Thursday, February 08, 2007

Comment to a Friend in China about the Celil case

I think it is important that Canada make no sign of accepting the Chinese Government claim that Canadian citizenship acquired by refugees from China is invalid. So regardless of "success or failure" Canadian diplomats should just remain in Urumqi as a objective gesture of protest. After reading the Chinese MFA press briefing I realize that this is also about the Chinese authorities unhappiness that we give refugee status to people from the PRC that are deemed to be at risk of political persecution if returned to China.

The Chinese language release posted below uses word "nanmin" (refugee) and reads in part:
"Yushanjiang was born in Xinjiang. In 2001 he was accepted by Canada as a refugee. In 2006 while in Uzbekistan he was arrested by the Uzbeki authorities. He was deported back to China on the grounds of suspicion that he participated in terrorist activities" Yushanjiang is Celil's Chinese name. The reference to being accepted by Canada as a refugee is not a random comment in there in my view.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've gotten to know many classmates from mainland China in my current program. They are kind, intelligent, articulate in their second language, and speak thoughtfully on issues like nationalism, inequality, justice, etc. They are also, almost without exception, ambivalent towards the idea of democracy. Even in discussion of things like corruption or property rights, problems for which (to us) the solutions seem inextricably linked to democracy, there is no insistence among these peers of mine that it's a necessary or enabling condition for further development. Often it is the opposite; the state is defended as a guarantor of stability, the benefits from which its citizens may draw. So long as the promise of wealth is something they feel they can share in, it's as though they are inclined to excuse, rationalize, or defend indiscretions we would consider to be human rights abuses. My impression is that policies like those reflected in the handling of the Celil case aren't generally considered, among Chinese, to be something that could be socially destabilizing. Among this group (admittedly small) I haven't been given reason to believe that the government will face any degree of domestic pressure that would force it to initiate broader reforms. Maybe objective gestures of protest by countries like Canada can influence this mindset, but I think it will be in small and incremental ways.