Chinese dissident "re-invited" to Auckland Uni

A controversial Chinese activist has been "re-invited" to speak at the University of Auckland.

Rebiya Kadeer arrives in New Zealand tomorrow for three days, during which she was to speak at two public meetings, visit Parliament and meet MPs.

However, one of the meetings, at the University of Auckland, was cancelled after the university refused to let the Greens on Campus book a lecture theatre for it, saying it had security concerns.

But law lecturer Professor David Williams, who specialises in indigenous rights issues and legal history, said Ms Kadeer's voice needed to be heard and he had booked a room for her to speak in on Tuesday.

"In the event that university officers again seek to revoke a room booking for a talk by Rebiya Kadeer, Prof Williams will ask her and (Green MP) Keith Locke to arrive for the scheduled meeting," he said.

"It is (my) hope that university security personnel will not be called upon to prevent the exercise of free speech in the premises of a New Zealand law faculty with a deservedly fine reputation for human rights scholarship and teaching.

"Rebiya Kadeer is the sort of person whose voice needs to be listened to (and, if necessary, disagreed with by those with the knowledge to challenge her). Her voice should not be silenced in a university."

Ms Kadeer is from Xinjiang, a mainly Muslim province of 20 million Uighur in western China.

She was jailed for six years for speaking out on what she saw as human rights violations and discrimination against the Uighur.

Released after an international outcry, she now promotes the Uighur cause from her base in the United States.

The Chinese government put pressure on the Australian and Taiwanese governments not to grant her a visa.

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