Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hong Kong police get ready to clear Occupy protest sites

Hong Kong police get ready to clear Occupy protest sites

So sadly predictable; exactly as I had thought would happen

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Op-Ed "Why is Harper in China? The ethnic vote. And money" - The Globe and Mail

Why is Harper in China? The ethnic vote. And money - The Globe and Mail

"Chinese media reports of the Harper visit focused on boosting relations, increasing trade and “building mutual trust.” This seems to mean trusting Beijing’s assurances that Ottawa should have no cause for concern about allegations of pervasive serious human rights abuse in China, or about Chinese cyber espionage threatening Canadian security. Indeed there were many photographs of Mr. Harper and his accompanying cabinet ministers laughing and smiling and giving the impression that they thoroughly enjoyed interacting with leaders of the Chinese Communist Party.

But it is hard to imagine that Mr. Harper was genuinely building bonds of friendship at his lengthy Friday meeting with Xiao Baolong, the Communist Party Secretary of Zhejiang province. Mr. Xiao is currently currying favour with the leadership in Beijing by systematically suppressing Christianity. Hundreds of churches have been ordered to remove visible crosses from their buildings, and many churches have been completely razed on the premise of “building code violations” – including the heart-rending destruction of the magnificent, recently constructed Sanjiang Cathedral that could seat 3,000 worshippers."

President Obama's Comments on China at APEC Opening Speech

"We look to China to create a more level playing field on which foreign companies are treated fairly," Obama said.

"We look to China to become an innovative economy that values the protection of intellectual property rights and rejects cybertheft of trade secrets for commercial gain."

He also called on China "to stand up for human rights and freedom of the press."


Friday, November 07, 2014

My Interview with China Daily

This past couple of weeks, I have been interviewed by Mainland China "media" about Canada-China relations.  None of them have been actually published in their ostensible outlets insofar as I am aware (CCTV, People's Daily, etc.).  But it is intriguing to see what the Chinese regime is interested in knowing about.  

Here is one done by e-mail yesterday with my responses:

The prime minister's meeting with Chinese President Xi - what do you think will be the main topics they will discuss?
There are broad range of topics of interest to both sides that will likely be on the agenda for the talks between the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of China. Certainly both will want to engage on trade and investment. Canada would like better access to the Chinese market to address the 3 to 1 trade imbalance between our countries. China would also like more assurances the Chinese state firms will have major investments in Canadian natural resources and infrastructure reviewed and approved approved by the Canadian government in a timely fashion. 
The Canadian government has alleged the Chinese state entities have engaged in cyber espionage on Canadian government computers in 2011 and earlier this year. Canada, like the other APEC nations who have similar concerns, would like a more fulsome assurance from the President of China that there will be no further incidents of this nature. 
There is also the consular case of Kevin and Julia Garratt who have been held without charge by the Chinese authorities for three months now. This matter is taken very seriously by Canadians so I'm sure the Prime Minister Harper will ask President Xi for an explanation of the nature of the evidence against them and will urge that they be given access to their lawyer and due process of law.

Will they discuss both countries response to Isis and Ebola?
These two matters will likely come up in multilateral discussions at APEC but I doubt that they will be major issues in the bilateral meeting between the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of China.

The ratification of FIPA (investment treaty) in September by Canada did this help to set a positive tone for the meeting.
I believe that this ratification in the face of considerable political opposition is expected to be answered by reciprocal gesture of goodwill on the part of the Government of China.

China doesn't like the restrictions on investment in Canada's energy sector by State-Owned firms - will there be any progress on this issue?
The Government of Canada can give an assurance to the Government of China that Canada welcomes Chinese state investment in our energy sector, but that Canada will not permit Chinese state firms to gain a majority controlling share in Canadian enterprises in our critical natural resources sector. 
China has much more stringent restrictions on foreign investment in the natural resources sector in China and we do not anticipate the China will make any reciprocal concessions as the Chinese government sees this as a matter of national security.

Friday, October 31, 2014

PMO announces that PM to visit China November 5-10

PM to visit China

“As the world’s second-largest economy and Canada’s second-largest single-country trading partner, China represents tremendous opportunities for Canada. I look forward to meeting with government and business leaders to further strengthen bilateral relations and lay an even broader framework of agreements that will enable Canadian businesses to truly take advantage of China’s large, diverse and dynamic economy.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Puzzling reporting by China Daily that PM will be attending APEC after all

"A senior Chinese diplomat confirmed that Harper will be in Beijing to attend the November APEC leaders meeting.
The confirmation followed comments from Harper's office this week suggesting that he had canceled plans to attend the APEC meeting in the wake of terror attacks in Canada that claimed the lives of two soldiers.There was even speculation that Harper would not attend the APEC event after relations with China hit a rocky patch earlier this year.China's Ambassador to Canada Luo Zhaohui said at a reception at his residence on Wednesday that Harper will pay an official visit and attend the annual gathering of the 21 APEC member economies."