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Whither China

Ryan1812
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Joined: May 20 2010

Upon hearing Richard Fadden describe some Canadian politicians as being influenced by foreign governments, leaning towards China, I want to discuss on a larger scale how Canada should be conducting our relationship with China. Under former PM Chretien, Canada seemed to be moving towards closer relations with China, namely along the lines of nuclear trade. Since PM Harper has come to power, it seems that the more hard-line reform elements within the party whom have long wanted Canada to be tougher on China because of human rights abuses, our relationship with China has deteriorated. China is and will be for the foreseeable future, a super power. The more China industrializes and its middle class grows, the bigger the threat it becomes to US economic hegemony. Given that Canada depends on the US for the bulk of its international trade, how should Canada move forward in it's relationships with China while maintaining a moral high ground on human rights?

 


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No Yards
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Joined: Jun 1 2003

China, for better or worst is 1/4 of humanity wanting to "develop" to the resource wasting, planet polluting level of the richer 1/4 of humanity.

Canada is not going to stop China from developing, so to save the planet we need to offer China all the help we can to make their development one of a sustainable, "small footprint", low impact type.

The more we help, the more China trusts us, the more influence we have in addressing China's democratic deficiencies.

I don't think we should fool ourselves into thinking that "development" and "democracy" are the answers to China's human rights problems (Democratic capitalist systems have plenty of their own human rights problems, they just do a better job at making them look intentioned) ... that's not to say that we should stop pressuring China on human rights, but we have to be realistic and accept that China will come to better human rights on its' own terms and in its' own time.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Meanwhile our largest trade benefactors have basically threatened to sanction both China and China's largest oil supplier, Iran, and citing various off the wall reasons. These are acts of war. And our stooges grounded in morality would continue trading merrily with war criminals while they perpetrated another shock and awe.


Liang Jiajie
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Joined: Aug 21 2007

To improve and maintain an efficient and fair relationship with China:

The Canada should continue the dialogue begun with Harper's trip to China and now continuing with Hu Jintao's state visit to Canada.

DFAIT should recruit and send personnel to China who are fluent in Mandarin and who have sufficient political, cultural, and historical knowledge of China to improve Canada's various ties to the country and understand its inner-workings  

Along with other states, Canada should continue to pressure Beijing to re-evaluate the Yuan according to international market conditions; push for the rule of law in China; enourage China to improve its public diplomacy

Continue permitting Chinese-Canadian dissidents and their supporters to criticize China's human rights violations.

Canada should exploit the cultural influence its historic, unofficial ambassadors such as Norman Bethune and Da Shan have in China.

Edited at 12:07 PM


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

@ Ryan 1812

 

It should be "whither" China, preferably with a question mark at the end.

Otherwise it reads like you want China to dry up and blow away.


Lard Tunderin Jeezus
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Joined: Aug 27 2001

Only a moderator can make that correction now.


Ryan1812
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Joined: May 20 2010

Ironically, I meant for there to be the initial 'h' but I guess I missed it. Oops.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Liang Jiajie wrote:
Along with other states, Canada should continue to pressure Beijing to re-evaluate the Yuan according to international market conditions; push for the rule of law in China; enourage China to improve its public diplomacy

China seems to be shifting toward using a basket of reference currencies. This is more or less what Keynes wanted as a step toward financial disarmament. The CCP isn't buying so much US debt anymore, and this is causing concern for the imperialist financial regime here in the west.

They keep harping on about China's unprecedented trade surplus as a percentage of GDP, but it's mostly hype. Japan and the US were the previous record holders, but those economies(1920's USA and 1980s Japan) were much larger as percentages of global GDP. The CPC will continue using visible hand intervention in managing the currency. I don't think they can be convinced that free market voodoo is what they should be doing in terms of the float.

 


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

The H hath been returned to its rightful place among us.


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

Were the H whas it?


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

Fidel, that is an extremely important point you make. We are looking at the global method of evaluating currencies and concluding that they are wrong and dangerous feeding a for-profit market based on speculation.

While I think that pegging to one wrongly evaluated currency can amplify the distortion, there has to be an alternative to the current system.

The Chinese are presently seeing their own workers attempt to improve their positions at the bargaining table-- this is of course directly related to evaluation. I suspect over time this will resolve.

I like Liang Jiajie's approach here in that it is not defining respect for China to be one where we would need to deny expression here or refuse to express concerns. Respect is more subtle, it means avoiding the more clumsy approaches we have made on delicate issues but not assuming that we have to agree and force the agreement of all aspects of our society with a single vision. I also agree that Canada should exploit the assets we have. I think there are a lot more than Da Shan and Bethune to consider (Interestingly Da Shan was hired as the host for Canada's Shanghai Expo contribution).

These assets must also include the fairly large Chinese community we have. To that end, encouraging more of them to be involved in public life and public process has purpose. Further, China is very interested in joint ventures in business, these opportunities as they come up are worthy of consideration for public investment. I do think that we can do better in a couple ways-- one is to clean up the visa and immigration rules to make the system more predictable. It does not help to see people apply for family immigration based on a roughly 2-year process only to see, after they have paid their fees, the process grow arbitrarily to a 5-10 year process (this through cutbacks rather than just demand)-- that system is loaded with problems and can be repaired without swamping Canada with new immigrants. As well, Canada could do more to promote the Sino-Canada relationship from inside and that does not need to be political.

 


Clearpath
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Joined: Jun 26 2010

*Eliminate dual citizenships

*Prohibit politicians from accepting travel or other gifts from foreign governments, like Vancouver civic politicians did in 2007

*No foreign ownership of real estate or mines and minerals

*No foreign-owned financial institutions including REITs

*No foreign-funded scholarships

*No reciprocity for Chinese educational institutions: when the University of Calgary gave the Dalai Lama an honorary degree, the PRC stopped recognizing the University's degrees; so why should we recognize PRC-issued degrees here?

*Duties on goods from China and other low-wage/cheap currency countries

*Prohibit Canadian companies from outsourcing production to low-wage countries like China

*Blacklist imports from China and other countries that are made with slave labour

*No food or drug imports from China until they clean up their regulatory systems (lead, melamine, pesticide residues)

*Raise the issues of human rights re. Uighurs, Tibetans, Mongols, dissidents, religious groups and Falun Gong LOUDLY, for the PRC's maximum embarassment

*Extirpate Triads and other crime groups (jail, deport, don't allow in)

*Carefully screen immigrants and visitors for ties to the CPC and organized crime; make immigrants renounce their Chinese citizenships

*End the Investor/Entrepreneur immigration program (this has brought much of the organized crime and PRC/CPC-conected business problem here)

*Charge Canadian nationals with treason for things like industrial espionage and accepting bribes; deport foreign nationals charged with the same

There is no "engaging" a dictatorship like China, or Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, any more than we had to "engage" South Africa during the Apartheid years, or Pinochet-era Chile. The PRC is the worst of both worlds, with Maoist chauvanism and brutality, and free-market greed and sleaze. There is nothing to "respect" here.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

@ Clearpath

End imports from and outsourcing to China?

Some of your points make sense, there are others, these in particular, that will simply never happen. There is no getting around dealing with China.

I am thinking about a U.S.-made car with components from China as a simple example.


Clearpath
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Joined: Jun 26 2010

There are some very good products made in the PRC, with well-paid/treated labour. If you win the lottery, you could look into one of these, for example.

http://www.seahorseyachts.com/

But Canada can, and should, ban FOOD imports, at least until the PRC cleans up its corrupt and inept food safety and inspection system. China did this to Canada, during the BSE scare, with beef, but our government is too crooked and timid to do the same. And goods made with slave labour should be banned, PERIOD. Also, there should be import duties on Chinese goods, otherwise we are going to lose what's left of our manufacturing jobs. Governments in Canada, the U.S. and Europe are simply allowing this to happen when they can do something about it.


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

Clearpath is resorting to personal attack in another thread.

There is no point engaging.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Wasn't pre-Mao Tibet basically a theocratic feudal setup with the majority of peasants treated little better than slaves?


Liang Jiajie
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Joined: Aug 21 2007

for Sean in Ottawa and Fidel

Whatever alternate currency system the future holds, it won't be one in which China can have an unfair advantage.  Ditto for its business environment -- if it wants to continue acquiring foreign assets it will have to permit the same access to other states within its borders; Chinese businesses enjoy legal protections in foreign countries, so China will have to provide the same to foreigners.  Working within the international system means accepting that sometimes states must accomodate the wishes of other states, something that China has had great difficulty doing.  For instance, it recently announced that the G20 wasn't the place to discuss the currency issue.  Where else does the world discuss these international issues?  China wants a lot of things from the world, but it is much too often unwilling to reciprocate beyond words and half-measures.

So whither China?  Well, it recently agreed to sanctions on Iran and to allow for some flexibility on the yuan, but there's of course been controversy about whether the yuan reform is real or more window dressing.  One major test for China will be the role it decides to take on the North Korea question.  China is the only country that can take the leadership in the six-party talks and persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions and cease threatening South Korea with war. 


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

The Beijing Consensus China is turning neoliberal capitalism(Washington consensus) on its head


Liang Jiajie
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Joined: Aug 21 2007
The idea of economic self-determination is difficult to achieve because almost all national economies affect other national economies, and I think Beijing is beginning to realize this as other states bear down on some of its policies. I find it strange that innovation was added to the list of strategies. China's educational institutions are plagued by plagiarism, bribery, hierarchy, and rote learning. Despite 30 years of development and government intervention in the economy, there's no sign of a Chinese success story like Toyota or Samsung or Honda or Seiko or Hyundai on the horizon. In fact, there's a widespread and deeply entrenched culture of copying in China. The article also left out a significant fact: China has privatized its healthcare system, a neoliberal's dream. China's development model isn't at all unique. Japan used a very similar model beginning in the 1950s, but it collapsed in the 1990s. Actually, China is showing the same sympton Japan had in the 80s, namely a very hot housing bubble. This development model was useful for Korea and Japan when they began to emerge on the global scene, but the model has its limits because of the demands of globalization.

Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Liang Jiajie wrote:
In fact, there's a widespread and deeply entrenched culture of copying in China. The article also left out a significant fact: China has privatized its healthcare system, a neoliberal's dream.

Yes they are shameless copiers who have no respect for exclusive private property laws whatsoever. And I think China will achieve universal health care before the USA ever does.

Businessweek'09 wrote:
In March, China's State Council announced an allocation of $123 billion toward health-care reform. Under the plan, by next year 90% of China's citizens will be covered by a universal health-care system and health-care facilities will be upgraded, including construction of 30,000 hospitals, clinics, and care centers across the country.


Ryan1812
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Joined: May 20 2010

 

My knowledge of Japan is very limited as far as their housing bubble. What I can say of China is this, they have clamped down on their hot housing market. How this will result is still up for debate but consider the following: they have now limited second mortgages and made much more difficult to purchase primary mortgages in the upper income brackets. The down payment that you need now for a second mortgage is 50% and I'm hearing rumblings of it moving higher to help limit speculation. This is a smart move and somewhere that state regulation has helped cool the housing market. We've already seen the effects on housing stocks here locally (remember I live in China) so at least in the interim period, I think China's heavy handed movements have worked and I would applaud them. I think what needs to be done next is to build more low income housing. So many developers are building apartments in my city that are geared towards the upper class, not surprisingly I think. There is some social housing, but as expected, it's insufficient. I think in the next year, as we have seen China move to reform health insurance, which is already broadly applied, housing will be addressed in a more complete way. For now, as development is hot, China's move to slow down speculation and second mortgage acquisitions is well intentioned.

 


Kislev25
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Joined: Jun 26 2010

Canada should sever its relations with China, for many, many reasons: human rights, slave labor, anti-union policies, arms trade, among others. China is a criminal totalitarian state, every penny one spends buying Chinese products goes to supporting this unholy mess, the PDRC. They will never come to terms with the rest of the World when it comes down to all of the above. Things will only get worse as they grow stronger and "richer" (well, only some of the Chinese, the well-connected ones). We have a choice, to avoid anything Chinese made, as much as possible. There will never be a "green" China, or a free one for that matter.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

If our weak and ineffective stooges in Ottawa refuse to stop dealing with a U.S.-backed right wing death squad government in Bogota that murders more unionists and human rights activists than any other country in the world, then how can we expect them to cut off our third largest export market, China? Capitalists will deal with the devil and cock hind legs up in any old port in a storm. The problem is that market economies are not driven my ethics and morals. In fact, it's the opposite. Capitalism today is driven by appalling greed and corruption.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

I will say this for China... They are the only nation that has managed to get the biggest company in the world -  WalMart -  to accept a union.

How real a union it is I don't know, but it is nice to see them sacrifice their so-called principles in order to make a buck

(especially since they walked from Germany rather than do so).

 


Joey Ramone
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Joined: Apr 3 2008

The "union" representing Walmart workers in China is one of the Party controlled official "unions" not an independent workers' union.  http://talkingunion.wordpress.com/2008/09/27/is-union-reform-possible-in-china/ The officially sanctioned "unions" in China are more like company unions, who see their main mandate as "maintaining order and discipline", not defending workers against the employer. I suspect that Walmart would welcome the same kind of "unions" here if they could arrange it.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

Joey Ramone wrote:

The "union" representing Walmart workers in China is one of the Party controlled official "unions" not an independent workers' union.  http://talkingunion.wordpress.com/2008/09/27/is-union-reform-possible-in-china/ The officially sanctioned "unions" in China are more like company unions, who see their main mandate as "maintaining order and discipline", not defending workers against the employer. I suspect that Walmart would welcome the same kind of "unions" here if they could arrange it.

Yes, I figured as much (sounds like out progressive new Bill 80 here in Saskatchewan). It is still interesting  to see them talking out of both sides of their mouth, considering the principled stand they take everywhere else.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

China strikers bypass union, organize with social media Demand more cash from Japanese and Taiwanese companies, workplace democracy

And just for a quick comparison to one of Canada's other trade partners in our own hemisphere: 

Colombia: army attacks striking workers at BP facility


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

@ Fidel

Well it looks great to have the workers standing up to foreign capitalists, not so great to have the People's Republic seen beating their own people over the head (especially when they have in recent history not wanted the outside world to know when they are dealing with an epidemic). Not trying to demonize China, but it is hardly a workers' paradise.

 


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Colombia: Another Trade Union Leader Assassinated

Neither is Colombia a worker's paradise. But that doesn't stop our phony minority stoogeocracy in Ottawa from trading freely with a death squad government though. And in this very hemisphere, too.

The point is that if our stoogeocracy turns a blind eye to Colombia and what is the most dangerous country in the world for trade unionists and social activists, then what chances are there that the stoogeocracy will do anything more than puff up their chests and condemn China once in a while for the sake of paying lip service to human rights issues? I think the odds are slim next to nil that they will actually do something to confront the CCP running a country of over a billion people on the other side of the world. Nada next to nil. Members of the CCP slide into Ottawa and meet with our stooges behind closed doors all the time and under the public's radar. Same with Colombia's colonial administrators, the Hondurans, Salvadoran's etc, all countries where US-backed right wing death squads have murdered thousands of their citizens in recent years. Our stooges just don't care. They are colonial administrators and hirelings of multinational corporations in Ottawa and nothing more.


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

@ Fidel

Agreed, absolutely. They should speak up in both cases.


Fidel
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Joined: Apr 29 2004

Our stooges can afford idle talk as it's quite cheap actually. Their words are much larger than their actions 99 percent of the time.


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