The future of Canadas relationship with China
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The US did not recognize the. Regime in Peking as it was known then and its leadership was not seated at the United Nations. My next guest was a young Canadian diplomat during the fateful negotiations that led to that joint declaration he went on to serve as a Canadian ambassador for fifteen years including to Russia the UK and the European Union Jeremy Kinsman me from Victoria British Columbia Jeremy Kinsman Good Morning. Take us back to that summer of sixty nine when the. Going years standout don't they. This is one we're living through now nineteen, sixty, eight, nine, nineteen, sixty, nine, we're extraordinary years you know that was. Not. Just a great cultural revolution going on in China I mean it was the assassinations in the United States or cities were burning. the Russians the union invaded Prague. There was as in Monto May and in France the whole kind of landscape of the world seemed to be unraveling. Of course, the summer of sixty nine when I was in Stockholm during that the beginning of the negotiations It was also Neil. Armstrong getting to the moon. So it wasn't all bad news, but it was a time of extraordinary change. What do you remember about those negotiations? Well, I remember it was very fraught I mean Canada was breaking some ice at have been frozen for some time on who who was actually the legitimate government of China. and then, and then just when people were getting coming around to recognize the the obvious fact, eight, hundred, million people that China were controlled by the government in Beijing. But we weren't we weren't alone in wanting to do this I mean Ah Belgium in Italy where we're contemplating does well into Gaul had done. So in nineteen, sixty four, but people were looking to us to how was GonNa work what the former though would be. Particularly with respect to Taiwan it because it was obviously going to set some kind of a template for the future for other people to do the same thing, what was the thinking behind taking that step? Well, the thinking was that logic compelled recognition of the fact that the government of aging was the government of China. And the United Nations membership was was pretty rapidly coming to that conclusion in Canada. It was Pierre Trudeau I I don't think it was logical in any respect it was pragmatic. He just felt that It was the logical thing to do. The talks are headed. Well, they're happening in the shadow of the Cultural Revolution millions died in that and I just wonder was there concern that recognizing this regime would be seen as a some sort of tacit endorsement of what happened when you say the shadow actually it was winding down by then not Actually the world didn't know that much about what was going on in China. There are so few foreigners in China at that time. And so we know now we didn't know then but in any event, the important thing is Canada and most most countries followed the kind of British model of recognition of of diplomatic relations. There's no morality. It's simply a question of does this government have control of the country? And if so, you need to have diplomatic relations with governments that exist. You don't exclude some because you don't like him you need to have them. Though that that was the premise. Of sabotage these negotiations what was going on in the background and there's a lot of That's why I went there I was a kid in. Brussels. In, between NATO and and our fledgling mission to to the European Common Market and I got set up there to try and lend a hand to figure out what what was going on with all this These these little disruptions you know people were Turning up facsimiles of replica of Canyon Telegrams from our embassy that refers to the Chinese just seat full and and derogatory things like that and who knows who was. Putting these out. I mean I could have been obviously the nationalist government Anti WanNa could have been. The Americans it could have been lots of people other stuff was happening. We had a guy come over, of course, these negotiations, fourteen sessions of drinking tea with the Chinese negotiator over a period of well over a year, and they were kind of the talk of the town in Stockholm and so Canadian visitors were watched with a lot of scrutiny and curiosity interest and and they were all involved in this I. Mean there was one guy came over from external affairs. He was a decorator for a new residents radium bachelor. And he got mad at the airport by black limousine and a guy, a black suit and holding up a card but his name and drove him into town, but he didn't get to town. He got hold out of the car and beaten up halfway in what was that about you know, and these were just efforts to disrupt to intimidate to bother to. There was definitely hostility to monitor part of some to the change that this would represent fast forward fifty years there has been a real cooling of relations between Canada and China the new. Conservative leader Erno tool has called on this country to take a much harder line and a much different approach to dealing with China. What do you make of that approach? Oh, you know it's a cycle I. China has changed a change with we Xi Jinping we we all know that he reasserted an awful lot more political control in China, and that. Bothers us a lot They've been a you know aggressive economically and expanding their influence. There's nothing wrong expanding your influence I mean everybody's trying to do that. But, they're accused of doing it by you know amount of of bullying and And and they've been just enormously successful. They're so successful challenging united. States for primacy economically in the world part of that part of that, what people would call bullying scooping up to Canadians and Michael, covert Michael, staffer. Chinese prisoners. Yeah. I would say that yes. But that was in direct response to what they consider are scooping up laying Manju at Y VR, on behalf of the United States unilateral application of their law on on Iran what the Chinese did in in reprisal was grotesque no question about it. So in late in light of what you call grotesque, what should candidates relationship with China be now China's a fact. I. Mean it's there. It's it's about to be the biggest economy in the world. If we're going to succeed in the world, we gotta have a relationship with that country. We don't like our values are challenged. By stuff they're doing right now in Hong Kong. It's not good what they're doing to the weavers their constant hostility to bet you know it goes on and on but the world needs China to be part of a agreements in the world that are countering the real threats whether it's a climate change or damage or you name it, and so we got to cooperate in that sense at the same time we compete with an economically and at the same time as we contest some of the things that are doing the challenge universal understandings or semi universal understanding. So Human Rights Canada hold any cards and that. I I. Don't Canada's Canada's got to behave as a state I think Joe Biden is going to win in November third and it's going to be a little easier maybe even with China we'll see but I'm not saying it's GonNa be a Lovey Dovey of course not I think that but it's GonNa be. It's GonNa be better all around. The United States is going to lead democracies and challenging some things. About the way, China is behaving. It's going to be obviously an awful lot more effective. If Not Donald Trump doing it, I was GonNa say just wonder whether that relationship between Canada and China can be anywhere close to normal while those Canadians remain in prison there. No, it can't we have to solve that. Jeremy Kinsman. It's a real pleasure to talk to you. You have some fascinating stories about what happened fifty years ago and where we may go in the next year. Thank you. Thank you met Jeremy. Kinsman was a young diplomat Jerry negotiations for Canada to recognize the People's Republic of China. He served as ambassador to Russia and the EU as well as the High Commissioner in London. He smashed pretty much every billboard and streaming record that matters. It has already been streamed more than a billion times. People still to this day point to this is the moment everything changed. But whether you agree with those claims are not this podcast isn't really about him either you're not an astute businessman or you're inherently racist when it comes to black music and his country this is not a drake podcast available now on CBC listen or wherever you get your podcasts. From CBC PODCASTS and the Fifth Estate brainwashed is a multi burn investigation into the as experiments in mind control from the Cold War and M. K. ultra to the so called war on terror, we learn about a psychiatrist who used his patients as human guinea pigs and what happens when the military and medicine collide listen to brainwashed on the CBC listen APP or wherever you get your podcasts. My next guest has worked hard over her thirty seven year career in government to advance the relationship between Canada and China. But now she has become an increasingly vocal critic of the she regime. Margaret mcquaid Johnson is a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa with China Institute at the University of Alberta. Margaret Good morning to you. We just heard Jeremy Kinsman described the fanfare and the drama. Canada and China establishing relations. Fifty years ago. Is this an anniversary worth celebrating? no as long as. Canadians are being held hostage and four more with execution sentences given to them. I don't think there's anything to celebrate and that's really tragic Certainly, Pierre Trudeau was absolutely right to recognize China in nine nineteen seventy was reflecting the reality at that time and Canada has been a friend of China for decades part of the reform and opening up in the nineteen eighties and and the big annual team Canada visits that prime minister, credit u ladd in the nineteen nineties. but no we've seen a lot of changes in China under Xi Jinping in the last five years I would say it's really dramatically changed its role but the kidnapping of our Canadians was really the last straw for many Canadians including myself candidates, I wanNA talk about that in a moment. But just briefly Canada's ambassador did manage to get these virtual concert visits with Michael Corrigan Michael's power over the weekend. The first time that they had news from the outside world after months of isolation is that an encouraging sign? Well it's It's it's. Dealing, with a big hole that we had in our relationship in terms of no consular visits at all the coronavirus has really left China. So the fact that we can't have in person meetings is still a big problem and they deserve to have in person meetings but you know our ambassador's been very strong in putting forward all of these points he went himself to done done to try to see Michael Spa for and. Try to get in by being right on the spot. That was a terrific idea didn't work but but you know it's it's great for the families that we that we saw the virtual visit last weekend But that's there's certainly a long way to go in the relationship to try to address the problems that we've got now you call this kidnapping why was the detention of Michael covered Michael savage such a turning point for you? Well, it's completely unjust and you know it's in retaliation obviously poor the arrest of Manuel and Joe and You know this is this is a hostage taking that We are certainly not just seeing by ourselves. Other countries have been facing this to You know like Taiwan Australia Japan, they all have people. Hostage Right now So we're not alone and in fact, prime minister thanked President Trump just on Saturday for his attempts to have the immediate release oath my the Michaels, and it's really hitting home because Beijing has instructed us to stop trying to get other countries to help us they don't like. Being called out on their abnormal behavior, you are in Shanghai at the time. Did you worry about your own safety? Well. Yes. I was in Shanghai and my own locked suitcases in my hotel room were searched and I was talking to a Chinese national at a meeting about the fact that our people had been kidnapped and he said Oh well, China's got a list of one hundred Canadians that they can pick up and interrogated any time and when I got back to Canada I I heard, yes there is such a list from from a number of people. Now, what other country does this? You know this is not an appropriate strategy for international relations. Should there be. Critical of China kidnapping. People and the mass arrest of Human Rights Defenders I've spoken out against wall way and five G. and so under China's new National Security Law for Hong Kong I'm now at risk of being extradited to China to stand trial if I happen to fly through one of the fifty five countries have an extradition agreement with China and So you know this is this is a far-reaching strategy that China now has to Anyone who is critical should there be. Given the these two men in particular that are being held and people say that this is being done and directly because Canada has detained the while we executive Joe should there be some sort of prisoner swap John Manley. The former deputy prime minister is among those saying let her go and that will you urge China to release these two men that's something candidate should even consider. Well, in fact, this is what? Beijing is counting on their counting non-canadians to pressure government to send her home and the fact that prominent Canadians are doing. It is the icing on the cake for them and we we all want our citizens returned to us. You know I never gave an interview before last year when I started to speak out because somebody's got to speak out against his behavior, but it doesn't mean we should sell our. Souls and Kowtow is lowest possible by sending her home that would just teach China to take more hostages whenever it wants a country to fall into line on anything and some countries have caved in past and that's why China continues to do it I think they're finding now that candidate isn't going to cave in and we're working with other countries to call China. I would on its action there are Chinese Communities across this country and many Chinese Canadians have watched the worsening relations between our country and China with with dismay our producer and penman caught up with bill ye over dim-sum invent couvert billy came to Canada from count on, which is now known as Guangzhou as a teenager went on to become the first Chinese Canadian elected to Vancouver City Council, later, a provincial court judge how listened to what he had to say. As far as I can remember, Chinese. Have always. had a very good view of Canadians. Because the story about Dr Nomin Perfume. When he? helped. Many Chinese people. At a time of need. He was a Chinese rule. When. I laid a telegraph of young Chinese Canadians to visit. China in one, thousand, nine, hundred, seventy, four. We had a huge reception and the way they described his. Friends from. Home of Dr Nominee but. We got the red carpet treatment. So to me it's very. Important. I want as a Canadian. To improve. The relation. Ship between the people. Of the two countries as well. because. By increasing trade I think both countries would benefit. It's Too, bad at this point in time. The relationship between the two countries are not. Dispatched as my. With it most most challenging times. But. I am optimistic that in the future when. The political. Problems that we're facing would eventually be resolved. And The friendship between out two countries. Will continue to flourish. We don't have to think alike. As long as you have their mutual respect. Obviously. A country with the kind of population at the time difficulties. have run to different from us. Also acknowledge the fact that our system is not perfect look at homelessness that we have. Looked at the. Drug addictions that we have. Look at. Many of the out deficiencies re talk about in our political system. Have not been. Any progress. Why I'm saying I'm not blaming anybody who I'm saying is the system look at the US same thing. The gap between the haves and have not. Have not. narrowed. Wider as a matter of fact. Doesn't that. Tell you some thing about out political system. I'm not saying it's easy. I don't have a solution for. When you assess country assess people just like neighbors. You don't try to run their family for them because. I know my family you know your family I have to respect the weight on yours and I'd like watch I expect you respect my Ira while we still in good neighbors. It's bill, Ye retired provincial court judge and former member of Vancouver City Council. Margaret, mcquaid Johnson, what do you think of that idea that we don't have to agree with China? To have a good relationship? Well and I, think mister he makes a really good point that the people to people relationship between Canada and China is very strong and and we do need to treat one another with mutual respect The problem we've run into is China the it's not the Chinese people it's the. Beijing regime is not treating Canada with respect and in fact, last year they said that you know Canada's not a middle country Canada's a small country and how to stop leaning towards the U- US and You know no matter why Canada arrested Matt among you did it and you have to be punished. That's not the attitude of a country that respects another country and and so you know I think you have to recognize that this is driven by Xi Jinping himself and all of the the problems with the militarization of the South China Sea. In two thousand, fifteen, the mass arrests of human rights, lawyers, and environmentalists in Twenty twenty sixteen the building of the the cultural genocide camps for the week irs The social credit system which tracks would everybody is saying and punishes those that criticize the government. These are all just in the last five years, and so you know it's we do need to distinguish between the she regime and the people of China It's very disturbing to think that some Asian Canadians are being yelled at and assaulted in connection presumably with the corona virus and the fact that. China didn't get on top of that as it was being exported into other countries. So and we also have the military threats of China Gainst India and Taiwan. So there are a lot problems in the relationship right now but we are not alone and Our government is working closely with other like minded countries they're talking about imposing thing sanctions under Magnus magnitsky legislation we're looking at banning. Go ahead and do that, and there have been some statements in the government that we should be diversifying away from China to other countries in the Indo Pacific. I think that would be an excellent idea not just for trade and investment, but also population health and security science and technology. There are all kinds of things that Canada can be doing with other. Countries in the region so that our companies are not so dependent on trade with China, they could vanish overnight as we've seen this past year I. We just have a few seconds left I guess in some ways you agree with what Jeremy Kinsman of saying that the relationship I mean is important but the relationship can't be relationship until at least these two men afraid. That's right and and frankly I don't think any politician or official or business executives should be celebrating the fiftieth anniversary today was Chinese government officials There's nothing to celebrate until we get our citizens home and that is and should be a priority for the government China's important country will continue to do business there but we have to support our own values and our own citizens when they're traveling abroad mcquaid great to speak with you again. Thank you. Talk to you Margaret mcquaid Johnson a senior fellow in the Institute for Science, Society, and policy at the University of Ottawa and China Institute at the University of Alberta your thoughts on this. Welcome. You can email us at the current CBC dot. CA. Tweet us at the current CBC or head to the website CBC DOT CA slash current. Click on the contact link for more CBC PODCASTS GO TO CBC DOT CA slash podcasts.