Many of you may be familiar with the “Five Eyes” intelligence network. It’s an international coalition between the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, wherein they all share intelligence information to keep an eye on our global adversaries. Unfortunately, the Five Eyes is apparently now the Four Eyes. New Zealand recently refused to join their four partners in condemning the Chinese Communist Party for its repression of the people of Hong Kong. This has led the rest of the alliance to reconsider whether New Zealand can still be trusted with sensitive information or if they will simply be a pipeline to Beijing. (Washington Examiner)
In a sad reflection of New Zealand’s undermining of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, the Pacific nation just refused to join its four closest allies in condemning China’s repression in Hong Kong.
Responding to the Chinese Communist Party’s Kristallnacht-style crackdown in Hong Kong last week, the U.S., Australian, British, and Canadian foreign ministers released a joint statement on Saturday. These four of the Five Eyes partners offered “serious concern at the mass arrests of 55 politicians and activists in Hong Kong for subversion under the National Security Law.” Noting that the law “is a clear breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and undermines the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework,” the ministers suggested that “it is crucial that the postponed [Hong Kong] Legislative Council elections in September proceed in a fair way that includes candidates representing a range of political opinions.”
The government of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has proven to be a serious disappointment in this regard. It’s not as if the denunciation of the CCP was really all that scathing, nor were there any discussions of new sanctions. The other four countries were simply calling on the Chinese to allow free and fair elections like the ones that have been held in Hong Kong for decades.
That was still apparently a bridge too far for New Zealand. This is a sad trend that’s been going on for a while now. As the linked report reminds us, Prime Minister Ardern’s government has been increasingly desperate for Chinese trade and investments. This situation was exacerbated by Ardern’s strategy in “defeating” the novel coronavirus, which basically eliminated their entire tourism industry because travel to and from the country remains virtually impossible.
In return, China has increasingly sought to leverage its influence in New Zealand. The CCP has been applying pressure on Ardern to distance her nation from the Five Eyes network, even as the United States and Australia have been pushing back harder and causing friction. Perhaps the most obscene example of New Zealand’s obsequious approach to the CCP came to light when they allowed a Chinese intelligence official to take a seat in Parliament. (No, I’m not even making that up.)
The Chinese have also been buying up real estate in New Zealand at rock bottom prices and developing it for their own purposes. Not all of those investments are for commercial activity, either, if you catch my drift. At this point, it’s fair to ask if we should really be trusting New Zealand with the sensitive international intelligence collected by the rest of the western democracies in this network. The CCP already has spies everywhere in the western world, particularly in American colleges and universities where they scoop up technology and prominent scientists with their seeming bottomless bags of cash. Why make their work even easier for them?