US human rights campaigner Sophie Richardson has added to alarm bells about Chinese government and Communist Party propaganda targeting New Zealand. Washington-based Richardson is the China director for Human Rights Watch. She says that New Zealand has been “asleep at the wheel” over the growing influence of the People’s Republic of China.
Richardson was responding to a report “Magic Weapons” issued in September by Canterbury University professor and china specialist Anne-Marie Brady. There is nothing secret about the strategy. But it has been expanding and has not been challenged in nine years of National, and amid growing economic ties.
The Brady report received widespread publicity in New Zealand last week. Brady called for New Zealand politicians to take urgent steps to keep Chinese influence in check. New Zealand is not unique in the way that it has been targeted under the strategy, but it is vulnerable due to its size and dependence on trade with China.
While focused on human rights issues, Richardson has some knowledge of the New Zealand and its relationship with China. Prior to her taking up the Human Rights Watch role Richardson spent some time living in New Zealand and is married to Peter Sainsbury, a New Zealander and former Holmes Show reporter.
Brady is calling for urgent action to address the propaganda push into New Zealand.
She says the Ministers of Commerce and Consumer Affairs should instruct the Commerce Commission to investigate the China’s interference in our Chinese language media sector,
‘She says the sector which breaches our monopoly laws and our democratic requirement for a free and independent media.