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Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand has 'direct' interest in China's human rights record

Jacinda Ardern has addressed concerns about China’s human rights record today saying she believes New Zealand has a “direct and resounding interest”.

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The Prime Minister spoke at the China Business Summit in Auckland. Source: 1 NEWS

The Prime Minister spoke at the China Business Summit in Auckland today, along with Air New Zealand chief executive Greg Foran and Chinese ambassador Wu Xi.

Speakers were set to address trade between New Zealand and China in the age of Covid-19, but Ms Ardern also didn’t shy away from China’s human right’s record. 

She said “it’s quite natural” for the Government to raise concerns about Hong Kong security laws, with thousands of Kiwis living and working there.

Ms Ardern also highlighted the situation in north-west China with the Uighur people.

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In Xinjiang it's estimated that over one million Uighurs have been detained in what the Chinese Communist Party calls "re-education camps". It’s widely reported that in the camps the Muslim ethnic minority group is being brainwashed to ensure they are re-programmed in line with President Xi Jinping's beliefs.

“We think the public has a direct and resounding interest in the outcome. As you know this has come to the fore recently around Hong Kong new security law, the situation of the Uighur people in the Xiangan Province.

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“It's quite natural for us to raise concern about Hong Kong security laws we believe we are representing real and actual issues."

But Chinese ambassador Wu Xi thinks otherwise.

“Issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xiangang and Tibet will touch on China's sovereignty and security.”

Since 2017 China has been New Zealand's top trading partner, with two-way trade between the nations worth more than $33 billion last year.