Huo ticked off for his Tibet's 'cruel history' blog

BY VERNON SMALL
Last updated 05:00 06/07/2010

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Labour list MP Raymond Huo has been slapped down by his leader after posting an opinion piece attacking the Dalai Lama and Tibet's "cruel history of serfdom" before Chinese rule.

His comments, on Labour's Red Alert blog, drew criticism from fellow MPs Phil Twyford and Darien Fenton and sparked the ticking off by leader Phil Goff.

A spokesman said Mr Goff had talked to Mr Huo to express his displeasure. "Raymond's comments are clearly not Labour policy. Labour supports the `One China policy' but has active dialogue with Chinese authorities in support of Tibetan people being able to express their own cultural and religious identity."

Mr Goff was particularly unhappy because Mr Huo had joined him on a recent trip to China, where Labour's stance on Tibet was made clear.

Mr Huo's blog queried whether Green co-leader Russel Norman's protest, during the visit of China Vice-President Xi Jinping, had called for Tibet to be freed from China "which put an end to the notoriously cruel system of serfdom on Tibet" or from the Dalai Lama. He said history was not as simple as Dr Norman suggested.

The Dalai Lama's followers saw him as a saint. "For others, he is viewed as the leader who supported a system of slavery in Tibet which the Chinese authorities put an end to in the 1950s."

An exhibition in Auckland's New Lynn in 2009 featured "Tibetan Lamaism instruments for worship ceremony" made of human parts including a skin drum, a finger bone necklace, a flute of human leg bone, skin from serfs (including children) and serfs' eyes gouged out for punishment.

Ms Fenton, who was a practising Tibetan Buddhist, said Mr Huo's comments about the exhibition were insulting. "Argue the politics by all means, but don't resort to stupid atrocity tales."

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