Recycling Bill English? Or we, the people…?

Are our supposedly superior, wise politicians costing us too much?

Should we keep regarding them as born to be in charge of us all? Or, lest we forget… is it time we grew up, as a people?

New Zealanders have understandably lost confidence in our politicians – not only to actually listen to New Zealanders – which they demonstrably don’t – but to even be competent.  Too many government policies no longer favour the public good. So we are joining other Western countries no longer impressed by being governed by political classes paying far too little attention to putting the interests of their own citizens first, and with far too much unwarranted confidence in their own decision-making.  Something so often happens to very ordinary people once they become politicians – and the public here – as in England and elsewhere  –  heartened by  Brexit’s stunning win,  is now questioning how our political system works, and how we can rein in our born-to-rule politicians. And yes – we do have a practicable solution within reach – The 100 Days  – see www.100days.co.nz . Or are we happy to still be led by the nose…?

In a recent massive throw-out from my study, I came across an old reply to me from Bill English.  I can’t say I’m surprised at its evasiveness, though, to be fair, it was written in 2002 – 15 years ago  – and found again only now. And certainly, people do grow up intellectually. However it’s well said that anyone can become a Prime Minister – as John Key, a supremely ambitious money trader proved – arguably causing a great deal of damage to the country – damage that that would horrify our parents and grandparents who fought in more than two World Wars, so many servicemen and women giving their lives to preserve New Zealand – and a freedom and way of life now fast being lost to us.

So what of our present Prime Minister, whose reply to me came when I wrote, finding (as with others) it almost incredible what he said when comparing one of the  Lord of the Rings films to Tolkien’s masterpiece. What he stated was that his “preference” was for the film. But, hmm,  well no – he hadn’t actually read the books. 

So how could there be any preference there? It won’t be lost on the reader that one can’t compare one thing to another …unless one is familiar with both.

But then, when did the reality that facts don’t line up ever bother a politician?  When also queried about his use of the word “elitist” in apparently a pejorative sense, a comment which might well raise doubts about whether he thought Tolkien’s books too high-powered intellectually to be accessible to the ordinary reader (or to him?)  – and reminded that bright children down at intermediate school level were reading them) –  he pulled a metaphorical rabbit from a hat.  With the kind of double-speak in which politicians excel, he replied, “The film is now definitive of the book – people will see Jackson’s Ents, (sic) Helms Deep is now Jackson’s Deep”.

Well no – it isn’t and his “definitive” means basically nothing. Moreover, as an English graduate,  our now Prime Minister should have been well aware that the printed word can convey nuances and subtleties which the visual version of a story cannot match. The omission of Tom Bombadil, for example, who represented important things central to the story (as Tolkien himself noted) but was left out of the film, was a disappointment to many readers of the trilogy.  In fact, any criticisms of Jackson’s film centres on his lack of much-needed editing, as well as his somewhat ham-fisted approach in areas that required more understatement. Even Weta Workshop’s brilliance was not enough to excuse the tedious, repetitious close-ups of the ugliness of the Orcs – and the loveliness of the land of the Elves was not successfully conveyed. Jackson does a better job with horror, than its opposite.

We’re accustomed to say that people are entitled to their opinion. But what sort of opinion rests upon no foundation?  Our present PM’s preference for a film -compared to a book which he had never read – is of course no preference at all. Ah, but politicians can bluster – as in his reply, when he added that,  “- well there are lots of books more challenging than Lord of the Rings.” But then, again, if he hadn’t actually read The Rings trilogy…to what “more challenging” books would he be capable of comparing it?

Coming again upon this correspondence, it struck me how far what the Irish call “the gift of the gab” can carry a politician. Add it to an ability to exude charisma – and a country is in danger. It has happened right throughout history and we never seem to learn from it, and to question why we are so foolish as to keep paying lip service to the notion that “leadership” is more important than the knowledge that any real democracy depends upon the genuine participation of so-called ordinary men and women, conducting their own lives, prioritising their families – but with a close eye on what their politicians are up to.

Yet we are aware that  the cult of leadership which grows around determined individuals has led to the greatest bloodbaths of all  –  and the  siren call of  highly destructive individuals  – the Hitlers, Stalins, Pol Pots, today’s  Kim Jong–un and so on whose indifference to what happens to their own people, sacrificed to their  leader’s ambitions,  should be a lesson to us. Wars in which scores of millions die pointlessly and needlessly are a twisted tribute to the danger of that concept of the importance of leadership which we are always being asked to defer to. And as a well-respected British journalist, under the pseudonym of Alpha of the Plough pointed out, “There is a large part of the public …which will believe anything because it hasn’t the faculty of judging anything but the size of the crowd, and will always follow the ass with the longest ears and the loudest bray.”

If it strikes some readers that this is a very apt description not only of some of our recent leaders –  but also now of the mainstream media, playing follow-the leader not only in their admiration for our recently departed  and disastrously charismatic Prime Minister –  very few of us would disagree. The now predominantly left-wing media have their favourite politicians, and coat-tail one another’s thinking with regard to the mis-called” liberal” and “progressive” issues of the day. Our mainstream commentators’ over-confident pronouncements have become inimical to quality thinking. Editors now routinely suppress letters from correspondents with whom they disagree. Nor is it a healthy sign that comments in response to unsigned editorialists and opinion-writers in some major New Zealand newspapers on-line have now been discontinued. In this respect, the NBR (National Business Review) deserves readers’ support for its healthy promotion of vigorous debate and feedback.

However, that silent majority which the politicians still fear, anxious lest they begin to realise their real power, can take heart. An excellent new monthly, Your Voice, edited by Mykeljon Winkel, available online or as  a print subscription, is doing a brilliant job of tackling some of the quite blatant untruths now being peddled in relation to the Treaty of Waitangi…as well as examining other relevant issues of today. It can be found at www.newzealand voice.co.nz. And although an interview with Judith Collins contains a politician’s very typical equivocations and evasiveness in response to direct questions put to her, there are interesting and relevant pieces throughout.  An article by John Ansell, in particular, in the February issue – not Race, Not Gender, Just New Zealander… The Reason for the Existence of the Treaty presents admirably concisely the reason that the Maori chiefs at the time had every good reason to welcome the treaty – and well understood that they were yielding sovereignty to the British Queen.

Other excellent articles in relation to our nation’s history throw more light on the truth of Maori European interaction than today’s media bother to attempt. The March edition includes Bruce Moon’s We Have Just One True History (“And so we come to the Rangiowhia affray, about which probably more flagrant lies have been touted than any event in our history”. Moon’s rigorous research reminds me of Alan Everton’s former excellent dismantling of  Ngai Tahu’s prevarications and the utter distortions, let alone falsehoods which it so successfully employed to squeeze a  third “full and final” settlement for this corporatised pseudo-iwi – one which, on the actual evidence, Parliament should never have awarded.

 But today, as we all know, too bad about actual evidence: it doesn’t count. Today’s deliberate muddying of the waters around treaty issues has basically been for the purpose of allowing conniving iwi on the make, (by no means representing the majority of part-Maori)  to gain more and more economic and totally undemocratic political advantage. And of course of there is always the much loved-microphone – or the newspaper headline , those sops to vanity and hubris obediently supplied by our compliant media, always keen to stir the pot…but not so keen to allow that very necessary debate which helps to arrive at the truth of issues. Yet we are well aware that, in a democracy, exclusive rights proposed in law, intended to be bestowed on any racial group, are simply untenable…and basically unconstitutional. This hasn’t stopped National from ignoring the wishes of the majority of us. Such a party has become a danger to the country and for this reason, David Rankin’s petition, in Change Org, deserves all our support.  https://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-abolish-auckland-council-s-maori-statutory-board?recruiter=694585883&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink

In a country like New Zealand we have had democratic safeguards to protect us (to some extent only) from the supremely ambitious individuals always there in our political cliques, some with honourable motives – others convinced that we must be inveigled into subscribing to the ideology to which they are wedded – as with the socialist Helen Clarks’ One World Government – and John Key’s attempt to remove the Union Jack from our flag.

The latter of course was line with the wishes of wealthy Communist Chinese working behind-the-scenes to facilitate this, And what of Key’s neglect of so much that badly needs addressing in this country, denying even the unprecedented housing crisis which now has so many New Zealanders impoverished, living in cars, in garages, on the streets? Bill English also showed himself totally ineffectual here…The damage caused by virtually unrestricted immigration, used to create the illusion of economic buoyancy…the sell-out of this country, our productive farms and businesses to Communist Chinese interests  – and the flogging off of our high country sheep stations  to the super-wealthy Americans and others seeking a bolthole – all of whom can buy out New Zealanders’ rights to our own land, our remaining productive industries, our housing stock? These are the legacy of our recent leaders, and the yes-men and-women who surround them in parliament. Sycophancy rules.

In all these destructive policies, at least publicly, our present Prime Minister, Bill English, has been complicit. How much can we rely upon his ability – a consummate yes-man, as John Key’s lieutenant, to face up honestly to what has happened to this country?  Most of us wouldn’t bet on it.  So why ever would we vote for him to be our new Prime Minister? And when the media kept boasting about Key, with his 30% or thereabouts rating as Prime Minister being so very popular, they were guilty of the fact that, looking objectively at the figures, we know that two thirds of the country did not want him there.  60 to 70% did not rate him. But in the eyes of a largely infatuated commentariat, subject to his switched-on charm and smarm; given special interviews; beaming eye contact; flattered by his attention: recipients of bottles of wine, Key could do little wrong – just as Trump can do no right. The lesson from Brexit has apparently been totally lost on our own media circles.

Can we now be called the Stupid Country? What of the then Finance Minister Bill English’s failure in our supposedly representative democracy, to actually represent the wishes of the country when polling made plain New Zealanders opposition to the potentially damaging TPP deal? Where is the actual evidence that he ever stood up to the seemingly folksy but basically autocratic John Key? Compared to other countries – even Australia, for example the ruling National party’s failure to acknowledge this – let alone to acknowledge the housing market disgrace was because if John Key didn’t want to, neither did any of the Nats. No Sir…

Why then of the theory of the wisdom of the crowds – rather than the conclusions of a select few? The ruling National government has apparently been unable to acknowledge the pitfalls in the TPP which have been very plain to the reasonable onlooker. The determination of government to ignore public opinion has perhaps been a tipping point to us all. Perhaps we are beginning to grow up as a people- in the same way as the English have , at last, reclaimed their country from its  EU stranglehold.  And we in this small country have been equally guilty of allowing to be forced on us every failed doctrine that has already caused so much damage in the UK.

Nowhere has the damage caused by obdurate politicians, convinced of their superior thinking and leadership skills, been more evident than recently, across all Europe . What we can fairly call the sheer stupidity of politicians like Angela Merkel –   far too late rethinking her arrogant, authoritarian rulings which have plunged Germany into such disarray  – needs to be recognised for what it was. Europe is now overrun by far more refugees than can be successfully assimilated   –  and among these Isis terrorists have been successfully smuggled in.  Merkel’s virtual bullying of other countries, wherever a Muslim population has now established a considerable and divisive presence, has lead there also to growing social destabilisation, violence and crime, the ill-treatment and raping of women, and mounting welfare bills. Even England is in trouble. https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/10190/islam-england-france

Diversity, multiculturalism – all the much-touted clichés have now been shown to be quite wrong directions for any country to move in.  The much maligned Enoch Powell’s warning in the 60s that mass immigration would preclude assimilation, and that such a large volume of foreign nationals inevitably concentrated in major cities would lead to ghettoisation, and Balkanisation, was genuinely prophetic, as Michael Davies points out in a recent Australian Spectator. It was the know-best politicians who pilloried him – aided by an always cooperative mass media. Again, it was so-called ordinary people who also warned against Britain yielding its independence and judicial separateness in important areas of national decision-making – such as allowing the judiciary to become subservient to the rulings of Brussels. So very few politicians,  with notable exceptions such as Powell and Margaret Thatcher, (who, loving their own country and its traditions “understood why immigrants would be reluctant to completely abandon theirs) foresaw what lay ahead.

And we in this country are now having to put up with the same sort of ill-thought nonsense emphasising “diversity” – i.e. the lack of assimilation, allowing in those large numbers of immigrants which too often lead to the clash of cultures, the attack on the stabilising values of the home country, the clamour for an undemocratic separateness, and the displacement, today, of our own people in the job market and housing. This, apart even from that fact we are losing our most productive farmland to the rapacious Communist Chinese’s self-serving interests – and the best of our high country sheep stations to those others plum-picking land now priced well beyond the reach of New Zealanders ourselves.

Every now and again we get trotted out Thomas Carlyle’s objection to democracy: as classicist Peter Jones recounts in the Spectator article Enemies of the People. “I do not believe in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance”. In other words, infinitely wise politician should tell the ignorant mob what to think, not vice versa.

What when we can say, with very good reason, that we do not believe in the collective wisdom of ignorant or self-serving politicians, led by the nose too often by vested interest groups  – and/or letting us down by their simple inability to devote time to the thorough research needed to establish the truth of issues?

Athenians invented direct democracy in 508BC, lasting until 323 BC, which handed to the “demos”, citizens in the assembly, the power to decide on policy. Objections were raised from the beginning by those who thought their thinking was superior… Plato thought a state could be well governed only by Platonic philosophers. Aristotle thought that monarchy would be the best of all – Catch-22 – if only someone of the required standard could be found. On went the objections, until as Jones points out, it was Plutarch, “a prolific Greek writer of the second century A.D. with a great admiration for Roman stability “– (a stability which the reader will recall didn’t last for very long after all ) … “who really put the boot in, describing the public as “animals… unreasoning, unruly volatile and degenerate”. Interestingly this description will strike the reader as fairly closely summing up our own politicians’ behaviour in the debating chamber. However, as “Plutarch dominated discussions in the West about the best form of government from the 16th till the 19th century, his idea that rule by the demos could be nothing but mob rule became the knee-jerk position, and still is.  Animals, obviously.”

Make no mistake – our politicians love to think this.  (Remember Helen Clark’s “feral” and “inbreds”?  And Hilary Clinton’s “A basket of deplorables.”)

But they’ve been proved wrong by the most free, successful,  and democratic country in the world – Switzerland. And there is absolutely no reason why we New Zealanders can’t turn our own minds to insist that we follow a system which really works – in contrast to the mess our political parties have made to our own country – where the pace is accelerating to destroy of so much of what we have left.

Peter Jones concludes, “In the howls about mob rule,  however, Switzerland, virtually a direct democracy for some 600 years, somehow never features.” Switzerland did even better than this – not content with being virtually a direct democracy, the Swiss people themselves decided they had had enough of being over-ruled by damaging leaders. Their brilliant solution was to fight for the 100 Days provision. They won this right about 160 years ago. It ensures any legislation passed by Parliament, no matter by what political party or by whatever coalition is currently in power in the country… every piece of legislation must wait for 100 Days before it can come into force. The Swiss people can themselves then decide whether or not they agree,  or whether they want to challenge it.

If the latter, before the end of the 100 Days period, if as few as 50,000 people (in a country double our population, call for a vote  – in New Zealand it would be proportionately about 26,000 ) then that’s enough. A vote is held – it’s called the Facultative Referendum, and whatever the people say is binding on the government.

So successful has this been that Swiss politicians are merely part-time. Meeting one day  only a week, they can hold down other jobs… as lawyers, teachers, doctors, housewives, tradesmen… and their Parliament needs to meet only four times a year. No Helen Clark or Bill English or John Key can dig in, clinging to virtually supreme power and dominating the ruling party. The Swiss make sure of this by allowing the President to stay in office for one year only. Their seven-only member cabinet, simply take turns to be President. It works very well.

 Why can’t we now fight for the same? Well, we can, and should. It is the best possible system to secure a real democracy. And to all the Big Names anxious to tell us it wouldn’t work, we can say – This is nonsense – it does. In fact it is working better than any other political system today.

As the last thing that politicians want is to lose their power, and we can count on a now thoroughly dumbed-down, but highly opiniated media to rubbish any concept that doesn’t send power to their left-wing cohorts, it is up to us, the real New Zealanders, remembering the hard work and sacrifices our own people have made for four generations, to do our own bit.

How? Email your MP. Mail the Prime Minister, the leader and members of the Opposition, the leaders of all the political parties, and ask them whether or not they are willing to hand back the decision-making to the people of New Zealand. Call your MPs….They will be very polite to you in election year…

This is a real test of whether or not our politicians believe in a democracy. But we know they don’t want a democracy – they want to rule us – and are now busy making all those hasty promises routinely made in election-year,  promising the reforms so conveniently held until then.

There are so many ways you can help. Tell others…You can send on to as many as you can the fact of our 100 days campaign…both on Facebook, and on- site – See 100 Days – Claiming back New Zealand www.100days.co.nz  You can write letters to the paper. You can complain to the Press Council if the editor keeps rejecting them…You can talk about it on Talkback.  You can join us – support us, even a little financially, if you can.

 It means at least a little effort – not much time in busy people’s lives. But as we all have a moral responsibility, which reaches beyond us and our families towards the community, and towards our country, safeguarding what our parents and grandparents, uncles and aunts fought  and gave their lives for, it can be argued that we have no right at all to do nothing. We need to insist on the reshaping of our political and landscape. Will you help?

Help us fight for the 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand movement!

© Amy Brooke, Convener. See my book “100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand …what has gone wrong, and how we can control our politicians.” Available through Kindle, www.copypress.co.nz or HATM Publishers.

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Do help us to get our message further out by donating. See www.100days.co.nz!

 

 

 

 

 

China the fox?New Zealanders chickens?A haunting photo,Mike Hosking

As for Xi’s much-ballyhooed anti-corruption campaign inside China, it offends me that international media depict it as a good-governance effort…” Anne Stevenson-Yang

It’s the face of a good man, looking down very sadly, as if he has suffered a body blow – which indeed he has. And there’s a very real question of whether our government-led snuggling up to an utterly repressive, brutal and corrupt Communist Chinese régime is not only totally unethical – but also very, very foolish.

What about bringing reality on board in these matters? The sad photograph referred to is that of Illham Tohti, an economics professor and peaceful advocate for human rights who founded a website which published articles on social issues. Three days ago, seven of his students were also jailed after disappearing into police custody for 10 months. Mr Tohti is regarded as more deserving of the Nobel Prize than the shockingly unjust sentence inflicted on him.

Well, in China, you can forget about human rights. Needless to say the website was closed down, accused of forging links to extremists in the Uyghur Diaspora. Among his other “crimes” Tohti called for a stricter interpretation of China’s 1984 Regional Ethnic Autonomy Law. His wife, who had not seen her husband for eight months, wept when he was led away. She worries about his health, given that during his imprisonment, food and warm clothing were reportedly intermittently withheld from him. All his assets have been confiscated – although she has two young sons to support. The PEN American Center, which campaigns for freedom of expression and gave Mr. Tohti an award in March 2014, three months after he had been detained, released a statement saying: ,“His conviction makes a mockery of China’s professed commitment to social harmony by silencing one of the country’s unifying voices and, with it, fellow Uyghur writers who are now unlikely to dare speak out.”

What about the number of journalists imprisoned for writing articles critical of the current Communist government? What about the many dissidents locked away, reporting verified incidences of brutality and torture while in prison? What about all the victims of what is basically a tyrannical régime – for all its clever cultivation of countries like New Zealand which it wants to use for “strategic alliances”. What sort of strategic alliances… with a country whose buying up of influence right throughout the Pacific to gain possible military bases is raising considerable concern – a thoroughly undemocratic country which has, extraordinarily enough, even suggested possible, utterly inappropriate military alliances with this country? And how far can we trust our government?

As recently as early this month, President Xi Jinping, with whom our Prime Minister appears to have an extremely comfortable relationship, reportedly “intensified his ideological onslaught on China’s creative industries with a plan to send artists, filmmakers and television producers to rural villages and mining towns ‘to form a correct view of art’. This scheme, according to the state news agency, will be extended to script writers, directors, broadcasters and television anchors, all of whom will be obliged to spend one month “in ethnic minority and border areas”.

It is not surprising that a parallel with the attack on the tall poppies in the infamous Cultural Revolution springs to mind. China’s philosophy of keeping its friends close, but its enemies closer, should make us very circumspect in our relationship with a country whose practices of brutality towards its own people have been compared to those of Nazi Germany.

President Xi Jinping is now regarded as China’s most powerful and oppressive leader since Mao Tse Tung. “The smile on the face of the tiger” is a not inaccurate summing up of the public persona of this President presiding over “a major crackdown on government opponents that has seen academics, activists and human rights lawyers jailed.”

It is an exceptionally brave and principled individual who will now stand up to the downright bullying of this oppressive Communist régime. Internet and press censorship have deteriorated rapidly under Xi – a fact which our National-led government apparently has no problem with. We make no official public protest ever – against the well-known brutality of China’s government. Not ever. But according to the evasive John Key, possibly wearing one of his interchangeable hats, our concerns are voiced – it’s just that this is always done behind the scenes.

Really? A shame, then that we have no evidence whatsoever of this. And if in fact it is done. It is no doubt regarded on both sides as a mere routine gesture, with no genuine interest whatsoever on the part of New Zealand to shame China into treating its people as individual human beings, with very real rights, including that of freedom from oppression, freedom to speak to the truth of issues – and freedom from excessive bullying from their government.

New Zealand is now apparently being requested to support China’s hunt for supposedly corrupt officials and fraudsters who have fled China’s control to escape to countries, very possibly including New Zealand, with huge sums of public money.

Should we be thinking more deeply about this? Where are our standards? Should economic considerations alone concern us in our dealings with a country whose Communist government exercises a vice-like control over its people, abuses its citizens, even to a denial of basic human rights?

Granted that we have a charismatic New Zealand Prime Minister whose love affair with the media is only now beginning to look tacky — but who up till very recently has more or less got his own way with regard to the issues of the day. And has there historically been a more damaging attribute in a leader then the very dangerous gift of charisma? Nor is John Key regarded as overly given to landing fairly and squarely onto the truth of issues – but rather as imaginatively skirting around them. The selection of hats he wears to approach people in apparently differing capacities appears to be changed according to convenience.

But what when he is speaking for New Zealanders, and considering undertaking commitments about which the country has not been consulted?

According to the National Business Review, China needs help, not hindrance, in its new fox-hunting campaign. But what kind of government are we dealing with is the first question we should be asking ourselves, when considering any sort of cooperation beyond basic trade issues (now problematic enough) with a régime which hunts down its own dissidents and gives the lie to its apparent endorsement of democratic freedoms. China is of course, like any supposedly “Communist country”, much more like a kleptocracy – defined as “ a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class, at the expense of the wider population, often with pretence of honest service.”

So how should we respond when we have a call from the highest-ranking representatives of this government to facilitate the return of hugely wealthy Chinese immigrants arriving with money that the present Chinese leader (according to Prime Minister Key) claims is not theirs, and results from corrupt activities?

This begs very relevant questions. If this is so, who let these people into the country? Why has New Zealand been giving immigration preference to the super-rich – and therefore making it easier for corrupt money to enter the country? And what sort of values is our government showing to the world by making considerable wealth the prime requisite for entry? Moreover, what about the fact about which the government is in denial that – that our Mums and Dads and young, first-time homeowners are being forced out of the housing market by a now considerable imbalance – in particular the flood of homes being sold to Chinese buyers?

The warning signs are there, as in blogger Bernard Hickey’s drawing attention to the fact that a website that markets over 8500 New Zealand homes to Chinese buyers is just the beginning. The flood of Chinese investment is expected to rise 15 to 20% in 2015 and 2016…Yet John Key’s government has to be dragged towards looking at what Australia is doing to protect Australian families. While Key continues an obfuscation and rejection of information he would rather not have – his usual flippant denials (in this case the dismissive “all anecdotal’) – he is completely wrong. And this does raise the question – not for the first time – of where Key’s loyalties really lie?

While an Australian parliamentary enquiry has called for a foreign buyers’ register – and our government remains determinedly antipathetic to the notion – in Australia, non-resident buyers are not allowed to buy existing homes, only new ones… on the basis, the thinking goes, at least this way they are not competing with first home owners for existing properties. This still raises the fundamental question of whether the increasing Chinese buy-up of our farmland, our companies, and our valuable strategic assets is really in the best interest of New Zealanders?

Do we need a long spoon indeed, dining so cosily with this economic powerhouse increasing its military spending to a staggering extent, and harbouring a world-view which should make us very wary?

What about others who have been targeted by this thoroughly brutalised regime? Ask the Falun Gong forcibly detained in prison camps, their live organs removed for transplants, as verified in an independent reputable Canadian investigation. Ask Dr David Goodman of St Vincent’s hospital, Melbourne, who as recently as 2013 told a reporter from Fairfax media that there is a bank of live, involuntary donors in China whose organs are earmarked for harvesting, and that the number vastly exceeds that of those Chinese convicted of capital crimes and awaiting execution.

The reporter from Fairfax Media asked Dr. Goodman about organ tourism, if he “had ever had dialysis patients disappear, only to reappear two weeks later with a scar on their torsos.” “Multiple times,” Dr. Goodman replied.” About five years ago a whole cluster of them went off to China together and returned with transplanted kidneys. The donors were convicts about to be executed and the blood and tissue types had already been matched.”

Australia’s News Weekly on May 11, 2013, published an article written by Jeffry Babb, a Melbourne-based writer recently returned from a tour of South East Asia, on May 11, 2013. The title of the article – “Human Rights: China’s grisly organ theft: the crime our shame:” stated that “No-one one leaves this butcher’s shop alive; that one talks about it. Nobody know how many of China’s Falun Gong practitioners have been subject to “involuntary organ harvesting”… which can only be supplied if donors are ‘slaughtered to order’ and their organs removed while they are still alive.”

Where did these large numbers of organs come from? Reportedly, Australian patients never realized they had been customers of the “killing on demand” of prisoners for their organs. “The Chinese régime executes 2000 to 3000 prisoners on death row each year. Their published data show that in 2005, there were 20,000 organ transplants; in 2008, there were 86,800 kidney transplants, 14,643 liver transplants, far more than the number of death row inmates.”

Babb noted that the Chinese people themselves have a very well-developed sense of justice and fair play, that for very many years “members of China’s Mandarin class of ruling bureaucrats were selected through competitive examinations open to any talented candidate in China. The sole criterion was merit.

“Today, China is governed by a venal and self-perpetuating élite called the Chinese Communist Party. Eventually, one of the tens of thousands of “mass incidents” that occur in China every year will spark a conflagration, and this evil empire will topple….”

Professor Maria Fiatarone Singh, Professor of Medicine, Exercise and Sports Science at the University of Sydney and a contributor to State Organs:Transplant Abuse in China, said, “Killing someone to sell their organs for transplantation… is a violation of the most basic human right – the right to life itself.” And on December 2, 2013, many doctors and attendees of the 12th Congress of the International Society of Organ Donation and Procurement (ISODP) signed the petition to help stop forced organ harvesting in China.

The word “evil” no doubt makes liberal theorists uneasy. Yet the evidence is as great as ever that it is as much a reality in human affairs as it has ever been. Mr Hosking, who apparently likes to throw around the word xenophobic, directing it at those asking very real concerns about whether we are being virtually colonised by Communist China, needs to think more deeply about these issues. ..”

Moreover, in http://www.chinafile.com/reporting-opinion/features/why-beijings-troubles-could-get-lot-worse, a prominent Chinese scholar, Anne Stevenson-Yang, expresses her exasperation with the lazy analysis by Western media (we can include New Zealand journalists here) in relation to the real situation in China. “As for Xi’s much-ballyhooed anti-corruption campaign inside China, it offends me that international media depict it as a good-governance effort. What’s really going on is an old-style Party purge reminiscent of the 1950s and 1960s with quota-driven arrests, summary trials, mysterious disappearances, and suicides, which has already entrapped, by our calculations, 100,000 Party operatives and others. The intent is not moral purification by the Xi administration but instead the elimination of political enemies and other claimants to the economy’s spoils.”

What is our democracy worth if the toughest questions in politics are thought best avoided – while we cuddle up closer to this thoroughly undemocratic country whose government’s values are the antithesis to those held by New Zealanders?

I’m reminded of Dante’s “The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”

Should John Key’s government be showing all the signs of moral neutrality towards Communist China, and sheer indifference to what is happening to brave and good people there?

© Amy Brooke – join us to help support our 100 Days – Claiming Back New Zealand campaign. www.100days.co.nz and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/100daystodemocracy