Thursday, May 28, 2009

PM Announcement of David Mulroney as Ambassador to China

PM announces appointment of Canada's Ambassador to the People's Republic of China

27 May, 2009
Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today the appointment of David Mulroney, currently Deputy Minister of the Afghanistan Task Force in the Privy Council Office, as Canada’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.

“David Mulroney brings foreign policy expertise and proven leadership to this position, making him ideally suited to represent Canada in our important relationship with China,” said the Prime Minister. “Mr. Mulroney has made an invaluable contribution to his country as Deputy Minister of the Afghanistan Task Force and he will continue to represent Canada with great distinction.”

A career public servant and diplomat, Mr. Mulroney has held positions of increasing responsibility within the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Privy Council Office. Mr. Mulroney first joined the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1982, serving abroad in Seoul, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Taipei. In 2001, he was appointed as Assistant Deputy Minister, first for the Asia-Pacific Region, then for broader Bilateral Relations. In 2006, he joined the Privy Council Office as Foreign and Defence Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister. Mr. Mulroney served as Associate Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Personal Representative to the G8 Summit from 2007 to 2008. In February 2008, Mr. Mulroney was appointed as Deputy Minister of the Afghanistan Task Force in the Privy Council Office.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

China Background of Current UK Ambassador to China

Sir William Ehrman was appointed as Her Majesty's Ambassador to the People's Republic of China in January 2006.

Sir William joined the British Diplomatic Service in 1973 after graduating from Cambridge University with a first class Honours degree in Chinese. After language study in Hong Kong, he was posted to Beijing from 1976 to 1978. Sir William subsequently served in the UK Mission to United Nations before returning to Beijing in 1983 where he served as a member of the negotiating team on the future of Hong Kong. Sir William was later appointed Political Adviser to the Governor of Hong Kong from 1989 to 1993.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Notice of Talk: "What the Rise of China Means for Canada"

What the Rise of China Means for Canada

May 21, 2009 8:00pm to 9:00pm


DATE: Thursday May 21, 2009

PLACE: President¹s Room, Saskatoon Club, 417 - 21st Street East (Dinner ­ Main Floor)

TIME: 8:00 p.m.

SPEAKER: Dr. Charles Burton, Professor of Political Science, Brock University, and CIC Research Associate

TOPIC: What the Rise of China Means for Canada

The ascent of China to greater heights on the world stage has coincided with Canada's progressive loss of political and financial influence within this region. Dr Burton's research leads to the proposition that Canada desperately needs to renew its China policy. Join us as Dr Burton leads us through his research as he proposes some of the steps our country needs to take to adapt to these new realities.

Charles Burton is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Brock University. Dr Burton's position as Research Associate in the Canadian International Council is a recent accolade in an academic career has taken him, among other places, Cambridge University, University of Toronto, and Fudan University in Shanghai. He has written extensively on China and North Korea, and his expertise has been utilized by Department of National Defence and the Canadian Embassy in Beijing.

DINNER: If you plan to attend the dinner, please meet at 6:00 p.m. Cost per person is $24.00. Please call Virginia or Tanis at 966-4654 by Tuesday, May 19, 2009, before 4:00 p.m. Calls cannot be accepted after that time.

Reservations for dinner cannot be made for persons who call late.

Reservations will be made for all persons who call on time and such persons will be expected to pay even if they can not or do not attend. Persons with reservations who cannot attend, are encouraged to find someone else to take their place.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Tiananmen, 20 ans plus tard

Tiananmen, 20 ans plus tard


Cai Chongguo

Réfugié politique en France depuis 1989 et

et auteur de J'étais à Tian An'men

Charles Burton

Politicologue de l’Université Brock


Rowena Xiaoqing He

Chercheuse au Fairbank Centre for Chinese Studies

de l’Universtité Harvard

Lundi 1 juin 2009

19 h

Centre d’archives de Montréal

535, avenue Viger Est

(Métro Berri-UQAM)

RSVP : ou (514) 283-6073 poste 227

Cai Chongguo, originaire de Wuhan en Chine, il vit en France depuis 1989 où il a été reçu comme le réfugié politique à la suite du massacre de la Place Tiananmen. Il est rédacteur en chef de l'édition chinoise du China Labour Bulletin. Il est l'auteur de Chine: l'envers de la puissance (Mango, Paris, 2005) et de J'étais à Tian An'men (L'Esprit du Temps, Paris, 2009

Charles Burton est diplômé du programme d’histoire de la pensée chinoise ancienne du Département de philosophie de l’Université Fudan. Il a été conseiller aux affaires politiques à l’ambassade du Canada en Chine de 1991 à 1993 et de 1998 à 2000. Il enseigne au Département de science politique de l’Université Brock depuis 1989.

Rowena Xiaoqing He est chercheuse invitée au Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies de l’Université Harvard et détentrice d'une bourse de perfectionnement post-doctoral du Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada. Elle s’intéresse plus particulièrement à la vie politique dans la société chinoise, à l’éducation citoyenne et à la démocratie.

June 7: An excellent summary of the discussions that evening can be found at:

From Tiananmen ‘89 to Charter ‘08: China’s Road to Democracy

Toronto Association for Democracy in China

Tiananmen + 20

Public Forum

From Tiananmen ‘89 to Charter ‘08: China’s Road to Democracy

May 31, 2009 (Sunday) 1 - 4 pm

Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) Auditorium
University of Toronto, 252 Bloor St. West, Toronto



Chair, Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education


Hon. Consiglio DI NINO

Senator, Canadian Parliament

Panel One: Looking Back


Ph.D. Harvard University and former Tiananmen student leader

CAI Chongguo

China Labour Bulletin, France and former union organizer


Writer-Journalist and former Globe and Mail Beijing bureau chief



Panel Two: Moving Forward

Charles BURTON

Professor of Political Science, Brock University and former attaché, Canadian Embassy, Beijing

GAO Wenqian

Senior Policy Advisor, Human Rights in China and former official biographer of Zhou Enlai

Rowena HE Xiaoqing

SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University

Cheuk KWAN


Supporting Organizations

Amnesty International, Canada-Hong Kong Link, China Labour Bulletin,

China Rights Network, Federation for a Democratic China,

Human Rights in China, PEN Canada, Rights and Democracy

U.S. appoints Utah Governor with fluent Mandarin as Ambassador to China

A Republican governor whose name has come up as a potential challenger to President Barack Obama in 2012 intends go to work for the president as ambassador to China, a source close to the governor said. Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who is fluent in Mandarin Chinese from his days as a Mormon missionary in Taiwan, has accepted the appointment, said the source, who would speak only on condition of anonymity ahead of a White House announcement expected Saturday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

China's Zhao decries June 4 "tragedy" from the grave

There are reports today that a memoir by Zhao Ziyang based on tapes made secretly over his years of house arrest will be published in an English-language version by Simon and Schuster entitled Prisoner of the State. See:

I am sceptical of the reliability of this document unless the tapes it is allegedly transcribed from can be made available.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010) and China's Political Future

The Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China issued the "National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010)" on April 13. It responds to Recommendation 5 of the "Report of the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of China" issued on March 3 which calls on China to publish and "swiftly implement" a human rights action plan "as soon as possible." It was also issued in the context of the high degree of publicity given inside and outside China to the "Charter 08" a manifesto signed by over 303 prominent Chinese intellectuals and human rights activists to promote political reform and democratization in the People's Republic of China released in December 2008 to mark the 60th anniversary of the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Plan is strong on promotion of economic, social and cultural rights indicating that the Government of China "strives to ensure that all the people enjoy their rights to education, employment, medical and old-age care, and housing." The document also acknowledges "the principle that all kinds of human rights are interdependent and inseparable." Thus, the Action Plan "encourages the coordinated development of economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights." But while China signed the UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1998, progress to ratification has been very slow. Moreover, the Action Plan makes no concrete reference to future Chinese Government intentions with regard to issues that had been highlighted in Charter 08 such as movement to genuine electoral democracy, independence of China's judiciary, true freedom of the press, or the right of citizenship to participate in freely formed organizations including trade unions, religious organizations, and associations who function to influence public opinion on issues including environmental and ethnic concerns. In mid-January, China's number 4-ranked official, Jia Qinglin published an article in the theoretical journal Qiu Shi that the Chinese Communist Party should "build a defensive line against interference by erroneous Western ideas" rejecting the suitability of a multiparty system or separation of powers for China.

Nevertheless the Action Plan does include some concrete commitments such as "Effective measures shall be taken to prohibit such acts as corporal punishment, abuse, insult of detainees or the extraction of confessions by torture. All interrogation rooms must impose a physical separation between detainees and interrogators. The state establishes and promotes the system of conducting a physical examination of detainees before and after an interrogation."

The above example notwithstanding, in general while this Human Rights Action Plan is short on specific commitments, it does empower human rights discourse in China by the simple fact of the existence of a such an authoritative government statement on human rights to which the Government of China can be held accountable. Hopefully the National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2009-2010) will lead to greater respect for the rights of citizenship of people in China by political authorities at all levels in China in years ahead.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chinese Ambassador Lan Lijun Statement to Senate For Aff Ctee April 29 that DFAIT had Intention to Revive the Canada-China Human Rights Dialogue

"China is willing to conduct human rights dialogues with other countries to exchange ideas, to have a better understanding and to improve where we need to improve. With Canada, we had established a human rights dialogue. We conducted human rights dialogues on several rounds, but due to reasons on Canada's part, that dialogue has been stopped. I understand the government has an intention to revive that mechanism."

I believe that the concerns expressed in my 2006 report for DFAIT on the Human Rights Dialogue are still valid. It can be read here:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Good News About Minister Cannon's Meetings in Beijing

There is a report of an interview that Bill Schiller of the Toronto Star had with the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs earlier today:
I am particularly taken with this part of Bill Schiller's report:
"Cannon also revealed that Canada was looking at a 'new mechanism' to deal with concerns about human rights in China and that the Chinese were 'open' to the idea.
Canada suspended its formal human rights dialogue with China in 2006, following a report from the Canadian foreign affairs ministry saying that the discussion format and results were ineffectual. They dialogue has not been resumed since.
Cannon insisted that the Harper government would never abandon its principles on the issue of human rights.' When I talk about "frank" (discussions), I'm specifically talking about being able to say, to our partner, what we believe is important in terms of human rights,' Cannon said.
'I certainly want to be able to reassure Canadians that we have not changed our principled approach on this. That is still there. As long as Stephen Harper is Prime Minister of Canada, I can guarantee that's going to be there. It's part of our DNA," he said.'

Mr. Cannon had a 2.5 hour working lunch with the Chinese Foreign Minister and an unusual 40 minute meeting the Vice-President Xi Jinping.

I feel quite encouraged by the preliminary reports of this visit.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Theoretical Bottom Line on Human Rights Issue in China

I think more and more that all the issues are expressions of a deeper problem that the Chinese leadership and population in general does not understand much less internalize the meaning and important value of citizenship. To solve any of China's myriad human rights problems in a thoroughgoing way this has to be solved. If this is solved then all of the problems could be addressed meaningfully.

Report: 5,335 students dead/missing in China quake

Charles Burton
07 May 11:59
Report: 5,335 students dead/missing in China quake

Very hard to understand why Chinese Government refuses to acknowledge that there are problems in school construction due to corruption. Children are at risk in substandard school buildings built below code minimum standards with inadequately reinforced concrete, etc.
or here.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Letter from Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China to Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs

I very strongly endorse the contents of the letter sent on May 6, 2009 to Lawrence Cannon by the Canadian Coalition on Human Rights in China. It can be read here.