Aaron (disturbed_kiwi) wrote in nz_in_the_world,

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Any thoughts on the whole China / Free trade / Closer relationship thing going on recently?

I'm all confuzzled, wondering whther it's cool to be the first Western country to get involved with them, worrying that that huge economy will sudenly have a stronger influence on ours, appalled at being their friends with the way they treat their citizens, hopeful that we could change how they treat their citizens.

So. Anyone else got thoughts?
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The human rights I have rock :)
At present it seems inevitable that China will supersede the USA as being the dominant world power. A closer relationship with China may hopefully allow New Zealand to be more influential with Chinese policy than we were with American policy. As well, a closer relationship with China may also reduce the risk of possible military aggression against NZ by China. (The world is running out of natural resources and thus conflict will become more common).

Of course all of this places NZ in a position of 'selling its soul' so to speak. The welfare of the citizens of NZ depends largely on NZ's economy. Australia has been aggressively pursuing economic ties with Asia for the past several years which NZ has not. This, along with NZ's trading difficulties with the US has been placing NZ economists under some worry.

China is a massive market (to state the obvious), and thus has the potential to give NZ businesses enormous earnings.

On an ethical standpoint, NZ, I believe has a proud tradition of not giving in on its principles for economic or military benefit. Whilst it may be argued as to how long this remains feasible, it is one that I feel NZ should uphold for as long as it is able.

Which brings us to the question of whether NZ should be pursuing closer economic ties with China. In my opinion, NZ should continue with its policy of closer ties with China. However I feel that we should not allow ourselves to be meek in our request for more ethical social and foreign policies from China. I feel that NZ is important to China (not necessarily more important than Australia or many other countries) and can afford to make such requests without it affecting the chances of better economic relations.

Small portions of China's population have become extremely affluent under the current regime, so I don't really see that NZ or anybody else will have much success in winning better human rights for China's citizens in the short to medium term. I am more optimistic for an independent Tibet.

In NZ, there isn't a large anti-China feeling. Tibet is a non issue and there is no concern about NZ competing in China at the next Olympics. The average person on the street could not care less about Tibet or Chinese human rights (possibly due to a lack of information in the mainstream media which is possibly due to a lack of interest in the mainstream population..). With this being the case, there is no reason for the NZ government to take a meaningful stand on these issues. Their job is to protect and provide for its citizens and represent their views -- and at present, this is what they are doing.

Aside, you might find this a bit interesting.