Saturday, September 22, 2007

RE: Chinese brothers lose court battle to stay in Canada

AFP - Saturday, September 22
VANCOUVER, Canada (AFP) - - Two Chinese brothers accused by China of embezzling tens of millions of dollars lost a legal battle Friday in their fight to avoid deportation from Canada.
The Federal Court of Canada refused to overturn orders to deport the brothers, Li Dongzhe and Li Donghu, from the country.
The siblings also lost their appeal of Canada's refusal to consider their refugee applications, which had been denied on the grounds that they were already under a removal order.
The Federal Court said their applications were "without foundation in fact and in law."
The brothers, who arrived the Pacific coast city of Vancouver in December 2004, were arrested on February 23.
China accuses the Li brothers, along with a third man, Chinese banker Gao Shan, of involvement in embezzling more than 100 million dollars from a Chinese bank.
The Federal Court's ruling allows Canadian official to begin a process to determine if siblings are at risk of facing the death penalty if they are sent back to China.
Canada does not have capital punishment, and therefore cannot legally deport people to countries where they could be killed or tortured.
The Pre-Removal Risk Assessment process can take more than six months, said Citizenship and Immigration Department spokeswoman Lois Reimer.

Comment by me: It seems it is impossible under present conditions for Canada to return fugitives from Chinese justice to China to be made accountable for their crimes. This is due to Canadian judges' rulings questioning whether Chinese Government assurances that the returnees will not suffer unnatural death after return or be subject to treatment in prison that falls short of UN-mandated standards can be relied upon. Problem is that Canada does not want to become a haven for Chinese corrupt officials/mobsters and that their "getting away with it" by touching base in Canada and making a refugee claim is clearly morally wrong.

Re: AFP Report : China orders strict curbs on 'Idol'-style TV shows

AFP - Saturday, September 22
BEIJING (AFP) - - China has ordered strict curbs on "American Idol"-style TV shows, including a ban on voting via the Internet, telephone or text messages, state media reported Saturday.
The rules also say participants must be healthy and mature, while hosts of the reality TV programmes should not flirt with each other or be nasty.
Such talent shows have become hugely popular in China, with new programmes based on the same basic concept proliferating on TV channels right across the vast nation.
Inviting the public to cast votes had been seen by some observers as, in a small way, education in democratic procedures.
But when the latest rules from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television take effect October 1, only the studio audience will be allowed to vote, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Also, the shows will no longer be broadcast during prime time evening hours between 7:30 pm and 10:30 pm, Xinhua said, presumably a measure meant to curb the viewership.
It appeared one reason for the crackdown was a view that participants were negative role models for the young.
"TV stations must select qualified candidates who show characteristics such as perseverance, maturity, confidence, and health," Xinhua quoted the rules as saying.
"The hairstyle, dress and remarks of candidates should accord with aesthetic values of the general public."
The rules also warned hosts against "flirting with each other," and making "inflammatory or sensational remarks," according to Xinhua.

Comment by me: But another aspect is that these shows are hard for the State Ministry of Radio, TV and Film and for the Party Central Committee Ministry of Propaganda to fully control due to the aspect of democratic vote by ordinary people inherent in their design. I believe that the régime sees them as a potential threat to the established order under leadership of the Party, if entertainment continued to develop along these "wild" lines.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

My List of 5 Great Political Science Books as Requested by the Brock University Political Science Students Association

Mencius, The Mencius
Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War
Alexis DeTocqueville, Democracy in America
Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation
George Grant, Lament for a Nation

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Translation of report in Singtao Daily about Human Rights Dialogue based on internal Government materials obtained through Access to Information

Chinese Department Downgraded, Canada China Human Rights Dialogue Takes an Unexpected Turn (rough translation by me)

Report by Singtao Daily correspondent Mary Yang; September 7, 2007
A Federal Government internal communication indicates that the Chinese Government agreed to postpone the Canada-China Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue, so as to allow for mutually agreed reformatting of the activity. But Beijing shortly thereafter at the beginning of this year transferred the responsibility for the Dialogue from the Human Rights Division of the Chinese Foreign Ministry to the geographic branch (the Americas and Oceania Directorate). This has caused concern.
Internal documents that Singtao Daily was able to obtain through the "Access to Information Act" indicate that Ottawa finds it difficult to measure the effectiveness and progress made by the annual Canada-China annual human rights dialogue. The Canadian authorities have already begun initial discussions on the 10th round of Dialogue. The Chinese Foreign Ministry initially adopted an open attitude to reforming the dialogue and agreed to postponing it to allow for sufficient time to come up with a mutually agreed reformatting of the activity.
The Human Rights Dialogue between Canada and China was initiated in 1997 by the previous Liberal government. There have been 9 rounds to far, the most recent one held in 2005. A report assessing the Dialogue, that the authorities commissioned the scholar Charles Burton to write, stresses that if the Dialogue is to become a more effective instrument to promote human rights in China, it is necessary to reconsider its structure and content.
An internal document obtained by the Singtao Daily written to as a brief last December in preparation for a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister, Yang Jiechi, indicates that the Canadian side intended to solicit the views of of Mr. Yang on reforming the Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue.
An e-mailed internal communication from an Ottawa official, issued prior to a January meeting between Canadian officials in Beijing and officials of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed the hope that both the Canadian and Chinese sides would recognize that the Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue needs to be improved. The Canadian side would draft up some proposals and a work plan and hoped that they could work collaboratively with the Chinese Foreign Ministry in fulfilling this plan for improvement. They then could discuss the timing of the next round of the Dialogue.
But after this meeting an e-mailed report from a Canadian official reveals that the Chinese Foreign Ministry made a formal diplomatic communication to the Canadian side indicating that the department responsible for the Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue would no longer be the Human Rights Division, but that it would be transferred to the geographic branch (the Americans and Oceania Directorate). This decision to take effect immediately and to be irrevocable. The Canadian official stressed the importance of the Dialogue to Canada and expressed concern that the geographic branch lacks capacity and expertise in human rights.
Charles Burton indicated that this sort of adjustment is unprecedented, "a clear downgrading" as the Americas and Oceanian Directorate is responsible for Canada, the United States and Oceanian affairs and has no functional responsibility for human rights. He pointed out that this shift indicates that China is reversing itself on human rights and weakening the Human Rights Dialogue. This will make is more difficult for Canada to engage in dialogue with China in future.
The Canadian official also expressed the wish that the Human Rights Division would continue with the Dialogue and share their experience and knowledge with the Americas and Oceanian Directorate.
The Chinese official indicated that if the Americas and Oceanian Directorate requested it, the Human Rights Division could provide them with advice.
The Singtao Daily telephoned the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa but up to press time did not receive any response.
Charles Burton believes that if China is not willing to make the Human Rights Dialogue a meaningful activity, then Canada can adopt other means to promote human rights in China, through the United Nations, or by establishing a new institution to promote democracy, or in other ways.

Chinese original of this report can be found at: Please advise me of any errors in translation (

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Comment on Xinhua Report "China clamps 'hostile forces' for congress"

This report appeared in the China Daily and other Chinese media this week:

(Xinhua)Updated: 2007-09-07 20:50
The Chinese police will intensify its crackdown on "hostile forces and evil cults" in the run-up to the 17th national congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), police chief Zhou Yongkang has said.
"All police should strengthen information collecting work to closely monitor and strike hard on overseas and domestic hostile forces, ethnic splittists, religious extremists, violent terrorists and the Falun Gong cult so as to safeguard national security and social stability," Zhou, minister of public security, told a police meeting.
He warned "the country was going through a period of outstanding disputes among the people, increased crime rates and complex struggles against hostile forces".

Comment by me: It is hard to assess to what extent these "outstanding disputes among the people" and "complex struggles against hostile forces" threaten the bases for the authority of the current régime in China. But their nature seems qualitatively more significant than the purported threat of "class struggle" and "hostile foreign forces" railed against when the Chinese Communist Party was still actively promoting revolution (culiminating in the Cultural Revolution which is now officially deemed by the régime as "ten years of disaster").