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"Canada can, within a positive friendly atmosphere, ask the Chinese government to resolve the Tibetan situation."

New Zealand Greens call on PM to talk about Tibet during Xi visit

November 24, 2014

By Dan Satherley

NZ News, November 20, 2014 - Green Party leader Russel Norman is playing down expectations he will confront visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping over the country's alleged human rights abuses.

In 2010, Dr Norman clashed with Mr. Xi’s security officials during a visit to Parliament by the then Vice-President.

"Last time I was standing, holding a Tibetan flag, on the steps of Parliament when the Chinese security got pretty upset about that and grabbed me," Dr Norman said on Firstline this morning.

"He's actually not coming to Parliament this time, so what we did yesterday was we met with the Tibetan community and kind of just gave an opportunity for them to have their voice heard."

Unlikely to come across Mr Xi himself this time around, Dr Norman is calling on Prime Minister John Key to bring up the subject – but he's not holding out hope.

"We should use our freedom and our free speech to speak out for those who don't have the right to speak freely. Obviously in China if you speak freely, you go to jail."

But Dr Norman says the world's most populous nation is doing something right – committing to capping and then reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"It's not enough of course, because it's a pretty urgent crisis, but certainly it is real progress that China has said it will cap emissions by 2030, then start to bring them down after that. It's never made that commitment before, so that's real progress."

He says the China-US deal on emissions, announced last week, removes the Government's excuse that without commitments from large emitters, New Zealanders shouldn't be forced to cut theirs.

"New Zealand's emissions are set to increase by 50 percent in the next decade, so I think now the pressure is on us, amongst other countries, to actually reduce emissions instead of increasing them dramatically, now the big players are starting to move."

Mr Xi's visit is the first by a sitting Chinese president in more than a decade.

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