Coming Down To Beijing

John Key is clear about what he will and won’t do during his visit to China.

He won’t work to stop bourgeois Chinese businessmen from rorting our housing market. However, he definitely will mention the Spratly Islands (Have you built a golf course there yet?).  He will not mention human rights in any way that is meaningful.

Instead, he will, however, happily open a discussion on an extradition treaty that will allow China to execute their citizens currently resident in NZ if they so choose. Neat!

OK, to be fair, Key has said the following about sending accused people back to Beijing:

“We won’t extradite people to China unless they meet the condition that they wouldn’t be subjected to either torture or the death penalty.”

He’s less effusive about how he’s going to actually stop those who are deported from being tortured and shot.

“They would obviously have to meet those conditions around the death penalty but I think they’re more interested in getting those people back to China and holding them to account.”

Not really his problem is it? Out of sight, out of mind.

A formal extradition treaty with the PRC is a really repulsive idea. We know they kill thousands of real criminals,  as well as spiritual believers, separatists and political opponents. We know they have no judicial system worth a damn. We know that pissing off the authorities usually ends with a long stay in prison or a bullet in the back of the head.

But hey, we’re no longer the country that led the world in the fight against nuclear weapons. We’re not the country that beat the world to give women the vote. Not any more. We’re living on Planet Key now.

We used to stand up to dictators, know we bow down to them. We’ve had a collective brain failure, folks.



Brain Failure were a Chinese post punk band, with an allegiance to the Clash and American skate punk groups. Their name, Brain Failure, is a literal translation of a crime that can lead to re-education or prison. Over here, we call that crime freedom of speech.


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