Friday, September 23, 2016

When Mr. Li.comes to town, be very very wary

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is so keen to "forge closer ties" with China during his talks with China's second-in-command Li Keqiang that he risks making a deal with the devil in the process.
The immediate goal of Premier Li's visit from a Chinese perspective is an extradition treaty with Canada, such as it currently enjoys with some 40 other countries (France and Australia are the examples usually mentioned, presumably because these are the only "Western" countries who have agreed to such a treaty). 
Just to be clear, though, we would be extraditing people to a country named by Amnesty International as the world's top executioner, a country that routinely employs torture in its legal process, and whose judiciary is inextricably constrained and influenced by the ruling Communist Party.
Mr. Li, canny negotiator that he is, indignantly denies such things, and defends the Chinese use of capital punishment as a necessary evil. He maintains that Chinese security forces do not routinely administer torture, although he says the whole country cannot be held accountable for the odd maverick who does (news to.Mr. Lee: a country CAN and SHOULD). And of course he denies that Chinese secret agents operate in Canada to pressurized Chinese citizens to return to China to face allegations of "economic crimes", despite evidence to the contrary.
Whether he believes what he says or not, the reality is clear: this is not a country Canada should be making deals with, either extradition deals or deals of any other kind for that matter. Canada could really use Chinese spending power right now, and we do not want to be in the position of harbouring foreign criminals. But there are issues more pressing than free trade with China and a resolution of that pesky canola dispute. Once again, Trudeau's ethics are on the line, and I must confess that have nothing like the same confidence in the man that I had just after the election.

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