Improving international relations with our largest Asia-Pacific neighbour China is a welcome step forward, but just as any other relationship it must be based on openness and trust across the economic, environmental and social-justice spheres, Greens Leader Kim Booth MP said today.
“The Greens welcome President Xi Jinping, and we hope that his interest in Tasmania will extend to an interest in social and environmental issues which matter to many Tasmanians,” Mr Booth said.
“The Memorandum of Understanding establishing Hobart as China’s gateway to the Antarctica is a fantastic development. Hopefully the MoU’s commitment to operational collaboration on environmental and scientific policy and joint Australia-China Antarctic science projects will see our world-class Antarctic research facilities appropriately funded by State and Federal governments.”
“Tasmania is well placed to benefit from fostering such international relationships, and China’s interest is an endorsement of the hardwork undertaken by many Tasmanians over the years who argued that the world will want our genuine clean, green produce, as well as the fact we are the logical gateway to the Antarctica.”
“However, it is also a strength of a robust democracy that we can still highlight our areas of concern as well as celebrate the positive.”
“Economic MoUs cannot, and should not, be used to silence Tasmanians for speaking their minds over deeply held concerns over human rights in Tibet and Hong Kong, the need for formal marine reserves surrounding Antarctica, and local concerns about not ‘selling the farm’.”
“The Greens pioneered ‘clean, green and GE-free Tasmania’ and fought to protect Tasmania’s special places, that now are recognised, admired and coveted by other nations, which have now become the engine driver of the economy and underpin our way of life.”
“Whilst we welcome investment in agriculture, tourism and other Tasmanian business, the Greens share concerns with the community that the produce is for sale, but not the farm.”
“The Greens have a long and proud track record of advocating for the formal recognition of his Holiness the Dalai Lama as the leader of a free Tibet, and we support all peaceful attempts to highlight this issue.”
“The President’s speech in the Federal Parliament on Monday reaffirming his commitment to peace across the Asia-Pacific region was heartening, and we hope that includes a free Tibet and a democratic Hong Kong. Then we can all unreservedly celebrate our growing ties and emerging opportunities with China regarding our education, tourism, and agricultural sectors,” Mr Booth said.