East Turkestan: Canada Pushes Beijing on Human Rights
Below is an article by Rowan Callick published by The Australian:
UNDER the former Liberal government of Paul Martin,
The election of conservative Stephen Harper as Prime Minister in February changed that - with one large exception:
While Australian Prime Minister John Howard finds much in common with Mr Harper in other matters, the two leaders could scarcely be further apart on
Mr Harper has chosen to hitch his
For weeks before Mr Harper's first attendance at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in
In the end, the two met briefly at the reception for the summit dinner. Mr Harper described their conversation as "very frank".
"Much of the time,
The Prime Minister said he would not downplay Canadian values for the sake of the "almighty dollar".
And "neglecting human rights hasn't opened a lot of doors", considering the size of
Mr Harper said he had gained "a distinct impression, if I can say, that the Chinese are not used to that from a Canadian government" - implying that his predecessors were supine on such matters.
Liberal leader Bill Graham told parliament: "The Prime Minister tried to pretend a brief meeting with the President of China on the way to a dinner was a historic event.
"But the Chinese news agency put it at the bottom of a story about President Hu meeting with the leader of
Although Li Hongzhi, the leader of the banned religious movement Falun Gong, lives in
However, Harry Wu, one of the most respected Chinese dissident leaders, has cast doubt on the claims made in the report, for which the writers did not travel to
And Thomas d'Aquino - the president of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, representing 150 top CEOs who would usually back the conservative Government - expressed the anxiety of the country's business community about the rapidly growing rift with
He told The Globe and Mail newspaper: "I am deeply concerned about the Harper Government's approach to
"If we continue down this road, we will seriously damage one of the most important relationships we have," Mr d'Aquino said. "We will render useless our voice and influence in effecting change in
An MP in Mr Harper's party gained strong - but insufficient - support for a parliamentary move to upgrade relations with
One of the human rights cases that the Harper Government has taken up most forcefully has been that of Huseyin Celil, a Uighur - a member of the Muslim Turkic-language group in the northwestern Chinese region of Xinjiang - who became a Canadian citizen, was arrested in
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman told Canadian reporters Mr Celil was still considered a Chinese national, despite having been granted Canadian citizenship.Traditionally,