New Zealand diplomats are having “ongoing” conversations with Chinese officials about visiting Xinjiang, where its alleged systematic abuse of the Uighur Muslim minority is occurring.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade chief executive Chris Seed, fronting a parliamentary select committee on Tuesday, said the terms under which such a visit would occur were being discussed.
His officials were also considering policy to respond to situations of forced labour, as reported to have occurred in Xinjiang.
The Uighur, a Muslim minority in Xinjiang, have been deemed a terror threat by Chinas government and more than a million have been placed in internment camps. The United States and Canada have labelled the abuse genocide, and the US has passed law allowing it to ban imports made with forced labour in Xinjiang.
Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images
Chris Seed says there are conversations be had about New Zealand staff visit Xinjiang.
READ MORE:* Chinese Ambassador to New Zealand defends Xinjiang ‘education’ after damning reports of rape, torture* NZs year in virtual spotlight begins* China should be ‘totally ashamed’: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison demands China take down Twitter post* Coronavirus: Winston Peters says Health Ministry wanted to close borders to Kiwis
“Factually it’s true that we don’t have legislation which specifically addresses the issue of forced labour, or which requires New Zealand companies in a legal sense meet certain obligations around assurance around supply chains, Seed said.
“There’s actually a draft plan of action that is actually, we’re pulling together, that will create for want of a better word industry standards …. That is a policy option that might be of interest to the government.
Seed said there were ongoing conversations about having New Zealand diplomatic staff visit Xinjiang.
“They are certainly willing to have our people go. They make much publicly of this, they’ve had diplomats from many countries go.
The US and Canada have labelled the abuse of the Uighur genocide.
We want to be very clear that if we visit, the basis on which we’d be able to make enquiries and meet our freedom of movement, and that sort of thing.
Seed said that while other parliaments were considering whether the abuse of Uighur constituted genocide Canadas parliament voted to label it as such this week any assessment by New Zealand would compare the reported abuse against the international definition of genocide.
He said genocide was taking place was a separate matter from whether there was matters of great concern occurring.
“We’ve been quite clear that there is a significant body of information, much of it in the public domain, including recently, that there are activities that go on in Xinjiang that don’t align with New Zealand values, that we would consider unacceptable.
“We talk frankly to the Chinese government about those, and to other countries.
Seed said he could not give a specific figure for the number of times New Zealand officials, including Government officials, had raised the reported abuse with Chinese counterparts.
He said the issue was raised once by the prime minister, once by the foreign minister, and at twice during meetings between foreign ministries.
“It’s a subject of discussion with the [Chinese] embassy here, and our mission in Beijing.”

You may also like