Why an expert says it's time Canada confronts its values clash with China

In the wake of Canada's ongoing diplomatic spat with China, a former foreign correspondent who has covered Asia says "it's about time" Canada confronts its fundamental differences with the Far Eastern country and starts aligning itself with middle powers that share its beliefs.

Amidst Huawei spat, Jonathan Manthorpe tells us why it's time for Canada to make new alliances

A woman walks past a Huawei and Apple shop in Beijing, China, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Jason Lee/Reuters)
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In the wake of Canada's ongoing diplomatic spat with China, a former foreign correspondent who has covered Asia says "it's about time" Canada confronts its fundamental differences with the Far Eastern country and starts aligning itself with middle powers that share its beliefs.

Jonathan Manthorpe is author of Claws of the Panda: Beijing's Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada. (Cormorant Books)

"We need a relationship with China simply because of its size and its importance in the world, but it has to be based on realism, not on delusion," said Jonathan Manthorpe, author of Claws of the Panda: Beijing's Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada.

"Lose the delusion that China is going to be like Canada or adopt our values anytime soon. It is not," he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

China has long courted Canadian business officials and politicians with the promise of political and human rights reforms, said Manthorpe.

However, despite the fact Canadian politicians have in the past raised human rights concerns during visits to ChinaManthorpe argues it makes no difference to how the Chinese government conducts itself. 

Canada has never had much hope of reshaping Chinese politics, he said.

Relations between Canada and China hit the fan after Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, was arrested in Vancouver in December on fraud-related charges. Last week, the U.S. filed a formal request for Meng's extradition.

Huawei has denied any wrongdoing, while China has pleaded for the U.S. to stop what it called an "unreasonable crackdown" on Huawei.

The Current requested a response from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, but has not heard back.

Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.


Produced by Karin Marley.

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