The hypocrisy of Stephen Harper’s recent announcement that he would be boycotting the big grand poo-bah’s summit in Sri Lanka next month is stunning.
The lack of comment on it thus far, even more so. According to reports from overseas:
” Canada will skip the meeting because of what Harper called “serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards during and after the civil war,” which ended there four years ago with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. “
Because I know that the Privy Council office reads here frequently, I would like to point out that it’s really hard to take Harper’s momentary bouts of concern over human rights in other countries seriously, because of his abrupt flip-flop on his new BFF, the Chinese government .
In many ways, China’s record on human rights is getting worse, not better. Increasingly, targets are not only religious minorities such as the Falun Gong, but of political activists and their families.
In August, representatives from the US has this to say about the state of human rights in China:
Uzra Zeya, who led the US side in annual bilateral rights dialogue, cited increasing pressure on activists’ friends and relatives and religious restrictions in Tibet and Xinjiang.
“I think we have continued to see a deterioration in the overall situation in China,” said Zeva, the acting assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour.
“The specific issue of the targeting of family members is one reason for that assessment: the case of the family of Liu Xiaobo, of Chen Guangcheng and other instances. This is a worrisome trend and one we have raised at senior levels.”
Even though China – which is still ruled by the Chinese Communist Party – signed the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), on October 5, 1998 – it has never actually ratified it. http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/10/08/china-ratify-key-international-human-rights-treaty
“Human Rights Watch believes that there are no credible reasons for the Chinese government to further delay ratification, absent which the government is not fully bound to uphold the treaty’s protections.
“China wants to join the UN’s top human rights body, but it won’t submit itself to the standards that body is sworn to apply,” said Sophie Richardson, China Director.
China is the only country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council not to have joined the ICCPR which guarantees essential rights ranging from the right to trial before an independent and impartial court to freedom of expression and political participation through regular and free elections.”
Adding to the glaring hypocrisy of Harpers human rights position this week, are stories of:
– forced abortions in some provinces to enforce the one-child law: http://news.sky.com/story/1150016/china-couple-speak-of-forced-abortion
-the arrest of political activists in China, by State authorities: http://www.voanews.com/content/china-arrests-activist-for-seeking-public-comments-in-un-rights-report/1760594.html
China, for as much as it appears to be a modern, progressive society, is still anything but all of those labels, if you oppose the government, its policies and it’s laws. When you can be jailed for 7 years for poetry that pushes and calls for democracy, democracy does not yet truly exist in the motherland.
This is why I laugh when Harper feigns concerns over Sri Lanka’s humans rights. How easily he forgets when it comes to the government of Chinas failing on that very issue.
From “Playing with the DragonsII: The architects behind Canada’s China Policy” :
“Certainly, the Chinese government would not consider having to address its horrific human rights record as a condition of doing business in, and with, Canada – and Stephen Harper seems just fine with that.
He, who was once stand-offish when it came to cultivating Chinese business interest in Canada is now going as far as stating he will over-rule environmental and regulatory process to ensure the Northern Gateway project gets built. Chinese state connected corporations have been busy in Canada’s north and Harper has gone to extreme lengths to facilitate this surge.
Which leads me to ask, why is that? Why is the Canadian government seemingly so eager to get into a financial bed with the Chinese government and Chinese state-connected corporations, when so many other governments have rung alarm bells at the risk of doing so, without adequate safeguards to Canadian interests?
To understand why, one has to look beyond the Prime Minister, and into corporate Canada, to two organizations that have been deemed the architects of Canada’s China policy for far longer than Harper has been Prime Minister : the aptly named Power Corporation and the Canada Chinese Business Council.
The Power Corporation of Canada, under the direction of Andre and Paul Desmarais, has long been referred to ( and written about) as being ’the’ power behind the upper echelon of Canadian politics, in particular the Privy Council and the Prime Ministers office.
In fact, the company has shared a long and lively history with several prime ministers of different political leanings, who have worked on staff, including Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Brian Mulroney. Over many years, political and professional connections continued in addition to personal ones, with the marriage of Andre Desmarais to Jean Cretiens daughter, so entrenched are the families and business/politics…
Read all of this post and more, here: http://lailayuile.com/2012/06/06/playing-with-the-dragon-ii-the-architects-behind-canadas-china-policy/
Rome Canada burns, Harper has oddly moved onto violence in hockey, a sport he has been known to watch while drinking a double double with our dear Christy Clark who also is an avid sports fan.
The question then becomes, in the face of all this rampant hypocrisy on human rights, what is the real reason Harper is boycotting Sri Lanka? Is is simply about the money, or is there something more?
Or am I the only one who noticed that while he is rolling out the red carpet for a country ( China) with one of the worst human rights records in history… he is now boycotting another?