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Guy Trafford wonders how we will retain our independence when our largest trading partner is also asserting its power and is insulted with even the most circumspect disagreement. Trade may be an early casualty

Guy Trafford wonders how we will retain our independence when our largest trading partner is also asserting its power and is insulted with even the most circumspect disagreement. Trade may be an early casualty

The recent events concerning Hong Kong highlight the risks of dealing with authoritarian states, that is, China. Most trading partners, including New Zealand have managed to distance themselves from Beijing's excesses regarding human rights.

There is hardly a country anywhere that does not have some ‘weakness’ when it comes to issues of human rights for minorities or dissidents. Even New Zealand has been criticised by the UN and the list is quite long: Gay rights, gender issues, housing, and even historical treatment of children. Just google “New Zealand has been criticised by the UN” and it is surprising to see what comes up.

While it does appear a little rich to target some of these issues at New Zealand when so many other more life threatening concerns are occurring elsewhere in the world it does make those concerned with diplomacy a little hesitant to point at other countries performances. That is of course unless you are Donald Trump or to a lesser degree Scott Morrison who both seem to believe they live in a blameless society and are free to poke at other nations performances. Human rights aside the Chinese administration has done a lot to lift the standard of living of most of its population, Uighur, Tibet and Falun Gong aside.

However, with the current imposing of harsh security laws on the Hong Kong residents who dare to express their feelings at the breaking of the “one country two systems” framework that was agreed to 23 years ago and meant to run for decades (certainly more than two), China has really rubbed the Wests’ collective noses in it.

Condemnation of Beijing’s actions has been universal from Europe, North America, India and Australasia to name some.

Deputy PM Winston Peters was relatively circumspect in his criticism of China’s actions but even that brought a quick rebuke, telling New Zealand to butt out.

Before this latest action from Beijing there was a disturbing amount of media discussion about what it would take to trigger a war between China and the USA and at that point it was the US actions that looked to be the trigger point. China had managed (human rights in the outback aside) to regain some sort of moral superiority over the US, mainly due to Trumps sabre rattling over international trade and ineptitude over handling the Covid-19 outbreak. Beijing’s latest suppression of human rights is targeted at what at least, used to be, a close friend and ally of most western countries, certainly New Zealand and so the response from Western countries is going to be interesting to follow.

China needs the West just as much if not more than what the West needs China. New Zealand, being the largest of exporter of food products to China is right at the forefront of any debate of what or how a joint West response should be.

China is highly unlikely to back down from what it has put into law. Beijing cannot afford to be seen as showing any weakness otherwise other groups within China will try and gain some leverage from the situation to improve their lot, which presumably weakens Beijing or at least that is how Beijing would see it appearing.

New Zealand exporters should be concerned at the current state, if the international situation remains in a stalemate we may see nothing at all happen and China will feel they are able to conduct themselves however they want within their borders.

However, if the US, particularly with Trump at the helm and leading into their elections, may feel they need to push the point. This is a likely outcome as Trump is falling behind in the polls and needs something to drag in some nationalistic spirit and take voters eyes off his domestic performance and regain the USA’s "rightful" place in the world. Given the peace that we have come to take for granted it is hard to imagine the two largest powers going to arms against each other and so I don’t even want to contemplate that occurrence.

What is more likely to happen is pressure for New Zealand to become part of a trade block against China. At the moment we have managed (mostly) to avoid being dragged into the verbal conflict.

The US is in the process of bringing in penalties against banks doing business with Chinese officials and back in May threatened to remove Hong Kong ‘special trade status’ with the US. This will mean imposing tariffs such as have been imposed upon mainland China and will also restrict much of the capital trading currently conducted in Hong Kong. The odds of this being implemented is now pretty high.

The UK have said they are prepared to open their borders to Hong Kong citizens, up to 3 million, and Australia is “actively considering” a similar proposal. Hong Kong residents are welcoming the life boat offer while Beijing has warned of taking “corresponding measures”. Hong Kong lawyers have reminded China that they are free to chose to take up UK residency. However, they were never given a choice about joining China, that was imposed upon them.

It needs to be noted that not all nations are in agreement with the West, with Cuba on behalf of 53 non -aligned countries supporting the Chinese move saying at the 44th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council: "Non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign states is an essential principle enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.”… "We believe every country has the right to safeguard its national security through legislation, and commend relevant steps taken for this purpose."

The difference with Hong Kong is what parties had agreed to 23 years ago and Beijing has ridden right over this agreement. To date the UN has been fairly muted over Beijing’s role in Hong Kong although last year they were scathing over the human rights persecutions and mass arbitrary detentions and related violations against Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

Australia have already felt the backlash of getting on the wrong side of China. New Zealand politicians will likely soon have to decide where we sit in the world.

We normally follow the lead of the UN and this approach tends to keep us out of the direct firing line. Whether this approach will work in this case, who knows. But I suspect some sort of stand will need to be taken soon.

New Zealand could survive without China and China could survive without New Zealand but if the West en-mass decide to boycott China in would mean an over supply of food products among other things in the rest of the world and a demise in cheap products coming out of China in return. This would result in a major removal of cream from the cake we currently enjoy and this time the farming sector would receive the hit first and foremost.

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Bold of you to assume we have independence to begin with

Rule of thumb -- mind your own business.

If NZ would like to join the US to "criticise" China on her DOMESTIC issues, please do your own homework to investigate what is ACTUALLY going on in China. I am sure there are tonnes to praise about as well.

If NZ criticise Chinese's domestic issues or foreign policies based the news material circulating and self-referencing only within the UK, US, Canada, and the AUS unconditionally, I would say it would a super unwise move for NZ.

Also, if NZ criticise China while mute herself on the issues of the same nature or worse regarding the US or other western nations, that would be a clear double-standard that is fiercely hated by all Chinese people.

I am sure NZ's buffer to any economic shock is dramatically less than that of Canada and AUS's.


Non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign states is an essential principle enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

China should lead the way and stop interfering in other countries' domestic issues, as well as their territory. Perhaps China could start by recalling Jian Yang.

At the same time, criticising ethnic cleansing and invasions of other territories is different to interfering in domestic issues. Since the Nuremberg trials and Geneva Convention certain human rights outrank state's rights to do whatever they please with human fodder. In addition, respecting international law regarding the Spratley Islands would be a good way for China to show leadership in ceasing interfering in other countries' domestic affairs and territories.

In short, stop being massive hypocrites and people might take these whines seriously.

'Since the Nuremberg trials and Geneva Convention certain human rights outrank state's rights to do whatever they please with human fodder.

Exactly. Sovereign rights to govern one's own nation is not an excuse to commit human rights abuses / crimes. The latter overrides the former.

The reality is that China has no allies, western of otherwise, specially when it comes to its neighbors they do not have the best opinion about the communist dictatorship.


No one is allowed to "investigate" in China. Journalists get thrown out for not parroting the CCP mantra

Those chinese who speak out to the positive are never seen again.

Therefore, they never existed...


Sounds like the types of views Germany took in the 1930's - don't worry everyone its only Poland...we'll leave everyone else alone! Honest...

i thought its Britain who taken HK from China, start with selling opium. who's Germany, who's poland?

In my very humble opinion, NZ needs to tread very very carefully in this matter. Peters did the right thing in voicing our disagreement with the HK situation however xing does have a point - (actually two points) 1: This is an internal affair of China's and should be left up to China to resolve. The protests in HK have turned increasingly violent and it could be argued the protests have at times bordered on riots. 2: We certainly cannot afford as a country to get caught in any trade wars - especially one stirred up by the US for partisan reasons.
If the UK and Aus want to offer asylum to HK citizens that's their affair.
Remember the the saying " when elephants battle the grass gets trampled" guess who the grass is?


The HK affair is NOT just an internal affair.

Whadya mean it's not internal?? HK is a integral part of China. It certainly isn't an independent state. I would also add that we didn't hear too many ructions over the Russian annexation of Crimea in Ukraine which IS an independent state. When people speak of hypocrisy they should also look at Western (read US/UK et al) responses elsewhere in the world. Anyone here remember Rwanda? Zimbabwe?


So the one country, two systems agreement that China entered into has no bearing here? They are breaking this agreement. Hypocrisy certainly abounds everywhere, but if only the states with a perfect record (which would be nobody) can take a stand against present injustice, where does that leave the world?

QD let's remember that agreement had a finite term anyway, it was never permanent. I think the conversation should revolve around what form "taking a stand" actually entails. I certainly wouldn't advocate bankrupting NZ to "virtue signal". We have enough to deal with as it is. Remember too that China pulled our chestnuts out of the fire in '08/'10. We'll definitely need them again this time around.

So your point is, that it doesn't really matter very much when a term is broken before it even reaches the midpoint, since it was finite and due to end in the future anyway? Great logic. It seems you just don't want to deal with the question and will simply bend your reasoning here, in ways that you would not for other aspects of your life. I was wondering where xingmowang gets that one consistent upvote from.

QD my point is.. I care more about NZ's economic recovery and our exporters ( and the NZ jobs contained therein) than I do about HK's issues. Whether HK continues in it's previous state or is forced to accept a somewhat early reversion to CCP rule honestly doesn't bother me. As far as I'm concerned preservation of NZ's way of life is far more important than HK's internal democratic issues.

Holy cow


“Peace in our time.”
Neville Chamberlain in his 30 September 1938 speech concerning the Munich Agreement and the subsequent Anglo-German Declaration...

What HK is for sure is yet another post-colonial UK mess like many others.

Exactly b21 and for the entire time of British rule the local population were treated quite poorly.

What a ridiculously 'on-message' thing to say. When the UK were forced to hand Hong Kong back to China (end of lease) it was one of the wealthiest 3 countries in Asia, lifted from abject poverty a couple of generations earlier. Any 'mess' is entirely of China's making.


You live in New Zealand and benefit from the lifestyle here, yet you continue your pro-China propaganda. New Zealand can continue trading with China yet not be silenced about the atrocious ruling system there.

Interesting insight though is India vs China but today applies to world.


World is realizing as China stands exposed

That is a typical one sided news the US would like to you see only.

The matter of facts that Modi has admitted that all Indian soldiers were dead on the Chinese territory and no a single inch of Indian territory was transpassed.

If any other countries soldiers invade China, they would be first warned and then eliminated if not backing off.

I'd say that is absolutely Chinese soldiers divine duty to protect China from invasion.

So, marvellous job.

This is not about one Country but most countries in the world.

However hard you may try but world has realized and.......


0.4 bn Anglo-Saxon population does not equal to the whole world, mate.

You know that there are 7 bn people living on earth right?

China is in war in one form or others with most countries. So I too agree that is with most countries of the world.

China is in war in one form or others with most countries.

Did you get this info from Mr Pompeo?

China is the largest trading partner for more than 140 countries out of 200 in the world.

Do you really believe what you are talking about?

Trading yes (May be more than 140 countries) in good faith but now exposed of real agenda. No country should tolerate bully even if have to reset economy as a result may have short term pain but will be long term gain.

Am sorry but now trusting China is ........

You have got to be joking xing. If you want to be taken seriously, try not to talk about "divine rights/duty",the border has been a flash point for years. If China wants to be recognised as a world leader it must realise the world is predominantly a democracy, and conduct it's affairs accordingly

China-India border has been clearly laid out after the war in 1962.

There is no border dispute otherwise Modi would not make the claim that all Indian soldiers died on Chinese soil.

What about other neighbours :

Not to forget Tibet that is bleeding for freedom. Luckily Taiwan managed to push you off and never ever will you be able to get your hand on Taiwan or any other land or sea.


Claiming to be divine is usually a precursor to committing atrocities

Yep, WWII Wehrmacht soldiers wore "Gott mit Uns" (God with us) on their belt buckles.

Foyle, it's a well known fact every armed force thinks God is with them and they have the Righteous Duty to perform as they do. The Wehrmacht did indeed have "Gott mit Uns" on their belts - the Crusaders had a cross on everything they wore and rode into battle following cross emblazoned flags. Plenty of atrocities committed then too.

Agree mind your own business but see what China is doing :


Xing - fair point and China should lead by example - not carrying out cyber attacks would be a start. The issue I see is that China is making itself a Global Pariah state by actions that irrespective of if they are legal are unacceptable and whilst other states may refrain from criticism or tariffs or other retaliation their population may choose to avoid China and its products. This would be a great shame as I believe China has a lot to offer with its culture and hard working people and cooperating and being fair with it neighbours and trading partners will make the world a more prosperous and happy place. I accept that these same comments can be applied to other countries and my message to them is the same.

If you read history, China is the ONLY superpower reaching the current stage WITHOUT invading any other countries.

That is called peaceful rise.

I think China is ready leading by example -- an much much better example than the US.

Just count how many countries have been bombed by the US since 1950s.

The islands in the South china sea are not chinese. The 9 dash line is a joke. china invaded other countries territory and not peacefully, and how about Tibet?

A quick google search.
Invasion Of Manchukuo in 1945. ...
Invasion Of Tibet in 1950. ...
Invasion Of South and North Korea in 1950. ...
Invasion Of India In 1962. ...
Invasion Of The Soviet Union In 1969. ...
Invasion Of Vietnam In 1979.
Although these can be debated - eg the conflict in 1969 had China attacking what was fairly clearly a island belonging to China but the common feature is the use of force.

Hmmm - no reply from the CCP AI chat bot.....

In short China is rouge state. Full stop. Run by a dictater who will fall like other dictators have in past and i future.

Hmm, a ROUGE state, perhaps with a little eyeliner, or a ROGUE state with perhaps too much testosterone in these troubled times?

Rogue with a rouge tinge?

I am sure it would be much more super wise to read the Chinese state controlled media to know what is going on on the largest dictatorship in the world.

Do they get to maintain access to international commodity markets?
Is food humanitarian trade, at the commodity level?

NZ is in a v precarious position.
Its exports pay for its imports and China takes lion share of exports
As a democracy, NZ cannot or should not be quiet when a trading partner is wiping out a semi-independent colony's freedoms. What do we have to trade with, diplomatically or power wise? Very little.
NZ is a long way from anywhere and without tourism has only Arabian product and logs to pay for its imports.
The situation could rapidly become one we saw pre 2008, with consequences for living standards people have become a little too accustomed to perhaps.

Ha ha, 'Arabian product'...I'm sure you mean 'Agrarian'!!!
But in all seriousness yes, with 29% of our exports to China, a boycott would whack our economy.
And China undoubtedly knows this as it's playing it's dangerous game.
There are big value calls coming.

If China did go totally to the negative with us and Australia where else would they get our dairy products and Australia's minerals. Would we see Fonterra pull out of China ? Could we knock on the doors of the USA and UK and ask to take more of our products.
It looks like to me that things are going to change as China has outstretched its superpower arm with India and Hong Kong.

LT let me fill you in on a couple truths. China is far from reliant on NZ's dairy products - it likes them but could quite easily survive without them. China currently has the largest indoor housed farm complexes in the world supplied with feed from Russia. The same goes for our meat exports to China. Both categories could easily be filled by Brazil. The same goes for Australia's minerals. You could also add our log exports which are currently being displaced by Europe. Fonterra's exploits in China (it's much lauded China Hub Farms) have been a dismal failure. The sooner NZ commentators realise or accept we (NZ) are totally reliant on China the sooner we get to modify our petulant squawking. Good luck with the US or UK taking more of our produce - they (their own farmers) don't want it

'modify our petulant squawking'.... Wow. Just how low would you like us to bow down to your chinese masters?

We could put things in perspective and realise China is enduring, along with many other nations war like imposts executed by the US and her allies which would bring New Zealand to it's knees. Thankfully, China's retaliation in this form is not yet evident here.

Here, I shall only focus on Trump’s actions as they concern Russia and China. In an attempt to stem the accelerating exsanguination of the American empire, Trump declared a total war on Russia and China that has thus far involved: propaganda and psychological warfare, sanctions, threats, assassinations, mass arrests of Russian and Chinese citizens, sabotage, theft of diplomatic property, bombing Russia’s allies, commandeering of commercial assets and wealth, tariffs, support for coloured revolutions, McCarthyite witch hunts, an offensive against the Russian Orthodox Church and its allies, abrogation of all important international treaties regulating the deployment and monitoring of nuclear weapons, moving nuclear-capable missile bases close to Russian border, using India, Japan, Vietnam et al. as tools against China, weaponizing fascist fiefdoms in Eastern Europe and giving the Ukrainian zhidobandera (Judaeo-banderite) regime hundreds of millions of pounds of military aid, provoking China and Russia with large-scale military exercises and all kinds of military brinkmanship, trade war, weaponizing Hindu nationalism against China, approving extra funding for anti-Russian activities, expanding NATO, boosting Israel’s right-wing regime, strangling Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba and almost provoking a war with Iran. Oh, fresh off the press—moving 10000 soldiers and dozens of aircraft from Germany to Poland. Did I miss anything? Link

Well I guess that pretty much sums it up. US is about as dysfunctional as you could possibly get. The sooner the world divorces itself from the US the better. Unfortunately who do we replace them with?. I think the world is about to undergo a significant reset.. from US driven BS to probably Asian (China) BS. We live in interesting times and are going to see the beginnings of a reset. Thankfully I won't be around to see the results

You have the absolutely right sense that I seldom see from anyone here.

What you described is called "百年未有之大变局"(the significant change in global order not seen for a century) by President Xi.

There will be ongoing fractions between China and the US for the next decade but the world will be a better place once the change is settled.

your children and grandchildren will benefit hugely from it.

Hahaha.. I have no children and therefore no grandchildren. There will be no great benefit.. we just swap one dysfunction for another, same S..t different day. NZ will trade being dictated to by the US for being dictated to by China. There will be no great gain but there WILL be some pain. As for the world being a better place.. I very much doubt it

QD, when a little pipsqueak country (NZ) starts making noises it'll get squashed. I am NZ born and bred but I watch our continued reliance on China and see it as a liability. I don't agree with it.. it just is. Now NZ's fortunes are so intertwined with Asia in general, and China in particular, it's just pragmatism. The horse has well and truly left the stables. If you want to lay blame.. speak to the investors who sold out to China... Oceania Dairy, Fletcher Building (actually the whole Fletcher enterprise- Paper, Energy, Forests), Fisher Paykel Appliances and the list goes on. NZ sold it's soul decades ago, now the pigeons come home to roost

Yes. NZ allowed itself to become reliant on China. But you're essentially saying that it's done now, and all we can do is shut up and bend over further. You've mentioned that you won't likely live to see where this reset takes us, and it seems you don't care much beyond preserving our current way of life up till then. I care about where this takes us, and the generations inheriting this mess.

Well QD you're right in some respects. The fact is, and I challenge any honest submitters, what's done is done, period. The world is changing, and IMO, for the worst. Personally I don't give a ratsarse where this goes because it's a forgone conclusion. We've sown our seeds and now we get to harvest the crop. As for the next/future generations.. they can make their own call and deal with things as they see fit

Things are not as bleak as it seems in fact far from it. NZ still owns the vast majority of it's land and natural resources and can be self sufficient. China on the other hand has corrupted most of its natural environment which is why it seeks to invade and or buyout.

Thank you for your response Hook. It looks like we are stuffed then. Why do they keep us on their lead then, we carn't be of any great stretegic significance to them with a population of 5M. Perhaps our products are superior to what they can produce. Are you sure the USA and UK wont entertain our products if the global situation becomes untenable with China. Has Winston already lit the match.
Fortunately for Australia, Brazil is blazed with Covid so I doubt whether any Iron Ore would be coming from there any time soon. Also isn't the shipping costs more advantageous from Oz to China. I understand the Oz quality is better as well.


LT we've been stuffed for years. This Covid thing is temporary. yes Aussy iron ore is higher quality/tonne but it's not irreplaceable. We all know the Chinese tactic.. bid the price up - encourage debt driven expansion - shut the demand down - buy the distressed assets - extract/repatriate the value. When the Western world stops measuring China's responses against western world values/responses then and only then will it start to compete. China is playing us all for the fools we are.

We need friends and NOT masters.

Nz and Australia are not worried. Both our respective populations have seen massive immigration from the CCP motherland. If we were concerned we would not be continuing with this immigration policy. Truth Is both nz/aus want a closer integration with China. Both economically and culturally.

How did I miss the kiwi bird in this photo? Great imagery!

Did you also notice the disparity in size QD? Imagine what happens to the Kiwi when the bear gets sick of it's pecking??.. SWAT

I certainly noticed that the bear resembles a big bully, stupidly throwing their weight around and believing that might makes right. Greater things have fallen throughout history.

Well Qd, have you noticed how China is the last cohesive "Empire" still in existence? All others have fallen by the wayside. Dismiss China at your peril. They play the long game. I suggest you encourage your children to learn Mandarin (or whatever they speak in China)

Trump's grandchildren and Jimmy Rogers' two daughters do.

they work hard and their spoken Chinese are wonderful.

I'm not sure that's a great recommendation xing

why not?

Anything the Trump family does or doesn't do is not a reason to follow. Trump Inc has been entertaining but certainly not groundbreaking. Additionally the "Don" is an out and out fool. Speaks volumes about those who voted for him

How about Jimmy's daughters?

They are famous in China. I must confess they sound 100% native.

Haha, they may be famous but what are they famous for?.. Buffoons?

famous for having an open heart to devote time and hard work to understand and learn from the most scapegoated country in the world, I guess.

Are we talking about the same Trump siblings??

I was talking about Jimmy Rogers daughters.

I don't have a clue who Jimmy Rogers is. Given that, I doubt he is much of an influence nor vindication of the current diatribe regarding language acceptance

Wow Xing, you really are a bot! Ask a question, get a question. Remind me to shape all of my future posts accordingly!

Not seeing them as an unstoppable force that we should all bend the knee to, is not the same as dismissing them. Do you not care about what your children will be facing, only that your present comforts are maintained while you are alive? You seem determined to bow down immediately.

Just the language? I'd better crush their desire to think, speak and move freely as well. I'd want them to survive, not just be able to communicate, right?

And most certainly the prime reason to put as much distance between us and China,asap

You and QD need to get a good hard dose of reality. China takes 30% of our exports.ROA (Rest of Asia) takes a further 8-12%. If you want to see our dollar devalued by 30% and the resultant increase in import prices, go for your life. The cold hard facts are we've shackled ourselves to Asia. For better or worse that's just how it is. Unshackle from them and we go through the same economic hit we went through when NZ bailed from the UK but worse. Be careful what you wish for.

It must be fun and easy for you to deal out hard doses of reality to everyone who still cares about the future long term, knowing you don't have to deal with the hardships they will face. If this is your view, why even comment? Are you just keeping an eye on things, making sure no one causes a fuss with China, that might impact your lifestyle while still alive? There is a massive amount of unavoidable pain down the road, but changing our trajectory is not futile. The 'it is what it is' mentality you share with many others, makes effort towards change seem impossible, but it can still happen. It's rather poor of you, to be telling other people to just accept such a future and not rock the boat while you're still aboard.

Here's the deal QD.. I have done my "lag" working for "the Man". I've seen various socalled "contemporary" issues rise and fall. The current pack of them is no different... They will rise, gain notoriety/traction and they will fall. The bottom line is .. those who have the economic clout get to choose who sits at the table. You talk of "rocking the boat".. just remember who built the boat in the first place. Those who built it have every right to make sure it doesn't get swamped by "Steerage class"

When you think about it, we are part of Asia. The first immigrants here, originally descended from Asia. We can never be Europe or Nth America. Eventually we will be over come, it's just how we manage the future that will determine how we fare. It might not be all bad.

We are quite a long way from Asia, physically and spiritually.


Total war is coming. Xi will invade Taiwan and then the pacific if china is not stopped soon. Bullies won't stop until they are stopped.

If CV19 was an initial test from the lab in Wuhan, it certainly was timely to be able suppress the people in HK as they are trapped while the world is locked down.
The dictator for life is easily offended, no chance we will ever get the CV19 truth from the CCP propaganda machine, and let’s not forget we have plenty of CCP operatives in our parliament, universities etc to deflect the narrative in little old NZ. It’s a shame so many of these people were so easily bought....