for three years, I personally experienced Chinese power. This nation, people,
and culture have always shown a huge influence on their neighbours, even when
not exerting direct political control. Although South
Korea has her own unique culture, one sees Chinese
influences everywhere, from the use of Chinese writing and vocabulary, to
customs of family relationships and respect, to foods. We found the same on our
visit to Korea , and I understand that Japan , Mongolia and the rest of Vietnam Indochina, and even and Indonesia likewise have significant Chinese influences. With
such a huge population and powerful economy, this kind of cultural spillover is
But in the modern globalized economy, one no longer needs to be
’s neighbour to fall under her influence. As our
energy and resources flow more swiftly across the Pacific, and our stores fill
their shelves with Chinese-made products, we move closer to China as surely as if the ocean itself were contracting.
But is this a handshake, or a Chinese finger trap? China
When Stephen Harper first led his party in Parliament, he vocally criticized
’s human rights record, and rightly so. This past weekend a human rights conference in China was reminded by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney
and Green Party leader Elizabeth May May of the continuing religious persecution in Toronto , targeting underground Christians, Muslim Uyghurs,
and Falun Gong. Yet under the Harper Government, not only has trade integration
with China continued, it has accelerated. Even China is getting in on the act with trade missions. Barrie
The underlying philosophy long used to justify this increased trade is that Canadian values will rub off on the Chinese through close contact. I am reminded of the proverb of the sweet cucumber in the vinegar barrel, thinking the barrel will be sweetened; instead, the cucumber gets pickled.
Human rights abuses are endemic in
, and as the supposedly freeing information age
marches on, new technologies are used to spy on and isolate dissent, as even
giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter bend to Chinese internet restrictions.
China ’s environmental degradation is legendary, as
growth-at-all-costs prevails over traditional Chinese caution. China
In fact, not only have Canadian values gained little traction in
, we are now seeing the Chinese approach coming to China . As delays to the Keystone XL pipeline turn tar sands plans toward Canada Asia, legislation like omnibus Bill C-38 is passed to
undermine or gut any laws that could stop or even delay pipeline construction. Signal
sent and received; has responded with their largest-ever foreign
takeover bid, $15 billion for Nexen, following over $10 billion of other recent
Canadian energy acquisitions. China
Our government has already thrown our environmental laws under the bus to entice Chinese investment, and leaned on sincere charities and civic groups trying to warn us of the consequences. What will they pickle next, our labour or human rights standards?
Published as my Root Issues column in the Barrie Examiner under the title "Growing Chinese influence inevitable"