Monday, November 30, 2009

My Op-Ed in the Globe and Mail

My Op-Ed "A more sophisticated engagement with China" appeared in the Globe and Mail on November 30 ( or; the later with expanded text but without illustration of cute cartoon of panda and beaver sitting together).  Happy to see my views get such a broad airing.

There are a couple of minor editing errors in the text in the Globe.  First is that China does not have a "Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation"  It has a Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  There are International Cooperation offices in other ministries that Canada engages.  The other is that Australia had a trade imbalance with China of 1.53:1 in 2004.  Today it is 1:1.

December 2: An expanded and improved version of  this Op-Ed appeared in The Ottawa Citizen on December 1 under the title "How to deal with China" (  The same version until the title "It's time for Canada to rethink the way it engages China" appeared in the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on December 2 (

December 10: The same version with the minor editing errors that was published in the Globe and Mail appeared in the Vancouver Sun on December 10 entitled "Canada's China policy needs a major overhaul" (

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lansdowne Lecture on "The past, present and future of Canada-China relations"

Exploring Canada-China Relations with Charles Burton

Exploring Canada-China Relations with Charles Burton
Charles Burton has been an observer of Chinese affairs for over 35 years, is the author of and editor of numerous books and articles about China, and is a frequent commentator in the Canadian and Chinese press, radio and TV on Chinese affairs.  Dr. Burton will giving the University of Victoria's prestigious Lansdowne Lecture on "The past, present and future of Canada-China relations" on Friday November 20, 2009 at 7:30 pm in Harry Hickman Room 110 which will kick-off CAPI's "Chinese Uncertainties and Canadian Responses in Light of the Global Financial Crisis" Conference on November 21 and 22, 2009.

Friday, November 13, 2009

USA Shuns Chinese State Media to Do Press Conference with Bloggers Only

Mark MacKinnon's item in the morning's Globe and Mail entitled "China equates Tibetan traditions with U.S. slavery " ( ends with an intriguing piece of information:
"In a rebuff of China's state-run media, the U.S. embassy in Beijing Thursday hosted a 'press conference' with 13 independent Chinese bloggers. No official media were invited."

This does strike me as a rather pointed comment on the lack of free press and honest reporting by the Communist Party controlled media in China.   As well it is a strong acknowledgement that thanks to new technologies Chinese people can nevertheless be reached with the facts via blogs.  While the Chinese blogs that report on the U.S. Embassy briefing will likely be taken down by the Chinese authorities soon after they publish, based on what I have seen in China last summer that will  not be before a large number of people have downloaded the content to their hard disks and re-distribute it via e-mail, USB drives, etc.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chinese Spokesman Qin Gang on Lincoln, Dalai Lama and Slavery

Asked about a possible meeting between Obama and the Dalai Lama, Qin said the U.S. president should recognize the exiled Tibetan leader, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, as the former head of a slave state.
"In 1959, China abolished the feudal serf system just as President Lincoln freed the black slaves. So we hope President Obama more than any other foreign state leader can have a better understanding on China's position on opposing the Dalai's splitting activities," Qin told reporters at a regularly scheduled news conference. (

Comment by me: Chinese authorities really don't do public diplomacy very well.  They grasp at straws to defend their Tibet policy very badly yet again.  But as Lincoln put it at the end of his address at Gettysburg, I do believe that China before long "shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Monday, November 02, 2009

Lansdowne Lecture: The past, present and future of Canada-China relations

Lansdowne Lecture: The past, present and future of Canada-China relations

Lansdowne Lecture: The past, present and future of Canada-China relations
November 20, 2009 - 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Harry Hickman Building, Room 110
University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia
Featuring Charles Burton, Brock University.
Charles Burton has been an observer of Chinese affairs for over 35 years. He began his career at the Communications Security Establishment of the Department of National Defence in 1981. Charles joined the Department of Political Science at Brock University in 1989. He was subsequently posted to China by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on two occasions. In 2006 he wrote a report for DFAIT Assessment of the Canada-China Bilateral that has been the subject of a study Human Rights Dialogue by the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. His most recent report on Canada-China relations A Reassessment of Canada's was released by the Canadian International Council Interests in China and Options for Renewal of Canada's China Policy earlier this year.
This lecture is presented by the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives through the University of Victoria's Lansdowne Lecture Series, with generous support from the Faculty of Humanities.