MUCH to the surprise of many it was announced at the recent meeting of Cramlington Town Council that it is proposed taxpayers should pay for the entertainment of a group of Chinese Communist Party officials to the town.
These people were invited by a councillor in their own private capacity.
This is not a visit which is, or should be, funded by the citizens of Cramlington.
These visitors are members of the same Communist Party which is now ‘cracking down’ on dissidents in China: Liu Xiaobo, the Nobel prize winner, languishes in gaol serving an 11-year sentence for some sort of ‘economic’ crime; and only recently Ai WeiWei, an artist and joint designer of the Birds Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing, was arrested and has now disappeared as he tried to board an aircraft to Hong Kong.
His wife does not know where he is or when he will re-emerge from his captivity.
Liu Xiaobo’s wife is under house arrest.
There are many others whose names are not known to us.
Plainly, the Chinese Communist Party has flouted the Human Rights of both these dissidents whose only ‘crime’ is to oppose the Communist government in China.
No decent citizen of Cramlington should associate with these visitors while this state of affairs exists, and certainly the taxpayer should not fund their dinner at Longhirst Hall Hotel.
Human Rights and freedom of expression are surely worth more than a dinner.
If a member of the town council wants to entertain these people then they should pay for it.