TODAY |

Russel Norman makes fresh 'freedom' call for Tibet ahead of Chinese President's visit


Green Party co-leader Dr Russel Norman has met with Tibetan community leaders and monks in Auckland today ahead of the Chinese President's visit later tonight.

Green Party co-leader Dr Russel Norman has met with Tibetan community leaders and monks in Auckland today Source: 1 NEWS

Dr Norman has been outspoken in the past about his support for the Tibetan community, once protesting outside Parliament about the Chinese Government suppressing freedom of speech.

Today he addressed members of the Tibetan community, saying "what is the point of freedom if we don't speak out about freedom for those who don't have it?"

Four-years-ago Dr Norman laid a complaint with police after members of a Chinese delegation were able to push him, hit him with an umbrella and rip a Tibetan flag from his grasp.

Dr Norman had been protesting in June 2010 as China's then Vice-President and now President Xi Jinping arrived at Parliament, only to be greeted by a few dozen pro-China supporters.

The MP clashed with security guards as they pulled the flag from his grasp and threw it on the ground. His hand was wounded in the incident.

At the time, Dr Norman said he considered it to be assault.

"New Zealanders need to know they are free to speak without fear of violence or recrimination," he said.

President Xi Jinping will be in the country for two days following the G20 summit of world leaders in Australia last week.

This time round, Dr Norman has indicated that he will be taking a low key approach, talking with Tibetan leaders about their concerns over human rights abuses in Tibet and China.

They will formulate a message to the Government on what it should do to address the concerns with China's President in light of the two countries' growing trade ties.