10 Sep 2019

Guo Shengkun a Chinese minister, not secret police - Bridges

6:45 pm on 10 September 2019

The National Party leader says it's not a fair and accurate characterisation to say he met a member of the Chinese secret police while overseas last week.

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Photo: RNZ / DOM THOMAS

Simon Bridges met with Guo Shengkun on his five-day visit to China.

Anne-Marie Brady, a Canterbury University professor and expert on Chinese politics, has described Guo Shengkun as being the leader of the Chinese secret police.

But Mr Bridges said who he met with was effectively a Chinese minister.

"You're coming in about this guy, he's the secret police guy, what he is is one of the leaders of China - in the top 25 - who is their justice and law and order spokesperson. I'd say with the greatest respect, be a bit responsible,'' Mr Bridges told media today.

He said going to China doesn't mean he agreed with everything they did.

"It's simply, this is an incredibly important country for New Zealand, frankly it's why we didn't have a GFC as hard as we could.

"We trade with it more than any other country and it's right that I go there as someone who is wanting to be the next Prime Minister of New Zealand,'' he said.

Mr Bridges said he did raise concerns about human rights abuses but wouldn't detail who he raised them with.

"Of course we disagree with them on human rights... of course we don't like what's happening in Hong Kong and we want a peaceful resolution.

"But to run the sort of woke line that some of you love so much on Twitter, that somehow means we shouldn't be visiting and we shouldn't be having a relationship with a superpower that we trade more with than any other country in the world, I think is pretty irresponsible.''

He denied suggestions he was cosying up to the secret Chinese police.

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