Saturday, January 29, 2011

China's baby steps toward world currency domination

"The government has also started to allow yuan to leave the country, with qualified Chinese enterprises directing investments overseas. The three U.S. branches of the state-owned Bank of China are also now offering yuan accounts to its American customers.
The much-maligned currency regime, meanwhile, has allowed the yuan to rise to a 17-year high.
The amount of trading under these new programs is minimal. But China's first tentative steps toward the globalization of its currency are perceived as signs of fundamental progress, said Charles Burton, a former counsellor at the Canadian embassy in Beijing.
"They're able to engage in measures that provide reassurance to the West that they are genuinely intending to move towards market regulation of the currency exchange rate," said Mr. Burton, who is also a research associate at the Canadian International Council and an associate professor at Brock University."

Friday, January 21, 2011

My interview with Radio Canada International on China-West relations

My interview with Radio Canada International on China-West relations broadcast today

China to Rein In North Korea, U.S. Official Says -

President Obama warned President Hu Jintao that if China did not step up its pressure on North Korea, the United States would have to redeploy its forces in Asia to protect itself from a potential North Korean strike on American soil, a senior administration official said Thursday.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My Op-Ed on China Policy in Globe and Mail this Morning

"Hu Jintao is President of the People's Republic of China, chairman of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Unlike leaders in the West, he is not constrained by his national constitution or the rule of law. He does not answer to a democratic legislature, or to public opinion as articulated by a free press. One would think that Mr. Hu would therefore be an autocratic dictator who has the final word on everything.
But the reality is quite different from our own Prime Minister, for whom it can truly be said the "buck stops here" for all aspects of Canadian government programming, domestic or foreign."

Monday, January 17, 2011

The "weakest leader" of China's Communist era?

I agree with this analysis from the New York Times:
@markmackinnon: The "weakest leader" of China's Communist era? NYT on the limits of Hu Jintao:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

US Concerned About DPRK Missile Program

@markmackinnon: RT @BBCWorld: North Korea could develop inter-continental ballistic missile in five years: US Secretary for Defense Robert Gates

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gates’s Misconceived Trip to Beijing - Gordon G. Chang

Chang makes the point that the Chinese Government perceives conciliatory gestures by Western powers as signs of weakness. They do not elicit reciprocity as intended.
Gordon Chang "Gates's Misconceived Trip to Beijing"

Friday, January 07, 2011

Chinese media have been warned against using the term "civil society"

The Chinese Communist Party is very worried that "the masses" will start to realize that they are in fact citizens of China with entitlement to protection of universal human rights.  People yearn to be free from unelected imposed arbitrary authority.  The powerful idea of a society of citizens threatens the future of the current privileged authoritarian elite in China.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Globe and Mail says I have been Wikileaked

An interview with me is quoted in Campbell Clark's report "China turns chilly on human rights dialogue" published in the Globe and Mail on January 6, 2010:  It makes reference to a Wikileaked cable that discusses my analysis of human rights dialogues with China:

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


Interesting order of precedence:


The Honourable Lawrence Cannon,  
Vice-Chair, Priorities and Planning Committee and Chair, Afghanistan Committee
The Honourable John Baird,
Chair, Operations Committee
The Honourable Diane Finley,
Chair, Social Affairs Committee  
The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay,
Chair, Foreign Affairs and Security Committee
The Honourable Stockwell Day,
Chair, Treasury Board
The Honourable Christian Paradis,
Chair, Environment and Energy Security Committee
The Honourable Tony Clement,
Chair, Economic Growth and Long-term Prosperity Committee
The Honourable Robert Douglas Nicholson
The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn
The Honourable Marjory LeBreton
The Honourable Chuck Strahl
The Honourable Vic Toews
The Honourable Rona Ambrose
The Honourable Beverley J. Oda
The Honourable James Michael Flaherty
The Honourable Josée Verner
The Honourable Peter Van Loan
The Honourable Gerry Ritz
The Honourable Jason Kenney
The Honourable James Moore
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
The Honourable Lisa Raitt
The Honourable Gail Shea
The Honourable Keith Ashfield
The Honourable John Duncan
The Honourable Gary Lunn
The Honourable Gordon O’Connor

Bad News on Xi Jinping in US Wikileaked Tel

This account seems quite credible but does not bode at all well for China's future:

Next leader seen as dull princeling leader seen dull princeling/4054806/story.html

Sunday, January 02, 2011

John Fraser Who Opened the Canadian Embassy in Beijing Has Passed Away

FRASER, JOHN MACLEOD Died peacefully at home in Ottawa on Wednesday, December 29, 2010. Born in Montreal, February 12, 1935, he was a Rhodes Scholar before joining the Department of External Affairs in 1958. He had a long and distinguished Foreign Service career, ending as Ambassador to Poland in 1980 and Yugoslavia in 1984. A high point of his career was opening the Canadian Embassy in Beijing in 1971. He leaves his wife, Deborah, his brother and sister-in-law Graham Fraser and Barbara Uteck, his two nephews Malcolm and Nicholas Fraser, four step-children and seven step-grandchildren. No flowers please, contributions to the Ottawa Humane Society would be welcome. A Memorial Service will be held at St. Bartholomew's Church, 125 MacKay Street, on Thursday, January 6 at 11:30am
Published in the Ottawa Citizen on 12/31/2010

Long obituary by Sandra Martin appeared in the Globe and Mail on January 22, 2010:

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Origin of Santa's Gifts

@cburton001: My 7 year-old wants to know why the Christmas gifts given by Santa Claus say "Made in China" not "Made in North Pole". Does anybody know?