Monday, April 17, 2006

Comment to a Friend at DFAIT about Chinese Immigration to Canada

I find it interesting that middle class urban residents of Beijing and other coastal cities with quite privileged lifestyle would still prefer to raise their children in Canada. I know a number of young couples like this. It is quite a sacrifice for the parents to try and re-make their lives in a non-Chinese environment with almost inevitable status dislocation and feelings of "exile." But they prefer that to remaining in China where all their friends and family are. This is quite an objective condemnation of the Chinese political and social system.

Addendum August 4: I attended to funeral of a Chinese friend today. He came to Canada in 1991 as a visiting scholar to an agricultural research institute. He had been an associate professor of agronomy in China. Shortly thereafter he changed his status to Canadian permanent resident and brought his wife and daughter to join him in St. Catharines. The research institute keep him on on contract until 2000 but then the funding ran out. His qualifications being unrecognized in Canada he could not obtain another position as an agronomist. So he eventually bought a convenience store and worked long, lonely hours to support his family and pay to put his daughter through university. His daughter graduated this spring. In a state of severe depression my friend hung himself last week. He was 56 years old at time of death.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Has the Six-Party Talks Process Run Its Course? (submitted to CanKor #245)

The Six Party Talks are intended to lead to the DPRK regime providing verifiable evidence that it poses no nuclear threat to the U.S., China, Russia, Japan and the ROK. Once it is ensured that the DPRK has no capacity to explode a nuclear bomb, presumably the next step would be to induce the DPRK to come into compliance with other international norms. The domestic institutional changes necessary to come into compliance would threaten the existing political status quo in North Korea. So the DPRK does not find it in its interest to initiate such a process by ceasing to project a perception that it poses a nuclear threat to neighbouring countries. So the Talks make no substantive progress. Mostly they seem to wile away the months and years in negotiations about the process. In the long term this could end up badly.