New Zealand Prime Minister to raise Tibet with China Premier
(dpa) - New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said she would raise China's treatment of Tibet directly with Premier Wen when the parties meet this week for an historic free trade agreement, according to reports Sunday.
Clark told the New Zealand political television programme Agenda that she expected to be the first Western leader to directly raise the issue with the Premier since the riots in Lhasa more than a fortnight ago.
Clark said she expected a strong "pushback" from China because of the country's strong views.
She told the television programme Agenda that although she would not question the status of Tibet within China, "I will raise it as an issue of how human rights can be respected in the country."
Clark will be in Beijing from April six and seven to witness senior ministers sign an historic free trade agreement.
One minister in Clark's multiparty government has declined the prime minister's invitation to witness the signing on April seven, because of China's recent actions against Tibet.
Minister of Revenue and leader of the minor United Future party Peter Dunne said he would not travel to Beijing with several other government ministers, because of what he called China's "bloody crackdown" on Tibet.