The justification given by the Embassy Admin Section for mandatory retirement of locally engaged staff is that it is a Chinese practice to require women to retire at 55 and men at 60. There is no Chinese law requiring this in fact, only internal procedures in the state sector that are full of loopholes. In fact most Chinese women continue working past 55 and most Chinese men continue past 60. And anyway there is nothing that requires the Government of Canada to follow Chinese labour practices at our Embassy in China. China is not an exemplar of progressive human resources practices after all. Anyway we do not apply these to the Canadian diplomatic staff as a courtesy to our host nation. That would definitely not go over well with PAFSO.
The bottom line appears to be that the Embassy prefers younger more attractive and more energetic Chinese people in our employ. Until a few years ago my employer, Brock University would have forced me to retire at age 65, but thanks to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms this is no longer the case for me. I expect my future more wrinkly self to be able to enjoy the dignity of work until I decide myself that it is time for me to hand over my courses on Chinese Politics and International Human Rights to some fresh-faced newly minted Ph.D. Canada has determined that this is my human right.
The Embassy's discriminatory mandatory retirement requirment for Chinese staff only is simply morally wrong. The crux of them matter is: are we prepared to treat the people under our authority with the same dignity as we treat our fellow Canadians? Respect for universal entitlement to human rights is a principle that expresses in things great and small. If we flaunt human rights in the small stuff of personnel management in China, what does it say for the much more serious and challenging and complicated issues of human rights in our treatment of people under our authority in Afghanistan?