Saturday, April 28, 2007

The forgotten Canadian

I would never have thought that writing an op-ed in the Taipei Times would result in my being interviewed, 12 hours after publication, by Voice of America in Washington. On April 27, 2007, I published a piece in the Taipei Times about Huseyin Celil, a Uighur Canadian who was sentenced to life in jail in China for allegedly being part of a terrorist organization. I argue that despite precedents set by the Canadian government, as in the Maher Arar case, Celil will soon be abandoned by the Canadian government because of trade considerations.

During my half-hour telephone interview with VOA, I argued that even if Canada were to adopt a proactive approach to dealing with abuses of human rights by Beijing — which in the worst case scenario might result in short-term losses of business contracts — the long-term consequences of taking action would be fairly limited, as trade has a tendency to adjust itself. In other words, and as MacLean's argues in its March 5, 2007, issue ("Go on, take a stand," pp. 30-1), whether Canada adopts a tough stance on human rights with Beijing or not has a negligible impact on bilateral trade. A such, I argued Canada need not undermine its ideals and credibility abroad in order to conduct business with China.

Readers can read the full article, titled "Why Celil doesn't stand a chance," by clicking here.

For those who can read Chinese, the Voice of America Web site published excerpts of my telephone interview during its April 27, 2007, (10:00am – 10:30am) broadcast, which you can access at

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