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New Zealand opposition leader Simon Bridges criticized for ‘startling’ comments on China

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Simon Bridges

New Zealand’s opposition leader Simon Bridges is blamed for taking over the administration’s foreign policy in the wake of showing what China experts define as a “startling” approach when he visited Beijing and met a politburo member associated with the secret police.

A week ago, Simon Bridges was on a five-day visit to China and among his commitments was a meeting with Politburo member Guo Shengkun. Guo was prior responsible for the ministry of public security. He is currently serving as a Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission, which supervises all law implementation, including the secret police.

In a TV interview with the Chinese state-owned media association CGTN, Bridges said that his idea of China’s advancement and growth was one of “amazement.” “It was continually changing, and it continues to develop; you can feel the growth.”

“The most recent 70 years, China has seen the most amazing economic development ever; it has brought out more people from poverty than ever before.” “It’s a stunning story, and it’s one that the New Zealanders will identify with too as we have been direct recipients of it.”

Bridges later posted on Facebook: “Today China’s economy has evolved, and they are sincerely proud of lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”

A Canterbury University professor, Anne Marie Brady a specialist on Chinese politics, described Guo as “caretaker of China’s secret police.”

She stated that the Communist party utilized connections with other parties to form links with other governments. They consequently offered “status, excursions to China and BRI [Belt and Road Initiative] events, also access to CCP [Chinese Communist Party] leaders for business openings.” The Guardian news reported.

As per the Guardian news reports, other political analysts resounded Brady’s alarm at the meeting. Stephen Noakes, a senior speaker in Chinese governmental issues at Auckland college, tweeted: “Bridges’ remarks re Xi’s China are bonkers.” David Capie, executive of the center for strategic studies at Victoria University of Wellington, depicted Bridges’ remarks to CGTN as “remarkable.”

Bridges was asked regarding the continuous distress in Hong Kong and seemed to divert from the New Zealand government’s caution stance by again admiring China and failing to comment on the protest for democratic rights.

“We understand and acknowledge China’s sovereignty in Hong Kong. We need to see a peaceful solution. I think the ongoing steps around the extradition bill, to expel it, that has been optimistic,” Bridges stated.

Bridges representative refused to comment if the opposition leader was aware about Guo’s connections to the secret police; however, he said that China visit was paid for out of Bridges budget.

According to the Guardian news, Bridges later told the New Zealand media that his China visit had been exaggerated and misrepresented. He also said, concerning Guo that “You’re coming in about this guy, he’s the secret police guy, and he is one of the leaders of China – in the top 25 – He is their law and order spokesperson. I will state with the immense respect, be a bit responsible,’’ Bridges responded.

Article Credit:- the Guardian

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