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Canadian PM Says Canadians Will Not Sell Values for Chinese Money
AFAR
11/20/2006



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On November 15, en route to Vietnam to attend the APEC summit, Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper told reporters about his informal meeting with Chinese president Hu Jintao: "I don't think Canadians want us to sell out important Canadian values–our belief in democracy, freedom, human rights. They don't want to sell that out to the almighty dollar." Harper's position to value human rights is widely supported and highly respected.

Governments and individuals who support freedom and democracy continue to criticize China, the largest totalitarian country. This criticism aims to improve China's human rights and promote its democracy, benefiting the Chinese people who long for freedom. Chinese people welcome international disapproval of totalitarian China.

However, the Chinese government utilizes its growing economic power to restrain the condemnation of its human rights situation. They manipulate the stance of these democratic governments by giving them trade benefits. This strategy has had some impact as governments and businesses in a portion these countries give up their stand for human rights and withdraw their criticism of China in exchange of short-term benefits: trade incentives from the Chinese government. As a result, these governments and businesses, which once backed freedom and democracy, have actually sold the value of these ideals while giving in to a dictator. It harms Chinese people and it will impact the world in the long run.

After the end of Cold War, China emerged as a significant economy with a large population. However, as a totalitarian regime, many far-sighted international leaders view China as a potential menace to the peace of the World. To some, China represents the world's largest stronghold for dictatorship. Heavily influencing other nations with its economic power, China is able to direct the decision-making in Western democratic countries. China also manipulates other autocracies, challenging world peace and regional security and opposing the US—the leading democratic ally. To eliminate these threats, international cooperation is crucial. All countries and people in the World who believe in a free society should form an allegiance to promote China's democratization and assist China's transformation toward a free country

Ironically, in the 1990's, it was the Canadian Liberal Party who first suggested separating the issue of China's human rights from its trade relations and ended economic sanction against it—this was following China's diplomatic difficulty as a result of the June massacre in Tiananmen in 1989. But now, the Chinese government recombines issues of trade and human rights to their benefit, luring the Canadian business community with attempts to influence Canadian lawmakers who take human rights as a fundamental value. China's inconsistent Ministry of Foreign Affairs reveals that China is playing the trade card, bullying Canada with its huge trade surplus.

Prime Minister Harper's Conservative Party government is a minority government. So his insistence in including human rights into China-Canada relations has shown incomparable courage and capability to defend the ideals of freedom and democracy in the face of pressure from not only opposing parties but also from the business and industrial communities.

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