Hong Kong national security trial names two former New Zealand MPs

Kiwi MPs

A national security trial in Hong Kong has dredged up two former New Zealand MPs names.

They are former National MP Simon O’Connor and ex-Labour MP Louisa Wall.

Jimmy Lai and Andy Li

Catholic entrepreneur and democracy activist Jimmy Lai is on trial.

He founded the popular pro-democracy Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily. He was arrested in 2020 under a draconian national security law.

That law criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers. It applies throughout the world.

Lai faces two charges of conspiracy to collude with foreign forces.


Lai’s alleged links with the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (Ipac) is a focus of his trial.

Ipac is a trans-national cross-party grouping of politicians who are critical of China.

Jailed activist and former Ipac volunteer Andy Li has testified against Lai.

Li is thought to have been tortured before giving evidence, providing prosecutors with a statement against Lai.

He claimed Lai backed an Ipac push for sanctions against Hong Kong over the national security law.

Beijing imposed the 2020 law following pro-democracy protests in the city.

Ipac’s founder, Luke de Pulford, says Lai “had nothing whatsoever to do with any of my work on Hong Kong”.

The NZ MPs concerns

O’Connor and Wall wonder why, given the potential implications for their safety, foreign affairs officials didn’t know their names had featured in the national security trial proceedings.

Wall is “deeply concerned” about this.

“We urge the relevant authorities to promptly reach out to us and provide the necessary assistance and guidance to address this matter with the seriousness it warrants.”

She says it is concerning that MFAT seems unaware that she and O’Connor were mentioned during Lai’s trial.

She finds it “equally troubling that no one has yet contacted us directly”.

Why were Wall and O’Connor named?

Wall and O’Connor are former Ipac New Zealand co-chairs.

A news outlet claims their names came up on March 27.

That was when the prosecution asked Li to confirm he was responsible for publishing a joint statement from the pair on the organisation’s website in July 2020.

That statement asked the New Zealand government to rule out extraditions to Hong Kong under the national security law.

Wall and O’Connor argued the law “fundamentally compromises the democracy and rule of law in Hong Kong”.

MPs work misused

O’Connor says Hong Kong authorities appeared to be misusing MPs’ normal work.

The result is “a somewhat chilling effect” on public debate about China in New Zealand politics.

“I view it as a sham trial. That the normal work of a Member of Parliament here in New Zealand has been misused in a trial of good people [Lai and Li] is both inappropriate and quite upsetting.”

MFAT says it had “not been present at any sessions where New Zealand MPs were specifically mentioned”.


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News category: New Zealand.

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