No simple answers to the Asian tiger

We’re caught in the middle and it’s not looking good.

China President Xi Jinping’s power grab to legislate himself leader for life, embrace populism rhetoric to demonize Canada and detain three Canadian hostages, and America’s verbal and trade attacks on Canada has created a massive China mess.

The extradition order by the United States to arrest Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, Ming Wanzhou, was a bad omen. And when President Trump tweeted that Wanzhou could be used as a bargaining chip in his trade war with China, Canada, through no fault of their own, was put on a collision course with China.

When then–Ambassador John McCallum came out and mused that there was a good case not to extradite Wanzhou to the United States because of Trump’s political interference, it was wishful thinking that his comments might diffuse China’s fury, but, alas, the only outcome was the Ambassador’s firing.

It’s interesting how mad China is at Canada yet we are one of only two countries allowing Huawei to use their G5 technology.

On the other hand, the United States and all other democracies are pressuring both Canada and Great Britain to cease their business relationship with Huawei with the threat it may jeopardize their willingness to share future intelligence.

Except for former Prime Minister Harper’s tough stance on China when first elected, Canadian politicians, business people and universities have played softball with them–more concerned about markets, investment and profits than potential consequences of playing nice with a powerful Communist country.

We’ve accepted millions of dollars of Chinese investment in our universities, allowed Chinese oligarchs to buy up Vancouver real estate, gave permanent residency cards to their rich and powerful, including Wanzhou, approved takeovers of significant Canadian corporations by Chinese state-owned entities, and even turned a blind eye to Chinese drug money being laundered through B.C. casinos.

It’s truly unfortunate the United States has decided to withdraw just as China is seriously challenging for world domination through bullying and financial support of autocratic market economies.

Canada needs to get smarter and tougher dealing with autocratic regimes, but to stave off this Asian tiger, the United States, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and hopefully India will need to unite and speak with one voice against China’s trade practices and human rights violations.

The fact that few democracies have supported Canada against either China or Saudi Arabia’s unfair attacks on our citizens or rule of law clearly shows the prevalence of nationalism and bunker mentality amongst our allies.

Until the United States recognizes the error of their ways, Canada’s best hope is to implore all other liberal democracies to unify and stand up to China’s bullying, then pray the United States will be back before it’s too late.

 

Brenda Schimke

ECA Review

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