(dpa) - As pro-Tibet demonstrations were held in New Zealand's main cities Monday, Prime Minister Helen Clark said China had banned a New Zealand journalist from visiting Beijing next week with a large delegation led by Clark.
The premier confirmed at her weekly press conference that the Chinese had refused a visa for Nick Wang, who is accredited to the parliamentary press gallery in Wellington.
Wang holds a New Zealand passport, and Clark said that the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry had forwarded his name with those of four other journalists as members of a 150-strong business delegation she is to lead to Beijing to sign a free trade agreement between the two countries on April 7.
"We live in a country where we are very open to media - China isn't such a country," she said.
Wang writes for a Chinese-language newspaper that regularly criticizes the Beijing government for its treatment of Tibet and suppression of the Falun Gong religious movement.
Tibetan exiles roped together as prisoners and wearing gags staged protests in New Zealand Monday, including outside China's embassy in Wellington.
Clark repeated earlier comments that she would raise her government's concerns about human rights in China during her trip to sign what would be Beijing's first free trade pact with a developed country.