the latter's visit as Vice President in 2010, said that the Prime Minister John Key should bring up human rights situation in Tibet with President Xi. “We should use our freedom and our free speech to speak out for those who don't have the right to speak freely. Obviously in China if you speak freely, you go to jail,” said Green Party leader Norman.
Yesterday, members from the New Zealand Tibetan community met with Norman to discuss the current crisis in Tibet and the visit of Xi to New Zealand.
“If we want the world to move to a democratic direction, then we need to be a part of that and that means saying to President Xi, you are welcome here, great work n climate change, but beyond that we really do need China to democratize and improve its human rights,” added Norman.
In 2010, Norman raised a Tibetan national flag when Xi Jinping, then Chinese Vice-President, visited the New Zealand Parliament.
He further noted that over 130 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet protesting against China’s occupation of Tibet and its hard-line policies since 2009.
On November 15, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the G20 Summit in Brisbane, Australia. Hundreds of Tibetans carried out protests and unfurled a big banner that read, ‘China Fails Human Rights, G20: Unite for Tibet’.