Tag Archives: Human Rights

Mark Collins – Now if Only the Canadian Government Had the Guts…

…to speak and act thus about China:

Baird affirms Canada’s commitment to Ukraine’s democratic development

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada remains committed to long-term democratic development in Ukraine despite its recent tilt toward Russia and the violence that has spilled into its streets…

“We’re committed to work with the people of Ukraine in its democratic development and that’s a long-term commitment,” Baird told reporters Wednesday from Kyiv, the Ukraine capital, where violent protests were taking place.

“We’re engaged here because Ukraine matters, because Canada believes in the values of the Ukrainian people and we want to do all we can to support them in their aspirations.”

Baird was in Ukraine for a previously scheduled meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe [more here]…

Canada’s relations with the Ukraine are deeply rooted in successive waves of immigration that go back more than a century.

The protests began after President Viktor Yanukovych abandoned a major political and economic agreement with the EU to focus on Russia.

Baird met his Ukrainian counterpart, following up on a telephone call the previous week, to tell him that was a bad idea for his country.

“We believe the decision represents a significant lost opportunity in Ukraine’s path towards strengthened democratic development and economic prosperity.”..

Baird encouraged Kozhara to ensure that those responsible for the violence, particularly against students and journalists, are brought to justice and face “an independent process to adjudicate” their crimes.

Baird also met opposition officials and civil society representatives. Baird said he was asked to consider an international effort to impose sanctions on Yanukovych, but he suggested that might be premature…

While almost all Canadians of Ukrainian descent will heartily endorse the above (the foreign minister wouldn’t be playing a tenny-weeny bit of politics, would he?), one wonders about the reaction from the current Chinese-Canadian population to anything similar said about their country of origin. More on China and human rights–and trade–here, here and here.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


Mark Collins – Dragon Dialing Down Fiery Breath?

A whole lots of green tea leaves to read:

Chinese Leader Gets More Sway on the Economy and Security [talk about chairman of the board!]

Lan Hongguang/Xinhua, via Associated Press

President Xi Jinping, center, and other Chinese Communist Party leaders voted on policy measures as the Central Committee met Tuesday [Nov. 13].

President Xi Jinping of China emerged from a Communist Party leadership conference on Tuesday with a mandate to give the market a “decisive role” in the world’s second-largest economy and to consolidate new decision-making authority in his own hands.

After a closed-door meeting of party leaders, officials announced that Mr. Xi would establish a new national security committee — which experts said took inspiration from the National Security Council that serves American presidents — as well as a leadership group that would push through a raft of economic overhauls. The two new agencies suggest that Mr. Xi aims to circumvent the ruling party’s cumbersome bureaucracies and overcome resistance that deeper economic changes are likely to bring…

A year since assuming party leadership, Mr. Xi is also showing that he intends to govern in a more assertive, authoritarian style than his predecessor, Hu Jintao, who presided over a decade of rapid growth but failed to push through changes that many economists argue are needed to modernize the economy…

The new party leadership group on economic policy will oversee the introduction of market-oriented changes, and officials said there would be “decisive outcomes” in major policy areas by 2020. Yet they also emphasized that party control must remain paramount even as China embraces more market forces in the economic sphere. 

“Most important is maintaining the party’s leadership,” said a communiqué. “We must be bold and our steps steady.”..

Mr. Xi has accompanied his vows of economic rejuvenation with a drive to stifle political opposition to one-party rule at home and a tougher position on foreign policy issues, particularly in maritime territorial disputes with Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines [lots more here]. In what appeared to be an effort to impose greater control over those areas, the conference approved establishing the new security committee…

The creation of the new committee is likely to magnify Mr. Xi’s influence in foreign policy…

2)China to Ease One-Child Policy

Leaders Will Also Abolish Re-Education Through Labor

China’s leaders agreed to loosen the nation’s one-child policy and to give market forces a greater role in the world’s No. 2 economy, according to new details of a blueprint for reform released on Friday [Nov. 15].

The proposals follow the end on Tuesday of a four-day meeting of top Chinese Communist Party leaders, and they represent the first comprehensive road map for reform under new Chinese President Xi Jinping. 

While a preliminary summary of the meeting released on Tuesday was vague, the more-detailed document released on Friday sketches an ambitious reform program designed to address problems that China faces: maturing growth, rising worries about a wide wealth gap and endemic pollution, and increasingly vocal criticism of Beijing’s handling of a number of social issues…

The document said China would significantly ease its one-child policy, allowing couples to have two children if one of the parents is an only child…

It also said it would ease curbs on offshore securities investments and mergers and acquisitions, without providing details [emphasis added]…

China also plans to abolish a controversial labor camp system in what Xinhua described as “part of efforts to improve human rights and judicial practices.” Under the system, which has been in place since 1957, police are allowed to imprison people in labor camps for up to four years without formal arrest or trial…

3) The Mother of All Experiments in Authoritarian Capitalism Is About to Begin

…To paraphrase Montesquieu, Xi Jinping’s position seems to be that in China, useless authoritarian measures weaken necessary authoritarian measures.  

To elaborate on what I think the Chinese leadership is thinking:  they now seem pretty sure that greater state control over the economy is doubly counterproductive.  It introduces inefficiencies that a slowing Chinese economy can’t afford anymore.  Furthermore, they make the Party vulnerable to corruption, weakening political discipline.  By getting the state out of the resource allocation business, the market can function better. More importantly, the CCP and the Chinese state can function better by concentrating on doing the things it has to do — provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, ensure the security of the state, and oh yes, snuffing out any political threat to the Chinese Communist Party. 

Will it work?..

¿Quien sabe?  Earlier:

China’s, er, Hazy Future

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Terry Glavin: “Shrugging at China’s crimes”

Further to this post,

The Beaver and the Dragon: Stupidity and Hypocrisy

the relentless Mr Glavin chomps down some great and good Canadian trees:

It is this business about Trudeau’s remarks constituting a “gaffe” of some kind, or an instance of a rookie politician “misspeaking” or merely musing unguardedly out loud. In fact, there is a very carefully considered “party line” of sorts at work here.

It’s about policy. Trudeau was more than just clumsy in articulating it, and to be fair it brings within its gruesome ambit more than just the Liberal party, but Justin Trudeau is its primary heir and successor. It is a sinister and unprincipled posture toward the regime in Beijing that arises from a well-travelled and spectacularly profitable Canada-China business nexus that has dominated part of the Liberal Party for quite some time.

The subject was alluded to only fleetingly last week when the New Democratic Party reminded everybody what Trudeau was saying last December when pollsters could find only about one in 10 Canadians who favoured the takeover of the oilsands firm Nexen by Beijing’s state-owned offshore acquisitions arm CNOOC [lots more here].

Trudeau was alone among the party leaders in being positively giddy about the deal. In explaining his enthusiasm for a police-state enterprise becoming a major stakeholder in Canada’s energy sector

Only a few weeks after Jean Chrétien said goodbye to the House of Commons, he was visiting China as a businessman and the esteemed guest of the Beijing-owned China International Trust and Investment Corporation. Chrétien’s son-in-law André Desmarais serves on the board of CITC Pacific Ltd., and Andre’s father, Paul Desmarais, was founding chairman of the Canada-China Business Council. On and on it goes.

It is not as though no Conservative bigshots have followed the money trail to and from Beijing. But the Liberals built it

Terry Glavin is an author and journalist whose latest book is Come From the Shadows [more here].

Che what?



Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

The Beaver and the Dragon: Stupidity and Hypocrisy

1) Stupidity:

The government Trudeau most admires
By Terry Glavin

2) Hypocrisy:

Justin Trudeau applauds China – but then, so does Stephen Harper


Dealing with the Dragon Devil, or…

Dragon Finally to Curb Human Organ Appetite?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Dragon Finally to Curb Human Organ Appetite?

Lovely party/government, eh?  From a post this March:

here’s some serious progress:

China to phase out organ harvesting from prisoners
China will start phasing out its reliance on organs from executed prisoners for transplants early next year [2013] as a new national donation system is implemented, a government-appointed expert has said.

Which leads one to…

Dealing with the Dragon Devil, or…

…”When it comes to trade with China, we are all hypocrites now”…

Well, maybe an end in 2014–just so you know:

China to end use of prisoners’ organs for transplants in mid-2014
China, the only country that still systematically takes organs from executed prisoners for use in transplant operations, plans to end the controversial practice by the middle of next year, a senior official said on Saturday [Nov. 2].

By mid-2014, all hospitals licensed for organ transplants will be required to stop using organs from executed prisoners and only use those voluntarily donated and allocated through a fledging national system, said Huang Jiefu, a former deputy health minister who heads the organ transplant reform…


Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia: “Oversell but underperform?”

Further to this post,

“Notes on Ex-Yu Justice, Part I”

more from Professor Srdjan Vucetic at the University of Ottawa’s CIPS Blog:

…More fundamentally, however, the problem is overpromise. Was the talk of reconciliation (to say nothing of healing or closure) so pervasive at Nuremberg and Tokyo, too?  I don’t know, but I can see how this discourse could entrap an international legal venue, both rhetorically and politically.  At one level, the very idea is fanciful; even the most balanced mix of perfectly executed international and domestic trials, official apologies, truth commissions, reparations, and lustrations would not necessarily restore trust as well as promote mutual understanding and coexistence.  And yet, the idea of reconciliation has been articulated in just about every mission statement issued by the tribunal since 1993.  ICTY officials never claimed to institutionalize, encompass, or represent all facets of transitional justice, but they did capitalize on the fact that “reconciliation” is an easier sell than “punishment.”  Whether this legitimation strategy actually worked with all those apprehensive, sceptical and outright hostile ex-Yugoslav constituents is debatable, but what seems certain to me is that it created a high-stakes test that the tribunal simply cannot pass.

Cross-posted at The Holland Bureau.

I, for one, have never placed much faith in these new international courts.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Mark Collins- “Notes on Ex-Yu Justice, Part I”

From Professor Srdjan Vucetic (more here, amongst other things a bit of an F-35 fellow) of the University of Ottawa–  some observations and reflections on evil things, note more to come:

“I feel sorry for the Muslims”

From what I have read and seen, the defendants [at this court] are saying remarkably similar things across cases. “I was completely unaware of any crimes until DDMMYY, when I was retired/released from command responsibility/left politics; these responsibilities were thrust upon me, yes, but I passed them on to NN; I was only following orders and I had no idea what they really meant; we are not perpetrators, but victims; if you decide we are guilty, then they must be twice as guilty; yes, I am guilty – guilty of being betrayed by our governments, tricked into surrendering; etc.” While there have been some notable (and temporized) expressions of guilt, remorse and regret (Biljana Plavšić, the Iron Lady of the Serb Bosnia, comes to mind), the mainline script is denial and utter indifference for the agony of victims…

…I only offer a bunch of notes or, more accurately, rants. They are primarily meant to help me open up even more conversations about the ICTY, whether via the comments section, by email, or face-to-face. I am also hoping to get recommendations and updates from the readers on the state of the scholarly and critical literature on the ICTY; anything published after 2008 will be news for me, and I’ve got much to learn…

Much more at the piece.  Perhaps somewhat relevant:

Don’t Forget the Balkans-and Remember an Anniversary Next Year

Syria vs the Former Yugoslavia: “Don’t Know Much About History”

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Mark Collins – Dragon Reality Television: Death

Oh those quirky (and now indispensable) Orientals and their curious ways; one supposes one must make, er, allowances:

In China, death row entertainment is nothing new

A fierce debate is raging in China over a state-run channel’s decision to air the last hours of four foreign drug smugglers before their executions for killing 13 Chinese fishermen. But the outrage belies a simple reality in China: Executions here are frequent – and TV stations have treated them as entertainment before.

From 2006 to 2012, China’s Henan Province aired a hugely popular TV show called “Interviews Before Execution,” in which death row inmates discussed their crimes and regrets with in-your-face host Ding Yu. The show drew 40 million nightly viewers during its run – almost half the population of Henan Province, or 1.25 times the number of Americans that watched the Olympic closing ceremonies…

Amnesty International believes China executes “thousands” of people each year — the most in the world. The organization stopped publishing estimates out of fear they “grossly underestimate the true number” of executions each year.

A photo at a post earlier and elsewhere:


But here’s some serious progress:

China to phase out organ harvesting from prisoners
China will start phasing out its reliance on organs from executed prisoners for transplants early next year [2013] as a new national donation system is implemented, a government-appointed expert has said.

Which leads one to…

Dealing with the Dragon Devil, or…

…”When it comes to trade with China, we are all hypocrites now”...

And keep in mind:

Tibetans are Burning

They still are and the Canadian government does not seem all that bothered–any diplomatic protest over Beijing’s preventing our ambassador from visiting Tibet?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute

Mark Collins – Mali (and elsewhere): Canadian Forces, Training and Human Rights

I wrote this January 25 about reports of human rights abuses by Malian troops:

Those human rights issues will be one more thing inhibiting our government’s doing anything serious on the ground in Mali, including training

Our media are now over the issue like a desert-dry blanket. e.g.:

Canadian-trained Malian soldiers have been tortured and killed by forces loyal to current regime

Training of Mali soldiers said to lack ‘value, ethics and military ethos’

And a story January 22 from a local paper (links added):

427, CSOR heading to Africa

CFB PETAWAWA – Helicopters and personnel from the base will deploy to Western Africa in the next few weeks to support training of the region’s soldiers, the Department of National Defence has confirmed.

An advance team of personnel from the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) is already in Niger in preparation for involvement in Flintlock 13, a multinational exercise that will conducted by the U.S. Africa Command in February and March [the CF last participated in Flintlock 11 in 2011, Flintlock 12 last year was cancelled as a result of events in Mali].

They will be supported by a small detachment of CH-146 Griffon helicopters, pilots, flight engineers and ground maintenance crews from 427th Special Operations Aviation Squadron (SOAS). The Petawawa deployment will not extend to the troubled country of Mali, the department said Monday.

“Exercise Flintlock 13 involves the capacity building of several countries within the Western Africa Sahel Region which contributes to regional security,” Maj. Doug MacNair, a public affairs officer with Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) told the Daily Observer. “However, Mali is not participating in the exercise, nor are there plans for Canada to train Malian forces.”

CSOR operators will provide training in reconnaissance, marksmanship, land navigation, and other basic military skills to Nigerien forces in their country. Closer to the start of Exercise Flintlock 13, the CSOR personnel and the Nigerien soldiers will move to the exercise location in Mauritania.

At least 50 Canadian troops will be participating in the exercise. The involvement of 427 Squadron will be limited, noted MacNair…

Plus two stories from earlier this month:

Ottawa contributing to fight in Mali by training Niger forces

Troops from Petawawa bound soon for Mauritania

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Research Fellow at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute