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New Zealand Diverts Top Chinese Official Over Tibetan Protester


Officials in New Zealand canceled an official welcoming ceremony outside parliament Thursday for China's second-highest ranking official because of a Free-Tibet protest.

Green Party lawmaker Rod Donald said he had permission from the parliament's speaker to stand outside the building holding a Tibetan flag near where Wu Bangguo, chairman of China's National People's Congress was to pass. He says Chinese security officials tried to have him removed.

The office of Prime Minister Helen Clark says they were aware that the presence of the Tibetan flag would have caused what it called "gross offense" to the Chinese visitors.

Mr. Wu was instead driven to a side entrance.

Chinese troops entered Tibet in 1950. China says the Himalayan territory has been part of China for centuries, but many Tibetans say their region is independent.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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