Monday, January 12, 2015

John Baird's Remarks on Garratts and Future of Canada-China Relations Reported in Chinese Language Media

Below is my rough translation of a report in the World Journal by 費詩明 dated Toronto January 10, 2015.
The Chinese original text can be found at

Baird: Expects that China Will Start to Offer 10 Year Visas

At an event in Markham Federal Ministry of Foreign affairs John Baird indicated that the arrangements for a visit of a senior Chinese government official to Canada are still being negotiated. At this time he has no information to announce about this. The federal government very much hopes that the Government of China will be able to start to offer a 10 year visa for Canadian citizens. This will convenience visits by family members between the two nations. And will also make bilateral exchanges easier.

Mr Baird indicated that the visit to China in November of last year was most successful. Especially that Toronto became the first renminbi exchange centre in North America. This has been a win-win for Canada. He said that senior officials of Canada and China are in constant contact. Last week cat an activity in Latin America he had a brief meeting with China's vice president Li Yuanchao. At that meeting the two sides deepened the development of relations.

With regard to the case of Canadian citizens Kevin Garratt and Julia Dawn Garratt accused of stealing Chinese secrets, they still remain in custody. Mr. Baird indicated that there has been no progress on this matter, but the Government of Canada will continue to pay close attention to it, and give assistance and apply pressure as required.

The Government of China has already offered a 10 year visa for citizens of the United States. Several local Chinese community organisations have signed a joint petition in the hope that the Government of Canada will put pressure on the Government of China to extend a 10 year visa to Canadian citizens as well. Baird indicated yesterday that the Federal Government also hopes that China, with the shortest possible delay, will extend a 10 year visa for Canadian citizens. This will not only be of benefit to visits by family members. It will also assist economic leaders in exchanging visits and it will simplify the complicated procedures involving going abroad to renew Chinese visas.

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