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"Signature ceremony" by Herman Van Rompuy is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Why aren’t we talking about China?

Written by
Connor Belbin
and
and
October 8, 2021
Why aren’t we talking about China?
"Signature ceremony" by Herman Van Rompuy is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Another year, another election. 

Smelling a majority, Prime Minister Trudeau sent Canadians to the polls yet again, two years after the last election. With a cost of $600 million, it is the most expensive cabinet shuffle in Canadian History. Trudeau asked voters for their approval and they delivered a clear and decisive: “Eh, I guess.” It looks like it will be more of the same - corruption and cover-ups included. However, that’s a story for another time. 

There’s one issue that’s been left out of discourse on the campaign trail, and certainly during the debates (save for the occasional half-hearted tough guy remark from Erin O’Toole ) — China. They continue to be a threat to democracy, and one of the most abhorrent deniers of human rights on the planet, alongside the likes of Russia, Belarus, North Korea, and every boilerplate despot you can think of. It is a dystopia, cloaking their sinister and egregious actions behind a thin veneer of economic success. They have a bitter disregard for anything resembling the rule of law, freedom of speech, or sovereignty — this much is abundantly clear. Despite this, the allure of cheap labour and manufacturing costs means that the West must play ball, despite the fact that everything we hold sacred is in the antithesis of their one-party state. 

Recently, Huawei executive Meng Wenzhou was released from U.S. custody after settling her fraud charges arising from Huawei’s sanction-breaking deals in Iran. Businesses, especially ones with large footholds in the West, are under strict supervision by the Chinese government. Huawei, a tech giant, has thus given the Chinese government access to millions of microphones, cameras, and swathes of personal data. This is only the surface level of the problem with China. Wenzhou was under house arrest in Canada, fighting extradition to the United States, and as soon as she was released, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — two Canadians taken hostage in China on trumped up charges of ‘espionage,’ were released after a thousand days in captivity. This should frighten you. 

China’s foreign ministry has insisted since 2018 that the detention of the two Michaels had nothing to do with Wenzhou — now, it’s clear that pretext is gone. Two men were kidnapped by the Chinese government for little more than diplomatic leverage. This should have sparked outrage, protests and mass campaigns against the Chinese government and the economic prosperity the entire crooked regime is dependent on. It didn’t. 

Trudeau, despite soaking up the credit for something he couldn’t fix for three years, spoke very little about China during the campaign. Why would he? Trudeau, being the effervescent poll-watcher he is, realized that most Canadians barely even know about the hostage diplomacy being waged. Even fewer care. I don’t blame them - we have plenty of problems to sort out here. Foreign policy scarcely grazes the forefront of most Canadians’ minds. So, like most things in his government, if it can’t help Trudeau get elected, it’s omitted from the policy book. 

China is actively committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims in Northwest China. They invaded Tibet and subjugated them to their rule. Taiwan and Hong Kong share much the same fate. Just this month, China has violated Taiwanese airspace with dozens of aircraft, likely testing Taiwan’s defences and drilling for a potential conflict with the U.S. Navy in Taiwanese waters. They subvert democracy at every turn, and employ thousands with the sole goal of spying on Canadians. Despite the rapid escalation of China’s aggression, almost no one wants to talk about China. Given the complete disregard for freedom of speech, the press, assembly, or virtually any sort of individual right cherished in the liberal world, the onus is on us to speak for those who can’t. A Neo-Cold War is brewing, but we just can’t seem to care. 

Free Taiwan, Free Tibet, Free Hong Kong, Free the Uyghurs. Down with the CCP and Xi Jinping. 

Further Reading: 

Who are the Uyghurs and why is China being accused of genocide? - BBC

China's Oppression of Muslims in Xinjiang, Explained - NY Times

China's Uyghur Genocide is Undeniable - Project Syndicate

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