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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Canada’s Liberals can learn from British PM’s stand on human rights in China

Re-enactment of torture methods used on spiritual Falun Gong practitioners in China

National Post editorial board: Many Western leaders are so eager to ingratiate themselves with China that they turn a blind eye to Beijing’s brutality. But not David Cameron. While on a trade mission to Beijing this week, the British Prime Minister not only chided the Chinese on their human rights record, he also stood up to Chinese officials’ petty demand that he remove his poppy, a symbol of British Armistice Day that apparently reminded some of his oversensitive hosts of the Opium Wars.

Despite China’s surging economy, nearly three-quarters of the world’s executions occur in China, many involving political prisoners. Falun Gong practitioners are harassed, tortured and killed. In recent years, China has been trying to bully its neighbours in the international waters off its eastern shores. And it acts as a defender for many of the world’s rogue regimes — including Myanmar and North Korea. The new China conceals many of the old China’s sins..

...In Canada, and especially within the ranks of the federal Liberals, overlooking Beijing’s sins has come to be seen as a mark of “sophistication.” If our politicians are too forthright with their criticism, the argument goes, they will reduce Canada’s opportunities for trade and investment. That is a cynical approach that we reject: Commercial engagement must be matched with frank talk on human rights and foreign policy. In this regard, our own leaders should take a lesson from David Cameron. More...

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