Friday, February 10, 2012

Diplomacy the Chinese way

There is nothing wrong with conducting business with China. However, this doesn’t mean that in the process of engagement we should lose the courage to stand up for what we believe in

Just days before Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was to embark on an official state visit to China, Beijing announced that one reporter who was to be part of the delegation would not be allowed to enter the country and denied him a visa.

China and Canada signed various agreements on Wednesday covering the energy, investment and other sectors, as relations between Ottawa and Beijing continue to improve following a decision by the Harper government to soften its rhetoric on China’s human rights situation.

Looking on as a delegation led by Harper brushed elbows with Chinese officials during the three-day visit were oil and business executives, as well as a retinue of reporters. However, one figure was missing: Matthew Little of the Epoch Times, an accredited member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery.

Beijing’s decision was hardly surprising, given that the paper has a long tradition of criticizing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its treatment of activists, religious groups and ethnic minorities in China.

Predictable though this was, the denial of Little’s entry visa is yet another example of the manner in which, little by little, China uses its influence to warp liberal democracies by imposing a series of conditions for conducting business.

My unsigned editorial, published today in the Taipei Times, continues here.

No comments: