An official ceremony at Parliament was temporarily shelved last night after the delegation of Chinese vice-premier Zeng Peiyan objected to journalists’ presence at a function.
A Government spokesman said there had been a misunderstanding over whether two journalists working for the same organisation were allowed at an official meet and greet.
Journalist Nick Wang and cameraman/editor Tony Clark went to an office on the eighth floor of the Beehive to document Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen meeting the Chinese vice-premier.
The photo opportunity had been listed in a media advisory.
Clark said the two men were prevented from properly doing their job after a “local Chinese intelligence guy” told a member of the Diplomatic Protection Squad that Wang was “a problem“.
While members of the Chinese media travelling with the delegation were allowed into the meeting room to observe the official handshake, Clark and Wang were escorted by a uniformed police officer to the office of Parliament’s Speaker.
Clark said he had been given permission to film on the premises by the Speaker. Wang is an accredited member of the Press Gallery which means he has a pass to allow him access to Parliament’s buildings.
Both men work for New Zealand Asia TV and Capital Chinese news, a New Zealand-based Chinese language newspaper. They produce a half-hour show on Triangle Television, reporting on Asian events in the Wellington region.
The chairwoman of Parliament’s Press Gallery Marie McNicholas was called after the Chinese delegation protested at the journalist’s presence.
The pair went to the Beehive venue where an official signing ceremony was to be held but the Chinese delegation refused to take part at the assigned time while Wong was there.
The official line was that the signing ceremony was held later because talks had gone on longer than expected.
The signing related to agreements on standards, technical documents that would have been agreed long in advance.