We hope you found this article interesting, enough to read to the bottom. Help us publish more in 2022.

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past two years, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

We’re on a mission to add 650 new monthly supporters to our ranks to help us have another year of impactful journalism – will you join us?

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Help us hit our year-end target of 650 new monthly supporters and join Tyee Builders today.
We’re looking for 650 new monthly supporters to fund our newsroom – are you one of them?

Small independent news media are having a moment – we’re gaining supporters, winning awards, and publishing more impactful journalism than ever. We’re starting to see glimmers of a hopeful future for independent journalism in Canada.

The Tyee works for our readers, because we are funded by you. We don’t lock our articles behind a paywall, and we focus all of our energy into publishing original, in-depth journalism that you won’t read anywhere else. It’s our full-time job because readers pay us to do it.

Over the last two years, we’ve been able to double our staff team and publish more than ever. We’re gearing up for another year and we need to know how much we are working with. Thousands of Tyee readers have signed up to support our independent newsroom through our Tyee Builders program, and we’re inviting you to join.

From now until Dec. 31, we’re aiming to bring aboard 650 new monthly supporters to The Tyee to help us do even more in 2022.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Help us hit our year-end target of 650 new monthly supporters and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Opinion

Trudeau Playing Part as China’s Patsy

PM’s openness to extradition pact, trade deal ignores dismal rights record.

By Bill Tieleman 4 Oct 2016 | TheTyee.ca

Bill Tieleman is a former NDP strategist whose clients include unions and businesses in the resource and public sector. Tieleman is a regular Tyee contributor who writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in 24 Hours newspaper. E-mail him at weststar@telus.net or visit his blog.

“His brain has not only been washed, as they say... It has been dry cleaned.” — Character Dr. Yen Lo in the movie The Manchurian Candidate.

Is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau the Canadian version of The Manchurian Candidate, brainwashed to do China’s bidding as in the famous movie and book?

Trudeau’s recent statements about considering an extradition treaty with a military dictatorship that executes more “criminals” than any other country, and hoping to get a free trade deal with China to double trade by 2025 are both troubling.

And while Trudeau is not brainwashed, he is showing poor judgment when it comes to China and has done so before.

Back in November 2013, Trudeau was asked what other country in the world impressed him most and his answer shocked.

“There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China,” he said. “Their basic dictatorship is actually allowing them to turn their economy around on a dime.”

Now his willingness to consider an extradition treaty with China — which would have Canada send suspects back to face justice in China for alleged crimes — is raising huge concern with Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, among others.

“The extraordinary weaknesses in China’s due process and fair trial rights are well documented. China wants this treaty to create a veneer of legality for fundamentally abusive tactics,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch, according to the New York Times. “Beijing will then also be able to say to other governments, ‘Canada signed one, why won’t you.’”

Adds Amnesty’s Canadian secretary general Alex Neve: “It’s very clear that China regularly seeks the return to China of individuals who are wanted for political reasons or religious reasons.”

In August, before Trudeau made a state visit to China, a coalition of human rights groups including Amnesty and Human Rights Watch sent the Canadian government a list of 13 prisoners of conscience unjustly jailed for years and requested a report back on their situations.

“Unfortunately we could readily compile a document of hundreds of individuals who are unjustly imprisoned and who are at risk of torture and other abuses,” the coalition wrote Trudeau. “We have chosen these cases because they are emblematic of wider patterns of persecution.”

And the group raised an additional Canadian concern. 

“We wish to stress as well that our Coalition is aware of at least 17 prisoners currently held in China, some of who are included in the attached list, who are Canadian citizens, immediate family of Canadian citizens or have other close Canadian connections.”

The issue of an extradition treaty with China has also been raised and opposed in the United States.

New York University law professor Jerome A. Cohen wrote a scathing article in Foreign Policy magazine last year condemning the idea.

“There is a reason why the United States and most democratic nations do not have extradition treaties with China. That reason is China’s criminal justice system, which, 26 years after the Tiananmen tragedy, has still failed to meet the minimum standards of international due process of law,” Cohen wrote.

“Indeed, since [Chinese President] Xi Jinping’s assumption of power, despite a plethora of hymns extolling the rule of law, in practice China’s criminal justice system has been steadily marching in the wrong direction, and this is no state secret or development known only to Chinese and foreign legal specialists,” he wrote.

“The whole world knows of the Communist Party’s ongoing brutal attack upon China’s human rights and criminal defence lawyers,” Cohen says.

But it’s not just the extradition treaty that is troubling — it’s also the possibility of a free trade deal.

A spokesperson for the Dalai Lama, who has peacefully campaigned to end the Chinese occupation of Tibet, warned against a free trade deal with Canada that does not deal with China’s human rights abuses.

“You have your national interests, but also make sure your values are preserved and respected,” said Penpa Tsering, the Dalai Lama’s special representative to Canada and the U.S. “Put your national values in the forefront when you negotiate with powers like China.”

Tsering said that since 2009, 144 Tibetans have taken their own lives through self-immolation, dying fiery deaths to protest China’s occupation.

Given Trudeau’s past history of gaffes when it comes to China and the importance that country places on closely monitoring every word world leaders say about it, one might think he and his staff would be very, very careful.

But Trudeau’s office certainly isn’t helping. When asked if the prime minister trusts the Chinese judicial system, the official answer from Trudeau’s spokesman was troubling.

“You’re asking me to criticize the Chinese system — I’m not going to go down that road,” replied spokesman Cameron Ahmad to The Huffington Post last week.

Really? Is Canada’s prime minister not even willing to acknowledge the huge problems every major human rights group has documented for decades?

“I’m personally very distressed by this attitude,” says Brock University professor Charles Burton, an expert on China and human rights. The Liberal approach ignores overwhelming evidence about the lack of due legal process in China.

“And then there is the other issue, which is the mistreatment in interrogation, the use of torture for forced confessions, pervasive problems of false confessions... that would really be a big concern to us in sending anyone back,” he said.

Canada has shown no signs of standing up to China. In June, during a visit by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, iPolitics reporter Amanda Connolly asked Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion about China’s poor human rights record.*

The Chinese minister responded with an angry outburst and lecture.

“Your question is full of prejudice against China and arrogance... I don’t know where that comes from. This is totally unacceptable,” said Wang, speaking through a translator.

“Other people don’t know better than the Chinese people about the human rights condition in China and it is the Chinese people who are in the best situation, in the best position to have a say about China’s human rights situation.

“So I would like to suggest to you that please don’t ask questions in such an irresponsible manner. We welcome goodwill suggestions but we reject groundless or unwarranted accusations... And do you know China has written protection and promotion of human rights into our constitution?”

Minister Dion stood by quietly without objecting to Wang’s tirade, earning him national criticism.

Trudeau later said Canada had “expressed our dissatisfaction to both the Chinese foreign minister and the ambassador of China to Canada — our dissatisfaction with the way our journalists were treated,” but the impression of deference to China even in Canada was clear.

So while Trudeau may not be the Manchurian candidate, his willingness to overlook China’s appalling human rights record and sign an extradition treaty isn’t about brainwashing — it’s about selling more goods at any price.

*Story clarified Oct. 4 at 1 p.m.  [Tyee]

Read more: Politics

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: Are You Preparing for the Next Climate Disaster?

Take this week's poll