Tuesday, December 06, 2016
My Opinion piece in the Globe and Mail: "Enlisting Beijing to help stop fentanyl exports won’t be easy"
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Saturday, November 19, 2016
Thursday, November 10, 2016
"Trump is also exactly the kind of businessman who is most easily taken in by China — credulous, focused on the externalities of wealth, and massively susceptible to flattery. A single trip, with Chinese laying on the charm, could leave him as fond of China’s strongmen as he is of Russia’s Putin."
Thursday, November 03, 2016
Western governments should challenge China on human rights and stand up for their principles, dissident artist Ai Weiwei has said – lamenting the repression faced by Chinese activists but declaring that Beijing’s “business partners” in the rest of the world should not fear making it worse.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
"Your score becomes the ultimate truth of who you are — determining whether you can borrow money, get your children into the best schools or travel abroad; whether you get a room in a fancy hotel, a seat in a top restaurant — or even just get a date."
George Orwell's 1984 as a guide to policy.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Wang Jianlin, a Billionaire at the Intersection of Business and Power in China
Includes a chart showing connections to senior leadership in China
Sunday, October 16, 2016
Sunday, October 09, 2016
"It is the first time that China will hold talks with a member of the Group of Seven on the issue of an FTA"
Tuesday, October 04, 2016
Response to the Argument that Canada Should Address Our Aborignal Issues Before Raising Concerns Human Rights in China
By not speaking out in response to China's oppressive policies we give the Chinese regime tacit consent for their violations of international law as defined by the UN and earlier international bodies such as the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague. Of course if the Chinese regime felt no guilt over their repressive policies against their own people to maintain their power and elite privilege, they would not lash out so emotionally and irrationally against these things being exposed to the light of the day abroad. It has to be abroad as their people live under severe internet censorship and knowledge that speaking truth to power leads to prison camp with no due process of Chinese law. We should give voice to the voiceless.
Standing idly by in the face of injustice is weak and shameful.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
The United States is targeting state-sponsored hackers with criminal prosecutions, travel bans and financial sanctions
Canada, China to discuss accord on cybersecurity
"The United States is targeting state-sponsored hackers with criminal prosecutions, travel bans and financial sanctions"
Sunday, September 25, 2016
Saturday, September 24, 2016
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Rosemary Barton's interview with me starts at about 3 minutes in.
"It is clear that the Chinese government underestimated the degree of Canadian public outrage over Canadian citizens unjustly imprisoned in foreign lands for ill-defined political reasons. When Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Canada last June he insisted on a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a move that went beyond normal diplomatic protocol. At that 15 minute confab, Mr. Trudeau – rather than showing ritual deference to a senior representative of the Middle Kingdom – instead used the occasion to explain to Mr. Wang at length that Mr. Garratt’s continued imprisonment was severely constraining the possibilities for greater engagement, which China was expecting from the new Liberal government. One can understand why it was that when Mr. Garrett’s name was brought up again at a press conference shortly thereafter that Mr. Wang lost his composure and delivered the diatribe that has marked him forever as a diplomatic philistine."
Monday, September 12, 2016
My impression from looking at recent photos of Hillary Clinton in the new this morning is that she looks old and in poor health. She should step aside from her candidacy in the interests of her nation.
The Democrats need a younger candidate with less political baggage asap.
Sunday, September 04, 2016
I commend this article as having much relevance for Canada
Saturday, September 03, 2016
Thursday, September 01, 2016
Does Canada’s openness for Chinese business, silence on the South China Sea, signal shift away from U.S.? | National Post
Saturday, August 27, 2016
"A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa declined to answer questions about China’s involvement with ethnic Chinese communities in Canada."
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
"This file has never been easy. In the 1970s, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, in extraordinary naiveté, admired the Communist leaders of his time, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, as good and wise rulers dedicated to revolutionary social justice. This as millions of Chinese were being subject to torture in the name of Marxist ideological remoulding, with untold numbers left to die in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
By the 1990s, Mr. Chrétien reached out to Chinese Premier Li Peng – a key player in the violent suppression of the 1989 Tiananmen Movement – on the basis that economic engagement with the West would lead China to a democratic transition. To this end, he agreed to give tacit consent to China’s human rights violations by a “going-through-themotions” engagement of China on human rights behind closed doors.
Now, our Prime Minister wants to build a new relationship on a palatable moral foundation. Unfortunately for China’s Communist Party under General Secretary Xi Jinping, the democracy and human rights train has left the station and won’t be coming back on his watch."
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Saturday, August 06, 2016
Comment on "Mother of pop star dating Vancouver mayor could face death penalty in China for allegedly embezzling $69M"
Friday, August 05, 2016
My Opinion Piece in the Globe and Mail "The driving force behind Beijing’s moves in the South China Sea"
China’s destabilization of the South China Sea indicates a deeper issue that goes to the fundamentals of the Communist Party People’s Republic régime. At its founding in 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong declared: “Ours will no longer be a nation subject to insult and humiliation. We have stood up!” The flow of this logic is “China’s civilization is ancient and great. China was weakened and is victimized by amoral Western forces. China will rise again and set things to rights.”
Thursday, August 04, 2016
Comment on "For Hong Kong ethnic Chinese, foreign passports offer no protection in China - The Globe and Mail"
"Canadian-born Chinese with Hong Kong parents, for example, have been told they are Chinese nationals and not allowed to travel to China on their Canadian passports, but must use a Chinese permit instead. The Diplomat magazine last month reported that Chinese visa authorities are demanding that 'Canadians of Chinese descent apply as Chinese nationals when travelling to China.'”
Comment: The Government of Canada should be much more proactive in effectively responding to this discrimination against Canadians on ethnic basis and the denial of their right to consular protection. If China will not respond Canada should retaliate.
Monday, August 01, 2016
Monday, July 25, 2016
Thursday, July 21, 2016
I judge this will be very very badly received in Beijing and negatively impact the Prime Minister's upcoming visit to China.
Friday, July 15, 2016
Friday, July 08, 2016
This Li visit could therefore become a replay of the fiasco of Prime Minister Harper's going to Chongqing to "build relations" with Bo Xilai as Bo's purge was already in process. The Canadian Prime Minister was the last foreign leader to be seen with Bo just prior to his arrest in 2012.
But a similar miscalculation on our part substituting a Premier of the State Council and more importantly a Standing Committee of the Politburo member as Mr. Li is could be a lot more damaging to Canada-China relations.
Chinese factional politics is a dangerous game. Canada should take care not to become inadvertently drawn into it to our peril.
Thursday, June 30, 2016
China expert Charles Burton, a professor at Brock University, said the move appears to be part of Beijing's attempt to tighten control globally to mute dissent against the ruling regime.
Burton pointed to a recent case of a Hong Kong bookseller with a Swedish passport who was arrested in Thailand and sent to China for "interrogation" as an example of Beijing's actions.
He said the reported policy would be in line with China's policy of considering anyone with Chinese heritage as subject to Beijing's authority.
"I think it does have a chilling effect on people of Chinese origin who felt that acquisition of foreign citizenship gave them a degree of protection," Burton said. "It goes against international law; it's part and parcel of China's refusal to acknowledge the authority of international regimes in general."
He said the policy could be considered discrimination because Beijing is issuing visas based solely on people's ethnicity.
Burton said Canada must raise the issue with China at the highest levels.
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Saturday, June 25, 2016
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
"In 1985, when Canada entered into free-trade negotiations with the United States – a country that it knows intimately – it set up a separate “Trade Negotiations Office” that brought together the best and the brightest from across government. It selected Simon Reisman, an experienced deal maker and former top civil servant, to lead the talks. Mr. Reisman reported directly to the Prime Minister. His team was given almost unlimited access to resources.
In the end, pooling smart people and substantial resources made a significant difference. Superb preparatory work and creative negotiating tactics allowed Canada, against all odds, to win concessions in key areas, including disciplines on U.S. trade remedy measures."
Sunday, June 05, 2016
The Chinese community in Niagara Falls celebrate the annual Chinese Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day) in June. In China the holiday falls in April on the 15th day of the Spring equinox. Families travel to their ancestors' graves to clean the sites, plant new flowers, pay respects and to offer food. But in Niagara Falls it's too cold to do this in April so they moved the festival to the first Sunday in June.
There are over 120 graves in the Fairview Cemetery in Niagara Falls that have been identified as Chinese workers who died as single men. So they have no family to sweep their tombs. This is because the 1885 Head Tax and 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act made it impossible for the early Chinese workers in Niagara Falls to marry. Seeing as they have no descendents, the local Niagara Chinese community has taken it upon themselves to act instead of family to celebrate the Tomb Sweeping Festival in memory of these childless Canadian Chinese. There are many more early period Chinese workers in Niagara whose earthly remains are unknown. Their tombs are never swept.
The Niagara Falls Chinese community is dwindling and aging. They need help with this work. So they asked for volunteers from the St Catharines Chinese Cultural Association to lend a hand. Even though I am not Chinese, I was educated in China. I have been a member of the board of the Chinese Cultural Association of Niagara for 10 years now. I am white and of Irish Protestant background. My Canadian ancestors were anti-semitic, racist Orangemen who would have fully supported the Head Tax and the ban on Chinese migration to Canada. I cringe with guilt thinking of it. Sweep the graves of the Chinese my people unjustly oppressed in our meanspirited ignorance? Count me in! How could I refuse?
So on the appointed day I arrived at the designated meeting point in the Fairview Cemetery marked in Chinese on the Cemetery map. I assembled a team of four. Myself, my wife who is ethnically Chinese, our 12 year-old son, and his friend Sean from Beijing. We were assigned 17 graves in Sectors three, four, and five of the Fairview Cemetery. For each grave we were issued one potted geranium to plant, one stick of incense to burn and lunch to share with the "ancestors." I'm advised it is a kind of food old old timey Chinese workers enjoyed: some roast pork, a chicken leg, two Chinese buns (one savoury, one sweet), and an orange. I put a few bills in the donation box to help out with costs for next year.
Our first grave is a small stone. At the top is the name "Charlie Woo." The rest of the information is in Chinese. I read it out to my son. His name is Hu Zhenguan. He came from Chonglou, Taishan County, Guangdong. He was born in 1888. He died in 1939.
We spent about 10 minutes with Mr. Woo. My team was in for a long morning to do all 17. We planted and watered Charlie Woo's geranium with reverence and lit his incense stick with some difficulty as it was raining lightly that morning.
I tried to imagine what Charlie Woo's life had been like. I suppose he likely worked long hours in bad conditions in a Chinese hand laundry or cheap Chinese restaurant catering to the Niagara Falls tourist trade. Was he very homesick for China over his years in Canada? Why did he die young at age 51? I suppose he lived in crowded and poor lodgings. Maybe it was untreated tuberculosis that killed him when his lungs gave out? How bad was it for him to realize that he would die a "bare branch" with no descendents?
I wonder what Mr. Woo would have thought about having a Mandarin speaking white man maintaining his grave, bowing to his memory and sharing his food offering on the Qingming Festival? Would he have understood how much deep regret I feel about the Head Tax and then the Exclusion Act imposed on him by my racist forebears? My bow was not just a bow of respect to the departed elder. It was a bow of deep apology for what my people did to Charlie Woo and the thousands like him.
I will be back next year to plan another geranium and burn your incense, Mr. Woo. I will try to be your filial grandson. Its the least we can do. But definitely not enough.
Friday, June 03, 2016
"Sources said the meeting was both a show of courtesy and an opportunity for Mr. Trudeau to raise the case of Kevin Garratt, a Canadian missionary who remains behind bars in China awaiting sentencing after being tried on charges of stealing state secrets. Mr. Trudeau wanted to tell Mr. Wang it would be difficult for Canada to embrace China’s hopes for a new so-called golden era if it continues to hold Mr. Garratt."
Based on my experience in the diplomatic service, I don't think it is too unusual for visiting officials to make a courtesy call on host country official one rank senior to them. That being said in the Chinese system the Minister of Foreign Affairs is a relatively junior function as the key players are members of the Poliburo of the Chinese Communist Party. Wang Yi is just a member of the Central Committee.
Thursday, June 02, 2016
Despite Mr. Trudeau’s intentions about straight talk on issues of concern, the truth is that China dictates “no-go” zones as the cost of its state investment. For example, Britain could renew relations with China only after agreeing to end high-level meetings with the Dalai Lama. No less will be demanded of Ottawa. Any Canadian talk about human rights, or China harassing people in Canada perceived to be hostile to the regime, or increasing cyberattacks and espionage, or Chinese expansion in the South China Sea, is dismissed by Beijing as, absurdly, “hurting the feelings of the Chinese people,” thereby disinclining state firms to trade and invest in Canada.
Then there is the alarming extent to which China has infiltrated Canada’s government and its bureaucracy, an issue raised by former CSIS director Richard Fadden in an interview with CBC’s As It Happens in April. Ottawa must address this threat with more seriousness of purpose.
Monday, May 30, 2016
Transcript of China Related Comments by Former Director of CSIS Broadcast on CBC "As It Happens" on April 4, 2016
Transcript of China Related Comments by Former Director of CSIS Broadcast on CBC "As It Happens" on April 4, 2016
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Monday, May 16, 2016
Sunday, May 15, 2016
"When governments adopt a softer approach on human rights and Tibet, their country’s potential for negotiation on important strategic issues becomes more constricted. Going to great lengths to accommodate the Chinese leadership’s sensitivities at a time when Chinese President Xi Jinping is presiding over the most eviscerating crackdown on civil society in a generation weakens a country’s leverage instead of strengthening it."
Wednesday, May 04, 2016
Canada cites espionage risk from two Huawei employees, saying it plans to reject their immigration applications | South China Morning Post
"Canada is citing the risk of espionage as it prepares to reject the immigration applications of two Chinese employees of mainland telecom giant Huawei, in the first such cases to emerge amid a swirl of unsubstantiated international spying concerns about the firm."
Monday, April 04, 2016
Saturday, March 19, 2016
Mr Barrington had been Burma's representative to the UN and Ambassador to Canada prior to taking up a teaching job in Brian's History Department in 1965. Brian volunteered to take me to see him. We went by bus, Brian's preferred mode of transport. Turns out Brian visited Jim Barrington regularly to pass on his copy of the Far Eastern Economic Review. That was typical of Brian. He did so many kind things on the quiet.
After that Brian and I became good friends. We often met for tea in the Hub Mall twice a day morning and afternoon. Although he was the Associate Vice President of the University at the time he always seem to have time to be my mentor (and Victor Radujko had the same privileged access to Brian). In years following Brian came to stay with me in Ottawa and Beijing and St. Catharines and I got to lodge in his palace on 81st Avenue on several occasions. And we travelled together all over China and Macau and several times in Korea and a couple of times to his sister's place in Sylvan Lake. Some of the happiest memories of my life are of times spent traveling in the very good company of Brian Evans.
On February 11 of this year I flew into Thailand only to find an email waiting for me from Pat Prestwich indicating that Brian’s condition had become critical and asking me to come to Edmonton as soon as I could. I was numb with the shock of it.
That evening in Bangkok at midnight, fighting jet lag, everybody else in the house asleep, I was able to speak with Brian in hospital at 10am Edmonton time for one last time. I told him over the phone that he had been the single greatest single influence on me personally and as an academic. With a weak but ever gracious voice, Brian thanked me for introducing him to so many good Chinese friends over the years.
And that was true. I invited Brian to join the Royal Society of Canada - Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Democracy project in 1992, Indeed the last time I saw Brian was when we traveled together with the colleagues from CASS as part of the Chinese delegation to a conference in Seoul. To the Chinese colleagues he wasn't a “Canadian friend.” His Chinese friends grew to love him as just Brian for himself and there was no barrier of race or nationality between them. News of Brian’s death hit very hard in China. The messages to me from Brian's Chinese friends about it have been so emotional I haven't even been able to bring myself to translate them into English yet.
About 15 years ago Brian decided to bring the ashes of his late wife Margot Burwash to China to scatter some of them in Beijing. So Brian and I and Chen Qineng and Liu Guangtai and Wang Benxu furtively wandered all over the Altar of the Sun Park near my staff quarters in Beijing looking for a suitable place to illegally deposit Margot's earthly remains. Eventually Brian found a suitable glade of shrubbery and Wang Benxu led us all in the ritual nine bows in the direction of the bush that Brian with considerable aplomb had thrown them into.
Subsequent I went back to the Park trying to find where we had scattered those ashes but I never could find the place again.
Pat wants to bring some of Brian's ashes back to China, an idea I fully support. Chen Qineng thinks he might be able to find the place by referring to some of the photographs we took that afternoon in the Park all those years ago.
My guess is that we will traipse around the Altar of the Sun Park for quite some time until the spirit of Brian tells us to just scatter his ashes somewhere else and head to the teahouse for refreshment.
After all, Brian had a great sense of humour and a profound appreciation of the absurd upside of life.
I think of Brian often and have to keep reminding myself that he's gone.
Monday, March 14, 2016
Canada Not Among 12 Nations Making Joint Statement on China's "Deteriorating Human Rights Record" to UN Human Rights Council
The comments drew an angry response from Fu Cong, the Chinese deputy permanent representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva, who called the US out for conducting 'large-scale extra-territorial eavesdropping” and using drones to “attack other countries’ innocent civilians'.
Referring to “recent reports of abductions”, the American ambassador said on Thursday: 'These extraterritorial actions are unacceptable, out of step with the expectations of the international community, and a challenge to the rules-based international order. The actions involving individuals in Hong Kong represent a violation of the high degree of autonomy promised Hong Kong under its Basic Law.'
He also expressed concern about China’s 'deteriorating human rights record', pointing to the arrests and ongoing detention of rights activists, civil society leaders and lawyers. The ambassador delivered the statement on behalf of the US, Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK."
(Phila Siu, “China Slams US Drone Strikes on ‘innocent Civilians’ as United Nations Showdown over Missing Booksellers Escalates into Slanging Match,” South China Morning Post (March 11, 2016), accessed March 14, 2016, http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-crime/article/1923040/china-slams-us-drone-strikes-innocent-civilians-united?page=all).
Tuesday, March 01, 2016
This is a piece of very good news for Canada. It has been a long time coming.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Mr. Trudeau’s government is feeling pressure to show it is taking steps to address Canada’s economic downturn and the growing federal debt; they want to be able to tout a free-trade deal with China as the road to Canada’s economic revival. The worry is that, under such political pressure, Canadian negotiators will commit to a deal that will serve China’s interests much more than ours.