Monday, November 29, 1999

NZ lawmaker clashes with Chinese security

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A New Zealand lawmaker holding a Tibetan flag clashed on Friday with Chinese officials during a visit by China's vice president to the country's parliament, local media reported.Russel Norman, co-leader of the minority Green Party, was holding the flag and calling out for democracy in Tibet as Xi Jinping arrived at the parliament building for a round of official meetings.A small group of China supporters, including several identified as security officials, tried to block Norman with an umbrella and then grabbed the Tibetan flag from him, media said."I think it's pretty outrageous that Chinese security can come to our country and push around an elected member of parliament simply because we are standing up for democracy and freedom in our own country on our own parliamentary grounds," the NZ Press Association reported Norman as saying after the incident.Norman said he was roughed up and his flag trampled, and he would make a complaint to New Zealand parliamentary officials about his treatment.Xi Jinping is on a short visit to New Zealand with a large delegation of business executives and officials.(Reporting by Gyles Beckford; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

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