Todd McClay, the bag-man who facilitated the Simon Bridges donation currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, is now copping more flak for echoing official Chinese Government talking points. Newshub reports:

National MP Todd McClay has been accused of “echoing” the Chinese government to “justify mass detentions” in Xinjiang, in a damning new report about China’s growing global influence. 

McClay is criticised in the report for how he has characterised facilities in China’s Xinjiang region – often described as “detention camps” – where it’s understood millions of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities are detained.  

“New Zealand lawmaker Todd McClay recently referred to the forced indoctrination camps for Muslim minorities in Xinjiang as ‘vocational training centREs,’ echoing the terminology used by the Chinese government and state media to justify the mass detentions.

China says its ‘vocational training centres’ provide counter-terrorism training and psychological counselling for those affected by “extremist thoughts”, but former detainees have spoken of torture and brainwashing.

The new report, by US government-funded Freedom House, also mentions McClay’s attendance in December 2017 at a dialogue in Beijing organised by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s International Liaison Department. 

A spokesperson for McClay told Newshub it was “disappointing this report has taken two things and placed them out of context”. 

National seems to continue to have a very cosy relationship with China. Remember Simon Bridges said he thinks Chinese candidates have more value to him and National than Indian candidates.

This probably explains why it is rumoured that National intends having two Chinese list candidates in winnable positions for this year’s elections. The rumours are that those positions are the result of a couple of hundred thousand in donations. I guess we will have to wait and see when National releases their list closer to the election.

Meanwhile, there is an awful lot of circumstantial evidence that National is supportive of ‘Belt and Road‘. Little men sitting in big chairs and now their Foreign Affairs spokesman parroting Chinese talking points isn’t a good look.

Little men sitting in big chairs.