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Labour Cannot Ignore China Gagging

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 01:26 PM

Labour cannot ignore China gagging NZ union leader
Tuesday, 7 December 2004, 2:00 pm
Press Release: New Zealand Government

7 December 2004

Labour cannot ignore China gagging our union leaders

The Greens are calling on the Labour Government to call off trade negotiations with China in response to the Chinese Government cancelling CTU President Ross Wilson's visitor's visa.

The Chinese Government has cancelled an OECD seminar in Beijing next week which was due to discuss raising labour standards in China. Mr Wilson was to attend the seminar.

"This is tantamount to a gagging order," Green Co-Leader Rod Donald said. "It illustrates that the Chinese Government will not allow open discussion of its pitiful and exploitative labour standards.

"It is meaningless for the Government to say it intends to discuss labour and environmental standards in trade talks with China, when the Chinese regime refuses to allow union leaders from OECD countries, including New Zealand's Ross Wilson, to talk about those very issues..
"Labour must take a principled stand against China's attempt to stifle free speech. If it does not call off trade talks with China, it will have sold out workers in both New Zealand and China.

"What will it take for the Government to face the fact that it is dealing with an oppressive regime that has no respect for labour or environmental standards, for freedom of speech, or for the basic human rights of its own citizens?

"Labour should be ashamed to negotiate a preferential trade deal with a regime that tries to silence the very international labour movement our government claims to strongly identify with."

Mr Donald has sought permission from the Speaker to ask the Prime Minister an urgent question on this matter in Parliament.

http://www.scoop.co....0412/S00170.htm
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Posted 07 December 2004 - 01:31 PM

CTU Union Leader Refused Access to China
Tuesday, 7 December 2004, 11:11 am
Press Release: New Zealand Council of Trade Unions

Union Leader Refused Access to China

Council of Trade Unions president Ross Wilson has been refused access to China and has had his visitor’s visa cancelled by the Chinese Government.

Ross Wilson was to attend an OECD seminar in Beijing next week with representatives of 25 governments, union leaders from 20 countries and 15 foreign investors to discuss raising labour standards in China.

China cancelled the meeting and invalidated all the participants’ visas, claiming it was “inappropriate and inconvenient” timing.

The incident comes as New Zealand officials begin talks in China today for a free trade agreement between the two countries.

“The seminar was only going to talk about guidelines for foreign companies in China, so this action by the Chinese Government raises serious questions as to whether they are willing to even discuss labour standards,” Ross Wilson said.
“It appears that the position of the Chinese Government is that there should be no constraints or standards for any company operating in China.”

It was understood that the decision to cancel the seminar was made at the highest political level in China, he said.

The move also prevented a planned meeting between the New Zealand union leader and his Chinese counterparts.

OECD guidelines for multinational companies which were to be discussed at the seminars included working conditions, union recognition and health and safety.

Ross Wilson said the international trade union movement would continue to work for the protection of workers’ rights in China.

“More and more consumer products are sourced from China, so Chinese labour standards are a major international issue.

“It is estimated that even developing countries like Bangladesh and Indonesia will each lose up to a million manufacturing jobs to cheaper labour options in China.”

http://www.scoop.co....0412/S00064.htm
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