In a word, Dr. Wang's and Dr. Liu's continuing detentions are case studies of the Chinese government's massive repression of human rights defenders and violations of their own undertakings to us to respect their domestic and international legal obligations. Regrettably, the Chinese government has succeeded in having the narrative focus on the regime's openness to trade, technology, and business, and away from justice, democracy, and human rights.
Yesterday in British Columbia, Prime Minister Stephen Harper tried to sound a note of reason on the subject of the increasingly unpopular proposal to build 1,100 kilometres of Northern Gateway pipeline. And he talked about basing these decisions on science. My favourite bit, if I am allowed favourite bits of whoppers, was the gratuitous, "As I've said repeatedly." Where and when did he ever say anything like this before? Let's look at what he actually has said repeatedly...
After Harper's China visit, Canada must be ruthless when it comes to its own interests and should visit other major Asia-Pacific nations. This is not about friendship, but about business. This country must realize that it can and should leverage its resources to get value-added and manufacturing export business.
How YouTube-adorable are those pandas we are going to be hosting? Apparently panda fur is not soft and fluffy, but tough and bristly like a shoe brush (or so someone once told me who'd actually pet a panda). Which is also a good way of describing Stephen Harper's trip to China. It was similar to that of a jilted girlfriend driving past her ex with a new beau. It seemed to have worked -- at least upon some American lawmakers critical of Obama's recent decision to kill the Keystone XL pipeline. While the Canadian leader was courting his Chinese suitors, our American leader was joining our new team in Quebec for the much-anticipated launch of Le Huffington Post on Wednesday.
Like Lady Edith of the hit series Downtown Abbey, Prime Minister Harper must feel frustrated that Obama expects him to stand aside while the U.S. courts China and simultaneously wait around for a decision on Keystone. Worse still, there is the fear that Chinese interest in Canada is only a ploy, Beijing using Ottawa to spark Obama's jealousy and get Washington's attention.