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International relations

New Zealand 'shadow boxes' over Xinjiang amid pressure to speak up

Analysts say parliament declaration without 'genocide' likely kept China happy

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2019: Ardern is walking a fine line between criticizing Beijing on human rights and preserving economic ties.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- A New Zealand parliament motion this week condemning rights abuses against Xinjiang's Uyghur population drew Chinese criticism, but analysts say the most important word was the one missing from the declaration -- "genocide."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's government has appeared to tiptoe around sensitive China issues, wary of provoking the backlash experienced by Australia since it called for an inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 last year. But Wellington also feels growing international pressure to stand up to Beijing.

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